Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tips From A First Time Runner

Orchard to Ocean 10k - March 2012

 It's the beginning of the month, a chance to start something new, so here's a little inspiration for any would-be runners out there (thanks to Radmegan for sending some my way!). You can do this. I started from scratch and you can too.

These are just some of the things that have worked for me in my journey towards my first half marathon. It's now less than two weeks away *yikes*!

  • Mix it up - I run three times a week. Thirty minutes twice a week with a longer run on Saturdays.  When I was starting to train I found it helpful to run different routes each time. That way you don't get discouraged if you run out of steam earlier in the run than before. No run is the same. Some days you feel sluggish, and some days, miraculously, you can jog up a hill or two, but if you mix up your routes you will make steady progress without getting discouraged by a bad day. Then, maybe a week or so later, revisit a previously run route and you'll be really pleased at how much further you can go without slowing or walking. Plus if you mix things up the FBI will find it harder to track you.
  • Treats! - Ideally, running should be a reward in itself, but for most novice runners dragging your carcass around two miles of sidewalks fails to create that elusive 'runners high' and can leave you feeling like you're two breaths short of an asthma attack. It's hard work. You need a treat. Two inexpensive things that worked for me;  
    • Treat yourself to a new music download each time you run. If you have terrible music taste like I do, most of the songs to purchase cost a measly 99c. That way you increase your arsenal of running tunes, and you have something to look forward to next time you head out of the door.
    • Second, invest in a really nice body wash that you only use after you run. My current top pick is Paradisiac Pink Pepper Pod by Molton Brown. Yes it's expensive per bottle, but if you only splash a little on after your run it will last for ages. And you smell great. And you just ran, so you're chuffing awesome. You'll be swatting the men away with a stick.

  • Complete The Course - If you set out to run five miles, cover five miles. Doesn't matter if you run, walk, shuffle or crawl. You'll feel much worse if you give up half way round, and chances are, next time you attempt five miles you'll do a little more running and a little less crawling.
  • Use Digifit - This is an exercise app from a Santa Barbara company. It's free, and if you run with your iphone it keeps track of your times, your splits, your route and all your recent runs. It buzzes you when you've run a mile, or 1/2 mile (you choose), even if you're currently listening to a different app like Pandora. I've found it really useful to track my progress, find out how fast/not at all fast I run, and to prove to LK that yes I really did just cover 12 miles, even though it took me *rather a long time*. I know Nike has a similar app, but I'm supporting our local company. Plus, it's free! What's not to love.
  • No excuses. - Fair enough, it's not often that I can't run due to inclement weather in SB, but I ran on vacation, and at 6am on the morning we were due to fly out of the country. I ran in North Yorkshire where my arms froze like armcicles in the frigid easterly wind. Fit your runs in. Otherwise you'll just make it harder on yourself next time.
  • Jelly Babies -Who knew? The girls got a lot of sweets while we were in England. It was Easter, they like candy, and quite frankly England does candy very, very well. One of my Aunties had given them both a bag of jelly babies. I offered one to my brother, and he pulled a face. Apparently he'd used them as fuel when he did his marathon with my sister in law last year. Now just the sight of them brings back hitting the wall at mile twenty (or eight?). I immediately withheld the bag from the girls and have been using them during my training runs. I don't know the science behind them - but the psychological boost of eating a jelly baby at mile six works wonders.

  •  Training Program - My friend Fluffy told me about Jeff Galloway's half marathon training and that's what I've been using to build up to the race. He breaks the schedule into weekly workouts and makes it doable. Come back in two weeks to see if it was effective!

I'd be really interested if anyone has any other last minute helpful tips. Blister prevention? Push-up running bra? All the crucial stuff.


itsgrimupnorth said...

1. Drink regularly and hydrate fully up to two hours before the event then stop and top up with a sports drink just before the gun. This will stop you having to constantly re-join the queue for a wee at the start or on the way round.
2. Look carefully around you before you cross the finish line. There will be photo's and you don't want to be finishing at the same time as the two people in the pantomime horse costume or the guy with the 'Back Marker' t-shirt.

Tania said...

I can hear the endorphins. So bloomin' JEALOUS! Sadly I need a new knee. Even walking has it's knee issues - not to mention slacker issues as the joggers scream past me...(good luck with that marathon bizzo!).

Eden Kennedy Onassis said...

My friend Pam recently bought a "Ta Ta Tamer" bra at Lululemon that has changed her life, it holds the girls in total immobility. She's a gym rat, not a long-distance runner, but reviews online seem pretty positive.

Anonymous said...

Vasoline all over your feet, particularly in blister prone areas, and along the edges of your sports bra. Your feet will feel a little squishy, but better than that a blister half way through.

Stinnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stinnie said...

Love your blog, and especially loving your posts about running. I'm trying to get back into some sort of shape after having two babies in 2.5 years and just started running again. I always look forward to reading your posts, I can really relate to you and though I'm not an expat, I am a midwesterner who is feeling like a stranger in paradise out here in northern California. It's a struggle to make ends meet and to live in a fixer- upper that costs half a mil. And why are there no thunderstorms? It's all a lovely, sunny mess!

AliBlahBlah said...

Thanks to everyone for commenting - Stinnie - you made my day! I will be wearing a vasoline smeared ta ta tamer on Saturday so watch out world!

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What a nice share! Keep blogging.

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