I backdated this entry to show published for the day it should’ve been largely for the benefit of people who are finding us in progress and starting from the beginning and working their way through. To the rest of you I offer my sincerest apologies that this didn’t get finished or posted yesterday. I woke up and started writing, then my meds said that was enough of that and to go back to bed. Then I spent the rest of the day sick on the bathroom floor. So the intention was 100% there but it just wasn’t feasible. Things will be back on a normal steady schedule, I’m starting to feel a little more normal than I have since the surgery so I’m assuming it will be onward and upward from here.
That being said, the popular New Year’s resolution we’re focusing on in this entry is to run either a half or full marathon. I personally know people who resolve to do this every year, and people who want to do it whether they resolve to or not as more of a “before I die” kind of thing. What I didn’t know before doing the research for this article is that a full marathon is 26.2 miles. I thought 5Ks and 10Ks were the real deal and sounded like plenty to me! I know people who’ve done the 5 and 10Ks and even the Tough Mudder thing, but I don’t think I know anyone who’s actually done a FULL 26.2 mile marathon.
Running some of these are items on my bucket list, but weren’t a resolution for me this year. My problem, in addition to my weight, and having had major ankle reconstructive surgery that leaves me weak and prone to continually re-spraining it, is that I’ve spent my life with respiratory problems. I’ve got asthma, I’ve got chronic bronchitis, I’ve got chronic sinusitis (and a whole other mess of junk going on in my sinuses), and I now also have plantar fasciitis and heel spurs to contend with, and tachycardia too which spikes with inhaler usage, so I’m just totally not built for running, but I’d like to make it happen at some point regardless.
For me I will probably be looking to start with getting to a point where I can run a mile, which I have vivid memories of when I was in school doing that presidential fitness test or whatever and they were expecting people to run a mile in however many minutes and I was kinda going “Um, what? Gimme that many days and it might happen. Maybe” So, I understand we’re all starting at very different points and running a marathon may be more feasible for some of us than others, so what I’m gonna ask is that we all try to commit to either Running a Marathon (Half or Full), running a 5K or 10K, running a 10-minute mile (which I think is a couple extra minutes, but for the sake of having something achievable for those of us starting at a “Run? Are you crazy?” level), OR walking a 5 or 10K. Any of those options, or all of them if you’re feeling motivated, sound to me like great things to try to achieve over the course of the year. I do NOT expect you to run out and do them today unless you’re just in awesome shape already and just needed the push.
If you’re going to do a marathon or any other formal run, start looking into runs in your area and choosing one that feels like a reasonable time frame, and seeing whether the one you’re interested allows walkers or only runners. Different runs have different standards. Once you’ve decided which goal you want to meet you’re going to want to start training to build stamina and endurance, and speed if that’s a relevant factor to you.
Be SAFE about your training. According to marathon training sites one of the most common causes of injury is building weekly mileage too soon and too fast. They suggest consistently running 20-30 miles a week before committing to a marathon, and then starting small with 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons before trying a full marathon. When choosing a marathon, consider starting with one of the low-key races on country roads before going for a full on in city race with thousands of runners. Unless that’s really your whole point for running the marathon is just experiencing it and you don’t care so much about where you place or how you look or any of that. If you’re going that route for the experience instead of the achievement of doing it well then you may want to consider traveling to a destination marathon, if you’re more interested in building yourself up and really want to perform well before you put yourself in the big formal environment then try to find something ocal where you will be running in a familiar setting and possibly on roads you already know.
Training for a marathon consists primarily of building your weekly base mileage over time, running 3-5 times per week. Do a long run every 7-10 days to get your body used to running long distances. Practice running interval runs (changing between steady and faster paces every few minutes) to increase your cardio capability, and be sure to get enough rest and recovery time to prevent injuries and burnout. If this is something you’re dedicated too go ahead and go through your calendar for the year, or up till the run you’re opting to participate in, and mark what days are run days, what days are rest days, and what days are long runs.
If you’re starting as someone who already runs regularly, then you’re looking at a 12-20 week training plan and should be spending that time building your weekly mileage up to 50 miles in the 4 months leading up to your big run. Weekly mileage shouldn’t be increased by more than 10% from week to week, and your pace should be relaxed enough to carry on a conversation. Your long run should increase 1-2 miles each week. It’s recommended that every 4th week you cut back a few miles to not overwork your body and then the 5th week you can bounce back up to increasing from where you were on week 3. Your long runs should be done significantly slower than your regular runs. Use your long runs to determine what does and doesn’t work with your clothing, gear, hydration, and fuel choices. Determine what parts of your body chaff while running and learn to protect them with some BodyGlide or Vaseline. Get used to running without headphones. Many races don’t allow them, particularly if it’s not a closed course, and you shouldn’t be wearing them out in the real world off of the treadmill anyway. Yes music can help provide a beat to keep pace, but it also makes it hard if not impossible to be aware of all the hazards around you. Get used to playing that music in your head if you need it.
Speed work is optional, but if you’re really in it to see yourself improve and thrive and get the most out of the experience I recommend it. You can look up plans for interval running or tempo running and they will give you an idea of how to time it. I find that kind of work easiest on a treadmill since you can actively watch your time and look at your list both, but if you’re able to handle it on the road then by all means go for it.
You’re going to want to do most of your training on road so you are used to changes in terrain and having to control your own pace and unpredictable environment, and the difference between breathing outside air and inside air. As someone with asthma I can say there’s a big difference. Also train with whatever you will be using on your big run day. Marathons will have water stations along the track, but if you’re someone who needs constant hydration then get a hydration belt or pack and wear it while you train so you’re used to the extra weight and restriction in movement. You’re also eventually going to need something that can carry fuel sources, as your body tends to have been depleted of its major energy source by the 20-mile point. You’re going to want to eat small amounts of carbs before you hit that 20-mile wall. You can use energy gels or chews, or you can use an energy bar or pieces of fruit. If you’re going to run more than 2 hours plan for 60 grams of carbs per hour. Buy good running shoes with inserts that support your feet and particularly your arches. Buy clothes appropriate for running. Nothing that you’re going to trip on or is going to impede your movement. Consider how to best carry your cell phone. You don’t want to be running miles without it, both for safety, and also so you can use Map My Run and track your work and progress as well as show off to your Facebook friends 😉
Rest days mean rest. No running allowed. Your muscles need the opportunity to recover and so does your brain. If you get addicted to the activity and endorphins you can still absolutely be active, but do it in other ways. You CAN walk, hike, bicycle, swim, do yoga, weight train, dance, really anything that isn’t running.
Leading up to your big run day hydrate extra. When it’s time for the big run, do not do anything new. Use your same shoes and clothes you’ve been training with. Don’t add extra caffeine. Don’t skip breakfast, but don’t go for heavy either, eat something simple and high in carbs. Consider oatmeal and fruit or a bagel with a side of fruit. Read up on what to expect during the race and what you can expect as far as porta-potties along the route at aid stations and how best to deal with the elements and how to make the best of spectators.
If you’re not going for full out marathon or formal run, that is OKAY. I’m not either. We can cheer on our members that are. But do strive for one of those goals mentioned up at the beginning of the post, and start today with going for a brisk walk or a jog around the neighborhood, or even around the block. Just get out and get moving. And if you need to buy appropriate shoes and clothing this is the time to start either making that happen or planning how to fit it into your budget. We’re going to be focusing plenty on being fit and healthy over the year, so it’s something you’ll have to be properly equipped for at some point. The sooner the better.
As for the daily tasks:
Time to tackle body hair. Even in January you don’t want to let your bikini zone get out of hand or neglect your manscaping. Whether you’re a shaver or a trimmer or like to go au natural is all up to you but make sure everything is clean and healthy and there are no wild hairs that might need to be plucked or waxed out of existence. You can go for a professional waxing or do all of your hair care at home. I’ve never gone the professional route cause money and some degree of modesty making it sound kind of terrifying, but it’s a normal thing these days, so if you’re interested, don’t let it intimidate you, and you can always google or call ahead to find out what to expect. Do be mindful of ingrown hairs and razor burn and itchy little red bumps. There are products for that.
Clean out your pantry. If you haven’t got a formal pantry then go for whatever cabinet(s) houses your canned foods and other dry goods. If anything is expired, toss it. If you’ve got half containers of bulk items that can be combined, make it happen. If you have things that haven’t expired but you know you’re never going to use donate them to your local food pantry/food bank. They’ll take any non-perishables and someone somewhere out there can use it. Particularly as donations do slow down dramatically after the holidays, so don’t feel pitiful if you’re showing up with one or two items, they’ll have a use for them. If you’re feeling super motivated let your local friends and co-workers know that you’re making a run to drop off food and see if they have anything they want to add. Wipe down your shelves. Other than that just organize. Make sure everything has a space where it belongs and that you know where to reach for it when you’re cooking so you don’t have to make a big mess while meals are in progress that just gets shuffled around more cause no one really thinks “I have some free time, I should organize my cupboards.”
Do some upper body exercise with free-weights. This is one of those where having that gym membership pays off, but again, if you haven’t made the gym membership happen yet then improvise with whatever appropriately weighted and grippable items you can find around the house. If you strike out on finding anything to use, still go through the motions. Going through the movements of an exercise will still always benefit your body in toning muscle and getting blood and oxygen flowing, the weights just enhance it. For today, let’s do 15 Bicep Curls (with each arm), 15 Chest Presses, 10 Tricep Lifts, 10 Rows (1 with each arm = 1), and 15 Chest Flyes.
Then lastly we’re going to do either a guided meditation or listen to a subliminal audio track for general mental health. You don’t need to consider yourself mentally unhealthy for that to be a good thing, just like you don’t need to be sick to proactively maintain your physical health. I know at the beginning of the video she says something about designing it to help people with mental disorders, but note that among them she includes “stress” and we all have at least some of that. Sometimes we just want to touch base with our minds and spirits and do a little maintenance and let them know we appreciate how hard they work for us.
That’s it for the day 🙂 The Question of the Day was posted on time, so it’s already waiting for you on Facebook if you haven’t already seen it 🙂
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: It Keeps You Runnin’ (Remastered Version)
Album: Best Of The Doobies, The