BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN AND YOU WILL!
It’s been a little over a week since I ran the Across the Bay 12k with Represent Running; my first ever long distance race! It was hard work getting to that point. I mean months and months of training and failing and learning that got me to not only cross that finish line but enjoy the actual run as well.
I started officially training in March. 4 months of training to be able to run 7.46 miles successfully and I did it. I knew I had it in me but unlike some people, I was never athletic and running just never came naturally to me. Because I knew I had to work ten times harder than the average person, I knew I had to be diligent about my training. Once I had my plan in place, I had to stick to it.
Along the way, I learned a few things from my training that became critical to my success.
Adequate sleep is so important. You can’t train and give your 100% if you’re tired so I found that on the days where I would get 8 or more hours of sleep, I was a beast. I had so much energy and was able to push harder and go a longer distance. However, the days I got less than 7 or 6 hours, I was sluggish and could not perform at my best. However, if you’re a busy mom like me, getting 8 hours of sleep is so much easier said than done. If this isn’t possible every night during training, at least try and make sure you get in 8 hours of sleep the nights leading up to your big race.
It’s kind of crazy how much water humans are supposed to consume on a daily basis.
I have felt the effects of dehydration and let me tell you, it is not fun! It includes a massive migraine, brain fog, sluggishness, feeling lethargic, and extremely dry skin.
I have to remind myself throughout the day that I have to drink my water so as a reminder, I always just carry my water bottle around everywhere I go.
Here’s how to calculate exactly how much water you’re supposed to have based on your weight and the amount of exercise you do.
Multiplying your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) then convert to liters. So for example:
155 pounds x 2/3 (or .67) = 103 ounces/33.814 = 3.046 liters
If you exercise, add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out.
155 pounds x 2/3 (or .67) = 103 ounces + 24 ounces (60 min of exercise) = 127 ounces/33.814 = 3.75 liters
Here’s a great 1 gallon water bottle that you can easily carry around with you and the motivational markets are a super cute touch!
3. Nourish Your Body
This goes without saying but what you put in your body is going make a huge difference between struggling through your runs or powering through them. For me, it’s really hard for me to eat my veggies so instead I drink them.
I try to have a smoothie everyday but on the days where I have a long run planned, I’ll start my day with a smoothie that incorporates one ingredient each of: protein, fiber, greens, fruit or high fructose vegetable, fat, liquid and a superfood.
Click here for the Fab Four Smoothie by Be Well by Kelly. I try and drink this daily!
Music is absolutely critical for me and the song selection is especially important. My Spotify playlist is carefully and strategically curated to help me get through the tough times of my run. I know exactly at which point during my run where I’ll need Eminem and Beyonce to come in and help push me through mile by mile.
Headphones are also really important. You’ll want invest in good quality headphones if you’re going to be running a lot and will be using it on a consistent basis. The last thing you need are poor quality, unreliable headphones on the day of your race.
I love my Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones for its high quality audio, comfort (it stays in place) and 6-hour battery life.
5. Do Not Overtrain
It’s easy to over do it, especially as you get closer to race day but this is a bad idea. Don’t run yourself ragged or you’ll risk injury. Instead pace yourself and listen to your body. There will be days where you’re body is fatigued and needs rest and there will be days where you’re feeling awesome. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and trust your gut. It’s okay to alter your training based on how you’re feeling. If you have to adjust your week, then do so. You’re better off doing that than running the risk of getting injured and not being able to run at all.
A typical training schedule for me is to run three times a week: two short runs during the weekdays, usually Tuesday and Thursday, and one long run usually occurring on a Saturday or Sunday.
6. Cross Train
Cross-training helps improve endurance and stamina while giving your running muscles a break. For me that was Soul Cycle. I noticed that by incorporating Soul Cycle into my training, it really helped me run longer and feel stronger during my longer runs.
If Soul Cycle isn’t an option for you, any cycle class will do and the elliptical or stationary bike are also great as an alternative. It’s easy on the joints while still getting your heart pumping.
7. Pace Yourself
YOU ARE NOT COMPETING WITH ANYONE EXCEPT THE PERSON YOU WERE YESTERDAY.
Find your comfortable pace and do what feels right.
Do not compare yourself with how fast and how long other people are running.
Stick to your plan and stick to your pace.
8 miles in 2 hours and 8 miles in 1 hour is STILL 8 miles.
It’s important to train in clothes you are comfortable in. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a fortune on Lululemon workout clothes, but it does have to be functional. My favorite workout clothes that I felt the best running in were purchased on Amazon, Target and Old Navy. So you don’t have to break the bank but you do need to feel good in what you’re wearing.
If you look good, you’ll feel good, which will give you the confidence to perform at your best!
Having said that, you do get what you pay for! So obviously, the higher the quality, the longer it will last and may even help you perform better.
One advice is to not wear brand new clothes on the day of the race. Last thing you need to worry about is a wardrobe malfunction on the big day.
Even more important are your running shoes. I made the mistake of not getting properly fitted and just purchased Nike running shoes thinking it would be fine but I ended up getting injured with a sore left ankle and shin.
Go to a specialized running store where you can talk to experts. They’ll assess your feet and make recommendations as to what type of shoes you need depending on your feet anatomy, how many miles you put in a week and the way you run.
When I got fitted for new running shoes, I even got on their treadmill and ran to test out the shoes while the employee watched the way I ran and made recommendations on what shoes would be best.
Don’t focus so much on the brand and how the shoe looks but more on its function, how comfortable your feet are wearing them and how much cushioning there is. Cushioning and support are key!
The shoes I ended up getting are the Brooks Glycerin 17. They are so comfortable with maximum cushioning! They are super light and provide great support for your feet. As soon as I put my feet into these shoes, I knew they were the one. It’s like walking on clouds. I just love these shoes!
As with clothes, it’s best not to wear brand new shoes on the day of the race. I suggest breaking new shoes in about 4-6 weeks before the race.
10. Believe In Yourself
Last but not least, believe in yourself.
Contrary to the lie you’ve been telling yourself, you CAN do this. It takes training and discipline but changing your mindset from “I CAN’T” to “I CAN” is the difference between crossing that finishing line and giving up. Don’t do the latter. You can do this. Maybe you won’t be able to run far and fast right away, but with the proper training, one day you can. You owe it to your current self to prove your old self wrong.
YOU GOT THIS!