Running a half Marathon has been on my Bucket List ever since I started running again a few years ago. Last year, I was getting ready to train for a spring half marathon when I had a freak accident and severely sprained my ankle. I tried to get my mileage back up after I recovered from the ankle sprain, but I injured myself in the summer and had to set aside my goal again.
I was frustrated. Very frustrated.
Fortunately, I found a wonderful physical therapist who got me back on the road running while I learned how to stretch properly and keep my ankles stronger. I found him thanks to a fantastic sports medicine doctor who took the time to explain to me how my injury happened and how ankles work in general.
The dream came back to life.
Lessons Learned from Training
I ran my half marathon last weekend after training for 4 months. I had a great time, and I’m getting ready to train for another half marathon in October. Setting such a big hairy audacious goal taught me a lot that has carried over into the rest of my life.
- Find a good resource for help and advice. Between the sports medicine doctor and the physical therapist, I found 2 great people who gave me the tools I needed to train better and not over train this time around.
- Find a good plan that fits your lifestyle and stick to it. I love the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Half Marathon Plan I used and had no problems modifying it to fit my schedule. Even though I didn’t like running in the afternoon during the week, I did it because all of my kids were in school. This summer, I’m running at 7:00 am; I’ll adjust again in September.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Truly. As a runner who is getting older (46), I try to put blinders on when I run with younger female runners. I need to focus on my past performance and compare myself to the other women in my age group.
- Show up every single day. Excellence is built over time, bit by bit. Making the right choice more often creates momentum to keep making the right choice.
- Mental training is just as important as physical training. My right foot was killing me the last mile of the race. I kept telling myself to run strong, and don’t forget I survived giving birth to 5 kids. I think a lot of things are easy compared to giving birth.
- Take a day off if you need it; don’t power through. I successfully avoided injury this spring by paying attention to the aches and pains of training, and knowing when I was getting sick. Feeling overwhelmed, tired, and short-tempered is my body’s early warning system for getting sick. I slow down, take my oil of oregano, and make sure I get plenty of sleep.
- Celebrate your success! My bulletin board in my home office is filled with my running bibs, a 2nd place medal, and my half marathon medal. I see it. My kids see it.
Key to My Success: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
This past winter, I read a fantastic, inspirational book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. While sharing the ups and downs of his own life, Jeff talks about the little changes we can make in our lives to keep ourselves on the path to achieving our goals. These are simple changes, yet people don’t grasp the impact they can have by continuing to do them daily.
2 of my favorite principles from Olson’s book are:
1. Show up every day.
2. Be consistent.
Even if this is all you do, these 2 principles will help you to build a foundation for achieving your goal. Every single day I did something to prepare for the half marathon whether it was strengthening my muscles or doing the training miles.
My Next Bucket List Item: The Marathon
Next year, I would like to train for a marathon. I’m giving myself a year to prepare for this goal since the amount of training involved is much greater than that of a half marathon. I need to build a solid foundation of weekly mileage to ensure I can train for the marathon without injuring myself.