Training Tips for the Holiday Season

Training during the holiday season is tough.  But you’re all tougher!  Finding the strength to stay sober requires thought and effort throughout the day, every day.  Training for a half or full marathon only requires a few hours of effort a few days a week.  You can all do that!

The challenge is finding time in your schedule, which may be quite a bit different this week than it would be during a non-holiday week.  But that’s life.  Sometimes it’s easy to accomplish everything you want to do in a given day or week, and sometimes it’s hard.  It doesn’t mean it’s impossible; it just means you have to take some time to plan ahead and figure out how to make it work.

Training for the Marathon is just like preparing for success in the rest of your life.  Keep focused on the long term goal, and find a way to take steps every day to get closer to it.  Visualize yourself succeeding, and you’ll be that much more motivated to continue making progress.

As my grandmother often told me, “If something is important to you, you make the time to do it”.  Those are words I live by.  I encourage you to do the same.

Go Team!!!

Now It’s Time to Take on “The Course”

First of all, I hope that each of you who completed the 10K/Half Marathon is especially proud of the milestone you just achieved. That’s huge!!!

So, what’s next?  For the past three months, we’ve focused on several elements of training – tackling challenging hills, gradually increasing our distance, and exploring the beaches and trails.  I hope that each of you is feeling confident in your capabilities as you were enjoying the scenery.

Now it’s time to “study”. It’s time to learn the course so you’ll know what to expect on Marathon Day and how to plan for it.  Each Sunday, we’ll train on a different section of the course; and if you show up to every training, you will have done each segment of the course at least three times. You’ll know where the uphills and downhills start and end, and through trial and error, you’ll figure out how to pace yourself and what nutrition/hydration plan works best for you.

You’ll also get a grand tour of LA.  Over the next three months, we’ll run through Downtown, past the lake at Echo Park, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, past Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, past the halfway point where half marathoners start or finish, through West Hollywood, down Rodeo Drive, through Century City and West LA, and all the way into Santa Monica to the Pier, crossing the Finish Line.  We’ll pass all sorts of landmarks and through a wide mix of neighborhoods, as we cover the entire 26.2 miles of the course –  one segment at a time.

Keep on training, and on Marathon Day, you will feel well prepared!


What Does Your Team Shirt Really Say?

What Do You Run For?  Running For Recovery. The simple question and answer on our team shirts says a lot about who we are, what we do, and how we make a difference; and it starts the conversations that inspire and educate, and maybe even change lives.

People coming up behind me have actually stopped me to ask me what I run for, and I am always proud to tell them.  I tell them stories about people who had hit bottom, came to BTS, and are now living productive happy lives.  I tell them about the people currently on the team who are in recovery and are not only changing their own lives but are inspiring their teammates and raising money to help those who will come after them.  I tell them about the alums who come back and keep running with the team as a way to stay sober and give back.  And I tell them about those who are not in recovery yet are here because they want to make a difference.  We are all part of something big, part of an effort that changes lives.  How many of those people who stopped me are battling addiction, know someone who is, or may simply want to help?  I’ll never know, but I assure you the answer isn’t zero.  Because I wore the shirt, I had an opportunity to send a message that can help others.

The shirt sends a message to you too.  The shirt says you are committed to a goal, and you are out there working toward it.  The shirt reminds you that you are part of this year’s team, as well as the teams that have come before you and those who will come after you.  The shirt says you are willing to inspire others, to be part of a caring community, and do your part to change lives. The shirt says you have something to be very proud of.

Starting right after the 10K / Half Marathon, we’ll be out there on the course every Sunday.  Every Sunday through March 19th, you’ll have an opportunity to be seen by many. I encourage each of you to wear your shirts to the 10K/Half Marathon, and every Sunday through Marathon Day.  (After is good too!)

Get noticed.  Send a message to others.  Celebrate what you do.  Feel proud!


Five Successes to Celebrate

As we are nearing the halfway point in our training, now is a great time to reflect on all that you have accomplished in the past 3 months.  I looked back at the surveys you filled out at the beginning of the season on which many of you listed your goals.  You are accomplishing them:

  1. Recovery: You’re still here.  You’re still sober.  You are learning to, and I quote a teammate from a prior year, enjoy the “high au naturel”.
  2. Get in Shape/Improve Fitness: Remember back in early September when 2-3 miles seemed like a lot?  Now that’s often shorter than the distance to the first water/Gatorade stop.  If you’ve been showing up most Sundays and doing most of the midweek training, you’ve already covered well over 100 miles, and some of you have done more than 150.   Your heart is stronger, your lungs have more capacity, your joints are tougher, and your muscles are growing.
  3. Inspire Others: Every time you get up and show up, and do the miles, you are being a role model. Your effort and your participation keep others motivated. You’re part of team that is inspiring not only those you run/walk with this season, but also inspiring those who will come after you.
  4. Give Back: You’re fundraising to help those who couldn’t otherwise afford treatment. You are helping people overcome their addictions and become the person they want to be.
  5. Prove to Yourself You Can Do It: Half Marathoners – you’ve done 6-7 miles so many times, I bet it doesn’t even seem hard to you any more.  The 10K will be a breeze. Full Marathoners – you are building miles every week, and learning to pace yourselves.  Each and every one of you is ready for the half marathon.  You are all proving to yourself that you can achieve a challenging goal.

I am proud of each and every one of you.  You are working hard; you are accomplishing your goals; and you have achieved successes that will always stay with you.