It’s all about your internal message

Two Sundays ago I joked about how we weren’t really doing an 8 mile run, but rather two 4 mile runs, with the second one starting with a downhill (thanks Dr. Bill for that helpful observation!).   I said it to get a few laughs, but also to make an important point.  A point not just about the marathon or half marathon, but about how you approach any big goal in your life.  Over the next 3 months, our runs/walks will be getting progressively longer (we taper down during the last month) and your attitude can make a huge difference as to how well you perform.  The way to achieve a big goal is to accomplish a series of smaller ones, to feel good about your accomplishment, and let the positive feeling inspire you to keep going.  Think of the long runs as a series of shorter runs, distances that you know you can comfortably do.  Look forward to the small rewards along the way, and celebrate your successes.

“I made it to the water stop!”

“I made it to the top of the hill!”

“I can do this!”

This Sunday’s route will be 9.5 miles.  You can do it!

One way to feel strong during a long run

It was great to see so many of you show up to the run this morning. I hope you all enjoyed the ocean breeze and crisp air. And, to those of you who made it to the top of Temescal Canyon, you deserve an extra congratulations. That is a far more challenging hill than any of the inclines on the course. With this hill training under your belt plus those that will follow, you’ll feel strong as you tackle the hills on Marathon Day.

Now that we are getting into longer runs, I have two words of advice for you: Eat Breakfast! While many runners can roll out of bed and run 4-6 miles quite well on an empty stomach (assuming they had a decent night sleep and a reasonable dinner the night before), few can go much further and still feel good. That’s why it’s time to make sure you eat a good breakfast, if you aren’t doing so already.

An appropriate breakfast before a long run is comprised of primarily “good carbs”, those foods that digest slowly and provide you with sustained energy during your run, i.e, fresh fruit and whole grains. Examples of a good pre-run breakfast include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, or whole grain muffins, with a piece of fruit. Leftover baked potatoes or brown rice are also good choices. Try to avoid pre-run meals that are high fat / high protein, like steak and eggs. We’re marathon runners, not body builders or Sumo wrestlers. 🙂

As you experiment with different breakfasts, see which foods and portion sizes help you keep going strong. This is the time to really start paying attention to your body and figure out what works best for you.  Your body will thank you.

What lessons did YOU learn from the 10K?

Congratulations to all of you who finished the 10K, and to those of you who couldn’t join us, I hope you got in a good workout and ran with us in spirit.

The primary reason we, the coaches, include a 10K and a 1/2 marathon in the training schedule is so you can have  race experiences well before Marathon day, and use those experiences to fine tune your training.  While it’s still fresh in your mind, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.  Think about what went well that you plan to continue, and what you realized you need to do differently.

Several of you already began this self-assessment just moments after you crossed the finish line.  As I asked people “how was it?”, I heard several insightful comments.  “I went out too fast”; “I should have taken it more slowly before I got to the hills so I wouldn’t have needed to walk up the last part”; “I didn’t feel as well as I did on last week’s run because I didn’t sleep enough last night”; etc.   Recognizing what didn’t work for you is the first step toward improvement. So, I encourage each of you to think about what your improvement opportunity is.  Then, start adjusting your approach on your next training run., and see how much better you’ll feel as the season progresses.

And, if you did better than you were expecting, great!  Think about what you did well that you want to repeat.  How hard did you train last week?  How much rest did you get in between training runs?  Did you pace yourself well?  Did you eat and drink appropriately this morning?  If what you did worked for you, keep it up!

Two great comments I heard during today’s run

Excellent turnout this morning, and congratulations to everyone whose six mile run was the longest run they had ever completed.  You will achieve many more milestones in the next 5 months!

I heard two great comments today that I wanted to share.  I’ll keep them anonymous, but if you recognize it’s you, and want me to share your name, just let me know.

The first comment came before we even started the warmup.  This runner announced that as she woke up, there was a battle going on in her head as to whether to stay in bed, or force herself to get up and run.  There are lots of good reasons to stay in bed, but there are far more reasons to get up and run.  We all have those days, and that’s when it’s important to remember why you’re doing this, and then use that reason to get up and get started.   I encourage each of you to think about what finishing this marathon, or half marathon, means to you, and use that to overcome those “I don’t feel like running/walking” days.  Fortunately, the “GET OUT OF BED” side of this runner’s internal battle won, and she joined us for this morning’s run.  Way to go!

The second comment came from a new runner, about 2 miles into this morning’s run, whose first response to my “How are you feeling?” was a list of  all the reasons this run was difficult.  He wasn’t wearing running shoes and he had several minor physical ailments that could become problematic if not addressed soon.  I started to worry about whether or not he’d continue with the team, but fortunately, the very next words out of his mouth were “BUT IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMITMENT”. He clearly knew why he was running, and I am confident that he’ll be crossing that finish line in March.


Achieving Your Goals

Completing a full or a half marathon is tough, and so is meeting your fundraising goal, but that’s what  makes achieving these goals so rewarding.  The key to achieving your goals is to keep the long-term big goal in mind, but to focus your energy on making a little bit of progress every day.  Set small achievable goals for yourself every week.

For example, if you haven’t been training at least 2-3 times during the week,  pick three days and times this week to get out there and do it.  Even if you just go for a 1/2 hour stroll, it’s better than not getting out there at all, and it’s the first step toward building a new routine.  Then, once you have your new routine, you can think about walking faster or starting to jog.  If you are already training mid-week, great!  Keep it up, and remember to check the website for tips on midweek runs.

As far as fundraising, our first deadline is to have our pages up by Sunday Oct 19. 2014.  That’s just a week away.  You can start now by thinking about what you’d like your page to say.  If you put some consistent effort in to fundraising, I promise you, you’ll be pleased with the results.