Last week, I started a 9-week series titled “Mama’s half marathon” to journal my training wins and woes after registering for the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon. If you are familiar with my first training attempt, rest assured that I did finally find the safety key for my treadmill and have since accomplished two indoor runs! Is there anything more motivating than this little smirk staring at you while you sweat it out? Adam and I are highly motivated by the concept of setting a good example for our boys of what it looks like to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Our wish for them is that they will know no different than to be active for life.
With that in mind, I’m sharing my training plan this week on the blog as well as some tips for starting to run. There’s something about coming out of a long winter hibernation that has so many people wanting to get outside and get moving! Adam and I are both certified personal trainers so please don’t hesitate to comment below or e-mail me directly with additional questions if need be!
First things first – what you need:
Truthfully, all you need is a pair of running shoes, socks and comfortable clothes. That’s part of what makes running such a desirable form of activity is that it can be done at no cost. Of course, there are a few small things that can make for a more positive experience so please take the word need with a grain of salt.
Properly fitted running shoes. Please notice that I said “properly fitted” and not “fancy or expensive” running shoes. Visit a store with staff that are educated about running (i.e. the Running Room) and ask for help in finding a shoe at a reasonable price point. Having a new and properly fitting shoe can make a big difference in terms of comfort during and after your run. If you are running regularly, your shoes are likely due to be replaced annually.
Activewear – something comfortable! While it’s important to feel good in what you’re wearing, investing in new activewear is a great tool for motivation. For example, “when I accomplish (blank) goal, I will buy myself a new top or bottom.” If you read my “What is that and where did you get it” post, you’ll know that I love to shop second hand. Kijiji and Facebook are full of NWT (new with tags) and lightly used activewear at a fraction of the price. If you’re in Ottawa, be sure to join ‘Lulu in the Capital‘ on Facebook!
Nike+ Running App. If you are running with a phone, be sure to download the Nike+ Running App. It tracks all of the important details about your workout (distance, pace, time etc.) and acknowledges when you’ve achieved various milestones (fastest run, longest run etc.). If you know other people using this app, you can add them as a friend and track your runs together and send each other challenges! This app is also integrated with Facebook and if you choose to share that you’re out for a run, the app will cheer for you when someone clicks ‘Like’ during your run. It may sound silly but I always thoroughly enjoyed being surprised with a “hooray!!!” during a run by myself.
Music. Whether you like the American Top 40 or Country’s Biggest Hits, plan ahead with some of your favourite songs and watch the time fly by while you run! If you’re a fellow Apple geek, subscribe to Apple Music and it will change your life.
Next up – training plan:
To put it simply, if you want to get better at running, you need to do more running. Before having small kids at home with me, I would run 4-5 times per week when training for a race. My preferred distances range from 4-7km and always at a comfortable pace.
Nowadays, with my sights set on a half marathon, I intend to run 3-4 times per week progressing from 3km (high intensity) to 15km (comfortable pace) over the next 8 weeks. On my off days, I will do my best to incorporate an alternative form of physical activity (cross training) like weight training, cycling or lane swimming.
This week, I accomplished two treadmill runs at 1.0 incline and 6.0mph speed for 3km plus two outdoor runs – one by myself while Grandma and Grandpa watched the boys and the second as a family. Both outdoor runs were 4km at a comfortable pace. My cross training included a baby wearing salsa class and a 75 minute cycling class.
If you have a specific distance in mind that you’d like to accomplish, it’s a good idea to Google a race plan. For example, I Googled “5km race plan” and the first link was for an 8-week first time 5km training plan.
Lastly, tips for success:
Register yourself! Above all other tips, if there’s a distance that you would like to accomplish, choose a race and register yourself. This gives you an end date to work towards and with money attached, you’re more likely to see it through.
Remember, the habit of the habit is more important than the habit itself. What’s most important is that you are consistent. Forming a habit takes 21 days so if you are new to running, set a goal for the first three weeks to put your running shoes on and walk or run everyday. It can be as little as a 5-minute walk down the street and back or as long as a 10km jog. All that matters is that you are developing the habit of running or walking into your regular routine.
Don’t plan a day off. Life will always get in the way of a workout at one time or another – especially if you have wee kids in your life. Plan to be active in some capacity everyday and then don’t beat yourself up over any days missed.
Plan your route…or don’t. In time, you will come to learn what motivates you to be active. When it comes to running, I have the most success running a planned and familiar route. I will run the same 5km route everyday and am highly motivated to reach the markers along the way and know how much of the run I have left. Alternatively, Adam finds that extremely boring and would prefer to run a new route every time. For him, the time passes more quickly when he doesn’t know where he’s going – for me, it feels like the run will never end. Pay attention to what motivates you!
The first km is the worst. Whether it’s the first km of every run or the first few runs of the season, rest assured that even seasoned runners experience discomfort when getting back into shape. So often, I hear people say that they hate running. Well I’ll be honest, sometimes I hate running too. It’s an activity that requires commitment and perseverance to get to a place where you are physically and mentally in good condition to enjoy running. Stick with it! You’ll always be glad that you went for your run.
You can’t ‘out exercise’ bad nutrition. If you’re putting forth the effort to be active, do yourself a favour and make good food choices.
Join me next week to hear about my training plan with respect to food and some of the key changes that I make during race season. Have you set a date for your summer or fall race yet? Comment below if you’re working towards something!