Thursday, April 16, 2015

So you wanna run a marathon?

Ok, it's a little weird that I'm writing this post, because I never wrote about my marathon training as an encouragement for running or even for fitness. I have never preached to anyone about fitness. I always viewed running as another goal I had set and was writing about it because it was about accomplishing a goal. (Although, GOMI idiots can't understand that.) However, I've noticed two things lately... 1. My friends look up to me for running inspiration or whatever, whether I want them to or not. 2. There aren't really any fitness blogs or IG accounts that have my unique perspective. With that in mind, I'm going to write some blog posts about running for beginner's. My purpose is to write about distance running. Gearing up to run a 5K is just not that big of a deal, even if it seems like it is to you...and for a 5K, there are TONS of resources for beginners. Gearing up to run a half marathon, full marathon, or even an ultra marathon (which starts at 30 miles) is a different ballgame entirely. But even if you don't want to go the distance, I might still have useful information for you. With that in mind, here are my promises to you:

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1. It is not about speed. I am NEVER going to encourage anyone to run faster. I know that a lot of you HATE running, and I'd imagine it's for some of the same reasons I do: getting hot and sweaty and gross is yucky and having your lungs going so hard that you feel like you want to die is the worst. My secret : slow and steady. I literally NEVER run hills and I have had speed walkers pass me up on the trails and in the race. I run at a pace where I am breathing harder but not so hard my lungs feel like they're going to explode and I get a cramp in my side. This means, I run fairly slow...slow enough that some fancy runners think that I'm only "jogging". But I don't give a shit if you just learn how to speedwalk (valid choice) to that marathon finish. My entire philosophy on running is: Relax, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going until you've reached that distance. Which is why my first tip to you is to ditch that runner's watch or whatever it is that keeps your pace. You don't need that kind of bullshit when you're just starting!

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2. Listen to your body. The running world is ALL ABOUT INJURY. I cannot think of one runner, besides myself, who has not encountered an injury. 90% of those injuries are overuse injuries. Injuries, barring any pre-existing conditions, are preventable. Injuries happen when you go too far, too fast, too soon. So, I'm always going to encourage you to slow it down and even walk. Start small and build mileage slowly. It took me two years to train to run a marathon, because I was stuck for MONTHS at 3 miles and then 5 miles. When I first started running, any sign of pain, and I started walking. I have learned, over time, the difference between pain and discomfort. I am never going to tell you to push through anything. But I can tell you that you will feel discomfort and maybe stop running until you realize that's part of your body changing. You might feel discomfort and keep running to see if it goes away. But if you're feeling anything consistently for more than two miles, then just STOP. Your body is more important than any race.

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3. You don't have to lose weight, but you are probably going to have to alter some of your eating habits. Look, I was "morbidly obese" when I started running (still am) and was "obese" when I crossed that finish line at my first marathon. I lost 34 pounds in the last four months of my training, because it's a lot of mileage. I gained most of it back within three months of my training. But I also took a break and didn't maintain a running schedule for eight months. Now, you can train and run one marathon and be done, and that's fine. You'll probably lose weight and then gain it back. Or you can train and reach a point where you're consistently running 10-20 miles per week and probably lose some weight for good. Your body will slim down in places you might not have expected and your muscles will change and you will be able to feel the difference, but I'm not here to put you on a diet. I still eat just about whatever the hell I want, honestly. I do only two things; drink more water and fuel properly for a long run. Carb loading is a ways down the road, because you have to get to a comfortable and regular 3 miles first. For now, you should try to drink at least one extra cup of water every day. You have to hydrate when you exercise AND when you don't. Your body needs to know how to use that extra water you give it when you're moving, and it can't learn that unless you increase your intake when you're not moving. I suck at this and I hate water, so that's why I'm only telling you one cup. If you wanna get all hydrated all the time, I'll be impressed at your dedication.

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If you are still feeling like you're ready to take this challenge on, then I will talk to you all about how to go from reading this blog post to finishing a marathon (and maybe we can meet each other at the finish line!). But I am not a doctor, so if you've got real medical concerns, go talk to someone with a license for that shit. What I am is a chubby runner in a world full of skinny runners. I know there are other people out there who might be just like me; interested in a challenge that could be life changing. It's cool. You can train to run a marathon for ANY REASON, and I'm down. If you feel like distance running is your calling, then I'm going to give you practical advice that you may not be able to find elsewhere. When you really get into this, you'll see what I mean. All I'm doing for today is introducing myself and telling you my promises. Next week, I'm gonna give you my first challenge to you to see if you really wanna do this. After that, we'll talk about the most important running gear you will ever have, your shoes. But if you're not interested in waiting two weeks for that very important shoe talk, then e-mail me and I'll give you a preview! (fennarama@gmail.com)

3 comments:

  1. Yay, I like this! I wanted to start running after Marion was born, but I'm just not finding the time yet. Looking forward to this series!

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  2. I know, I still need to send you those shoe pics. I haven't forgotten. Looking forward to this series!!

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