Simply running a few times a week isn’t the only thing you need to do in order to prepare for a race. It’s also important to have a couple of cross training days. Cross training allows the muscles used for running to have a little break while still giving you a workout. It works out different parts of your body, but will still help your overall running performance. There are several different activities you could do for cross training. My brother, Nathan, prefers biking. He does both mountain biking and road biking. I usually bike or sometimes even just do a workout video. I’m looking forward to the summer so I can start swimming on my cross days. Cross training is great to help your running improve and also to keep your workouts interesting by being able to try different things.
This picture was taken a year ago when I ran the Cow Paddy 5k in Fayetteville. It feels good to look back at an event like this and know that I’ve improved since then. It’s crazy how much can be accomplished if you don’t give up. I was training for a 5k a year ago, and now I’m beginning to train for a half marathon. When I started running, I never really thought I would be able to run very far distances. I’m so glad I’ve been sticking with it though because the sense of accomplishment after a long run definitely makes it all worth it. Perseverance is what pays off in the end. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are. As long as you keep at it, you’ll keep improving.
I’ve been planning on a trip to North Carolina this summer to visit my brother, Tim, since he’s stationed out there. I started looking up half marathons in July and I couldn’t find any in Arkansas due to the heat at that time of year. I did, however, find one in North Carolina called The Scream so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? I mentioned it to my brother, Nathan, a few days ago to see if he could go with me to run it and spend the next week visiting Tim and hanging out at the beach. Yesterday I got a definite answer out of him and I’m so excited that he said yes! I asked Tim if he would want to run it with us too, and he’s also game. I’m so pumped to run my first half marathon with two of my brothers! It’s time for me to kick it in gear and train hard with Hal Higdon’s half marathon training program. Those 13.1 miles won’t come easy but I’m motivated and excited to work for them.
It turns out running doesn’t just open doors for making new human friends. Today I met this little kitty along the trail. I’m a sucker for any animal so I had to stop and give her some attention. I guess we bonded more than I realized in our couple minute exchange because she started trotting along behind me when I began running again. She made a friendly little running companion for a few minutes.
Aside from a random animal you might encounter, the running world is full of friendly people. I think it’s important to be a friendly runner. A smile and bit of encouragement from another runner can really help boost your mood and provide a bit more energy. Take a cue from my little kitty friend. Be friendly and avoid bad running etiquette.
It’s hard not to be in high spirits after a long, outdoor run with beautiful scenery. Today was the perfect weather for running. After racing the sun around the trail, I finished right as it was setting. The run made both my body and mind feel incredible. I’m always amazed at how much better I feel after I run and how it makes the stress seem to just melt away. I no longer have to force myself to run. Now I run because I love it. Running makes me feel confident, relaxed, and simply happy. If you’re having a bad day, go for a run or even a walk and see if it can help improve your attitude like it helps mine.
I have mixed feelings about treadmills. On one hand, I love them because they make it so easy to set your pace and track your time. On the other hand, I hate them because running on one can seem very mundane. For longer runs, I definitely prefer the outdoors. However, sometimes weather makes that impossible so I’m forced to use a treadmill. The gym at my apartment has a little TV in front of each cardio machine, so I often watch TV to help the monotony of treadmill runs. I have to be very careful when trying to run and watch TV though, due to my accident proneness and terrible coordination. There are several advantages and disadvantages to running on a treadmill, but in the end it all comes down to what your prefer.
I’m proud of my roommate, Shelby Lynne, for recently running her first 10k. We began running together our freshman year of college and we still workout together whenever we get the chance. She participated in the 10k at the Little Rock Marathon on March 3. She has done a couple of small, local 5k’s, but this was her first big race to be a part of.
Shelby Lynne (pictured on the right) told me that she and her cousin had so much fun doing it and loved the racing atmosphere. The 10k helped her become more fond of running, and she’s excited to run more races in the future. You never really know how fun running and participating in races can be until you get out there and do it yourself. I’m glad that more and more of my friends are beginning to jump on the bandwagon with me.