On February 1st, 2017, I signed up for the Broad Street Run. I started my training about a week prior. And by starting my training, I mean I went from doing nothing – to starting to jog/walk. Yes, you read that right. One week prior. And exactly 14 weeks later (of which most of the training took place in 10 of them), I ran the race for the entirety of it and FINISHED it (in JUST under 2 hours) Now, I am not here to brag about how awesome I am for doing this (although, I am happy to take this opportunity to say, GO ME!) - but I am here to say that it is POSSIBLE, doable and all it takes it some dedication and patience.
I will also say, training for something like this in that short amount of time did not fully prepare my body. So keep that in mind, too!
After doing my longest run (8.5 miles) about 9 days before the race, I was still feeling some pain in my knees the morning of. My ankles and knees started to hurt instantly into my first mile on race day. Plus, I didn't get a chance to stretch as much as I would have liked so pretty quickly into the run, I was hurting.
Thankfully, our bodies are INCREDIBLE. I've never been able to experience just how incredible, in an athletic form. I went from barely being able to do a mile, to running 10, and even through all that pain, I kept moving, kept running and finished. Needless to say, I was hurting after but it was worth it just to run through that finish line.
2. Listening to your body can be confusing AF
This is something I am ALWAYS working on with my clients/patients.
What is your body telling you? Are you really hungry or do you just “feel like eating”? Or are you thirsty?
It's important to listen to what your body is telling you to know what it wants, which is challenging through a nutritional standpoint.
Enter: my first real glimpse into consistent cardio.
Was I feeling more hungry? Or am I just thirsty? Am I hungry because I am thinking about it or actually hungry? What should I eat? What gives me enough energy?
It goes on, and on, and on.
Aside from the changes in my appetite, exercise and running was physically uncomfortable (DUH)
What I mean is – you feel pain during exercise, and it is not to say that it was torturous pain, but for someone who is new to exercise, I was always wondering – is this normal? Should I keep going? Am I going to mess something up?
Usually, as I began my run, I would just try to push through the pain and it would get better but I often wondered, am I really hurting something or is this normal?
Having to combine these two things has been challenging to say the least, but as I went on, I started to learn what was normal for me.
Learning to listen to your body is HARD, and it is super confusing and time consuming, at first.
Take it day by day, moment by moment and just like with eating, this can become natural to you too.
3. Thank goodness for headphones
Running long distances at a "slow-ish" pace can get... kind of boring! Music was KEY with the race because, honey, I needed all the motivation I could get!
However, as I was training, after the first mile or two, I found myself getting into a groove and could keep just going, but I just needed something to keep me company.
Headphones saved me! I listened to audiobooks (honorable mention: Superficial by Andy Cohen), podcasts (honorable mention: S-town) and allllll the music (too many to honorably mention).
So grateful for these little guys!
Speaking of boring - as soon as you go from outside running back to treadmill, it is SO different and was almost unbearable for me. I definitely am planning on taking full advantage of being outside as much as possible until it gets too cold out (or too hot!)
5. Finding motivation takes time
As a Registered Dietitian, I am constantly talking about the importance of exercise to my patient/clients. However, it took me a long time to find the motivation for myself to actually do it.
Finding motivation is different for everyone - and it is SO important to find an exercise that you like. I think sometimes people think that this concept is impossible (trust me, I was one of those people) but once you get into a routine, staying motivated becomes that much easier.
You can be like me and sign up for something to give you motivation…Do you want to run a 10miler too? Sign up for one! How about a 5k? Do you want to be able to lift a certain weight? Start with 5 pounds! As they say, Rome was not built in a day.