Next weekend, my sister Betsy and I are running the Door County Half Marathon! This will be my sister’s second half marathon (read about her first HERE). This race looks a little challenging (hi hills), but the weather and views will be on point, so it should be a good time.
Anyways, since she only recently started running and is new(ish) to the racing scene, I thought it would be fun to share her perspective as a beginner runner with some thoughts from her most recent training cycle. So, here you go!
What made you decide to start running?
A few years ago, I decided to start running as a way to lose weight. At the time, I had not run in years, so I had to start out slow. I remember starting out running telephone poles. Run one, walk one. Then over time, I started to increase my distance.
This is your second half marathon that you’re training for — how is this training cycle different than the first one?
Many things are different from my first training cycle. My biggest difference is my weight. This time I am running with 15 less pounds, which I believe has made a big difference.
Prior to training for the Door County Half I had six months of strength training under my belt in addition eating a lot healthier. At the time, I was following Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix program. Going into this training I felt a lot stronger, which helped with my confidence in knowing that I could get the miles in.
I am also at a point in my life where it is easier to leave the house to go running. My kids are older and they are busy with their own activities so I feel a lot less guilt by putting myself first for a few hours a week.
What have you loved about training this time around? What have you disliked?
The training this time around I have loved the support system that I have around me. I have being doing my training with my cousin, Tina. Having someone else depend on you to show up for the runs makes a difference. There is no skipping because someone else is depending you to show up. Those nasty head games? They can’t appear as much because it is embarrassing to ask the person next to you “Let’s walk for a while because I don’t want to run.” The runs go a lot faster when you have conversation to get you through it.
I have loved my training plan. It is important to get the miles in, but on my training plan I also have the goal pace assigned. When I trained for my first half I had a few rounds of shin splints and hard a hard time shaking them.
I know now the paces I was running was a contributor. I did not understand pacing, did not have the tools to track it, and at the time focused a lot on “everyone else is doing 8-minute miles, I need to get to that too.” I am not the fastest runner, but I am out there running and I am focusing on a pace that matches to my body. I have learned to enjoy the easy runs, and use it as a great stress reliever to just enjoy nature around me rather than how fast I am doing it.
Honestly, I dislike my Tuesday runs. Interval training is hard; running 800m fast is hard. However, there is a reason it is on the plan and in the end, I know it will help me become a better runner. However, seeing the fast time pace makes up for the hatred you feel for running while you are doing it.
How has your eating changed since you started training for the half marathon?
When I trained for my first half I did not do anything to alter my eating. I still ate the same, and always wondered why the weight would not come off with the running I was doing. My eating is completely different this time around, where I still follow the 21-Day Fix guidelines by eating clean and portioning my food.
What do you know now about running/training that you wish you knew when you first started training?
For me running as a way to lose weight did not work. I have learned that you cannot go run a few miles and expect to shed the pounds. The weight will come off in the kitchen, not on the road. This training cycle I am running to continue my healthier me. Now that I am not running for weight loss, it seems that I am able to enjoy the sport a lot more. I do not have the pressure of losing weight because of running.
What are your goals on race day?
My goal is to PR with a time of 2:15. The Door County Half has many hills so I do not want to be unrealistic with my time. Peninsula State Park is my favorite in the state so most of all I am just going to take in all of the beauty around me once I make it to the top of the park.
What advice do you have for a beginner runner who is just starting?
Start out slow and do not expect to get the miles in that everyone else is so easily. It took months; I could even say years, before I could say, “I just ran 3 today.”
After all of the training I have done the first mile is still the worst. I had many runs over this past winter where my legs hurt, my hands felt like there were going to fall off, I was shivering, but once I got past that first mile your body adjusts and realizes what you are doing to it.
Continue with your training and never give up after a mile, that first mile for some reason is there to stop you, you just need to be strong enough to not listen.
Any questions for Betsy? More importantly —> any advice for her second half?
How long have you been running? What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned over the years?
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