Monday, January 9, 2012

Marathon Motivation

It's that time of year again in Houston and I am running the Aramco Half Marathon this coming Sunday, January 15.  It will be my third time to run and I am every bit as excited as I was the first time.  The event is so exciting, inspiring and I always finish wth a huge sense of accomplishment. 

I had to skip last year's event because I had my little Sloaney Bear in my belly.  This year will make 4 years that I started running as a way to burn fat and get my booty in shape.  Prior to my first half I was never a runner, but I found myself at an interesting point in my life with time and a body that wasn't the same after baby.  So I decided to give running a try and I am addicted. 

When I started, I knew if I was really going to go for something big like 13.25 miles I needed the right gear.  Here are my must-have tools to becoming an avid runner.  I can't stress enough how important these tools are to keeping yourself motivated.  So please don't cheat yourself.  If you start out with an inexpensive $40 pair of running shoes, some daisy dukes and unrealistic goals you will give it up.  Gauranteed.  For what it's worth here's what works for me.

Running Shoes
I mean the real deal $100 plus running shoes.  I recommend you visit a true running store where someone can analize your gate and foot.  A great pair of running shoes are expensive for a reason.  Don't think you can save your self $50 or $60 and you won't notice the difference.  You will.  And you have to get running shoes, not crosstrainers, not aerobic and not tennis shoes.  Personally I like the Ascis Gel Nimbus

Run Wear
Find yourself a comfortable running outfit that won't ride up or rub in certain areas.  When you start running long distances you'll notice right away when the tag of your pants or shorts is suddenly irritating the heck out of your skin.  You also don't want to be self conscious or tugging at your clothes the entire time you are exercising.

 Ladies, find a great running bra.  This is one of the number one complaints I hear from friends, "I can't stand to have my boobs bouncing all over the place."  I say, double bag the produce.  I have been known to wear two running bras if needed.  If you are a large breasted woman, you want them pulled in and tight, if not you could end up with back and shoulder pains later. 

Shorts or pants, tees or tanks it doesn't really matter just as long as you are comfortable.  I have a huge selection of running clothes from Target.  I just recently discovered Lululemon and I am a diehard fan.  The running crops are phenonminal and worth every penny you'll pay for them.  Nothing jiggles when you run and you could bounce a quarter off your bum they fit so go. 

I have these

Run:Inspire Crop II

and these

Run:Back On Track Crop

I am also enjoying this running jacket and the super soft Swiftly tee when the weather is cooler.

Run: Essential Jacket
Run:Swiftly Tech SS

Music Motivation
If you want to start running and you don't have some sort of MP3 Player, go buy one now.  Music can be extremely motivating on a run.  I change up my play list reguraly and always have a variety of songs on hand to keep me moving.  It can also help to clear your head of anything that's distracting. 

I recently discover this cool site called Rock My Run through Pinterest and I am constantly downloading new music and it's free.  Even better. 

Technological Support
Both of my next two items came out of necessity when running took over as my main form of exercise.  First, the Polar Heart Rate and Calorie Monitor.  I needed this when I was running pregnant and had to keep my heart rate below 140.  But now I use it all the time to track how many calories I burn.  It's fun to see if you are actually working off that bag of Shipley's donut holes you had for breakfast or the fajita dinner the night before. 

Polar FT40 F Heart Rate Monitor, White

Next is my new favorite introduced to me by my friends, Amber and Lynn.  It's the RunMeter App and it rocks.  It's so dang cool even my hubby is hooked.  It tracks your distance, pace, maps out your routes and elevations and it's all done via GPS on your phone.  So darn cool you should try it.  This is helpful when I just want to run and not have to hope in my car and map out my route via my car's odometer.  Lame I know, but that's what I had to do before RunMeter.

Be Realistic
Lastly, I add this as a tool because it's so important and probably the most critical piece of advice I can share with you.  Have realistic goals.  If you are not a runner and want to give it a shot don't expect to head out your first day and crank out 3 miles.  You'll only dissapoint yourself.  Work your way up to a safe and healthy training schedule.  When I first started running after one mile I was spent.  I mean beat red in the face, sweating profusely and gasping for air. But hey, I ran a mile and for me that was a good start.  Each week I would push myself just a bit to increase my distance, but I did it slowly.  When I reached 3 miles I celebrated big time.  I think it involved margaritas or some form of alchol.

If you want to strive for something like a 10K or half marathon or even a full marathon give yourself plenty of time to train.  For my first half I trained for 10 months.  When the time came I was so worried I wasn't going to be ready, but I rocked it ;) 

Always listen to your body.  There are many days I'll head out for a run and have in my head I am going to run 6 or 7 miles and after 2 or 3 I have to turn home.  For whatever reason I just don't have it in me that day and that's okay because you never want to push yourself too far.  An injury can set you way back or stop you all together.  If my knee is sore or my ankle is tender from a long run I take a few days off and give my body a rest.

I hope this helps some of you with your new years resolutions or motivates you to give running a try.  This is what works for me; a mother of two approaching 40.  Eeek. 

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