Baby Steps in Running Shoes: A Small Change Approach to Half Marathon Training

Woohoo! Time to break in some new running shoes because I just registered for my fifth half marathon! Suffolk ’17 here I come!

Some of you – especially my longtime readers – might already know my running story, but here’s the short version: At age 27, overweight and out of shape, I threw on my sneakers for the first time since high school and hit the pavement. It didn’t go well, to put it mildly, but I was determined. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app and some old school dance music, and I kept going. Nine weeks later I dragged my tired butt across the finish line of my first 5k. Fast forward two and a half years to my first half marathon! It was a journey – in fact, it was basically a crawl – but I wanted it for myself and I did it. Since then I’ve run one or two halfs a year to keep myself accountable. Due to a scheduling conflict and, you know, life, I couldn’t do one this spring. And if I wasn’t running one I sure as heck wasn’t training for one, which means I’m out of shape! I’m not starting from zero, but I’ve definitely got a long road ahead. Join me for fifteen weeks of training – I’ll share my schedule, my cross training (usually the best part), my meals, my feelings, my tears (kidding!.. mostly). If you have any questions/comments/tried-and-true tips along the way, please share them in the comments below. Let’s go!

Week One: Today is Sunday, my first week of training. According to my running plan, I’m supposed to get in three miles, two times. My biggest challenge when it comes to working out is, like many of you, fitting it in. Not just the workout but getting ready, getting my hair back to looking presentable – it’s a tough job! And making dinner, all in only a couple of hours. This week, to stay ahead of this challenge, I was careful to plan, prep and shop for all of my lunches and dinners so cooking isn’t as big of an issue. My boyfriend (who is doing this with me for his very first half!) and I, who usually go to the gym together, are going to start relaying it. So he’ll hit the gym first and then prep dinner while I do my workout. My plan is to do one run tomorrow, and the second one on Friday. Just to be clear, this is not my only activity during the week – I also walk twice a day for thirty minutes each. I also go to yoga when I can, but my goal during this process is to definitely make that yoga class a priority instead of a “when I can”.

Outcome: Two workouts done. Check!

Feeling: Pretty good! I admit, I had a moment of “eh, it’s my first week, I can slack off a little” but I powered through!

Cross training: Daily walks, twice a day for thirty minutes each – including walking the pup!

Power song: “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar f. Lucenzo

Weeks Two and Three: I figured I’d combine these two, since I’m still working out at the same level – three mile run, two times a week – and nothing much has changed. This morning when I started my run I could feel a noticeable change at the start – my muscles are clearly starting to wonder what’s up. Sometimes when my legs are tired I’m tempted to give up, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I know that tired feeling will go away after I power through the first mile. I’m also getting back into that “addicted to running” phase and feeling that runner’s high. Yesterday (a rest day) I was thinking, I’m feeling great, maybe I should squeeze in another run! But then I decided I have quite enough running to do in my near future and I should take it easy while I can 😉 Since this is a two-run week (next week I start doing three), I’m also going to try to take a yoga class this weekend.

Outcome: Still going strong! And getting stronger with every workout.

Feeling: The burn! It’s getting tougher, but I know that’s my muscles adjusting to the new routine.

Cross training: Walking the pup every night (and blogging with him, he’s sitting on my lap desperately trying to type for me) and walking every day at lunch time, too.

Power song: “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Line

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xx Kimberly

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