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Here’s What Training for a Half-Marathon Taught Me About Life

Here’s What Training for a Half-Marathon Taught Me About Life

I used to see packs of runners on the street early in the morning, zooming past as I yawned and lazily collected the morning paper. These runners always wore fancy workout gear, and they ran with such determination and vigour that you knew there was no stopping them. They made running look easy.

Somehow I ended up in a pack of runners this summer, when I decided to sign up for a running clinic and train for my first half-marathon.

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I hated running when I started. It hurt to start. It hurt to keep going. And it hurt the following day when my muscles were achy and sore. Running was a chore. And the final race distance of 13.1 miles made me tremble in my shoes.

I am now halfway through training, and my perspective has gradually shifted. Here’s what training for a half-marathon has taught me about life:

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1. When You are Moving, Progress is Inevitable

When I started out, my short runs seemed pointless. I kept thinking, “How will running 2.5 miles help me run 13.1 miles?” What I didn’t realize was that by getting myself moving, I was slowly training my body to handle the longer distances. It’s easy to feel like you’re not making any progress when you work on the little things. But you will be surprised by how far your ongoing actions get you. As they say, big goals start with small steps in the right direction.

2. It’s the Little Things that Matter

When I first started training, I completely underestimated the importance of the tiny details. Soon I learned that the more prepared I was for my run, the more enjoyable it was. It was the little things that made all the difference: double knotting my shoelaces, eating Greek yogurt for breakfast, listening to upbeat music, and stretching every day. There may be small things that you can do for yourself to make your goals easier to accomplish. It’s the minute details that really add up. What tiny things would make a difference for you?

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3. You’re All in it Together

When I signed up for the running clinic, I figured I would connect with a few people who were working towards the same goal. Little did I know just how much of a gift it would be to run with a group, week after week. When we met up for our runs, everyone added something, no matter their age, experience level or pace. There is a huge benefit to having a support system around you when you are working towards goals. There is an irreplaceable sense of comradery that grows when you connect with like-minded people. After making progress, a high-five from a friend can really make your day and give you the energy you need to keep pushing forward.

4. You’ve Got to Trust the Process

I had my doubts with the training schedule when I signed up for the running clinic. Despite knowing that hundreds of runners successfully completed the clinic race, I kept thinking, “Is this actually going to get me through the distance?” No matter what you are working towards, there are others who have been there before you. There are proven processes in place, and tried and tested strategies for success. Sometimes you have to take a step back from your worry and doubt, and put your faith in the process.

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5. Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Moment

I started out my training thinking, “Let’s just get this over with.” I soon realized that there was a lot to appreciate: The weather, the interesting people, the thrill of running, the exercise, and the sheer excitement of building towards an unbelievable goal. Instead of wishing we could just accomplish our goals overnight, and setting our sights on the finish line, it’s important to soak in the experience. Chances are, you will never have the same opportunity again. It’s up to you to find the fun in your goals.

6. It’s Not as Hard as You Think

Training for a half-marathon has not been as hard as I anticipated it would be. When I started out, all I could think about was the looming final distance, which seemed impossible to fathom. I didn’t realize how much stronger my body would get through training, and how much my confidence would increase in the weeks leading up to race day. Oftentimes, we underestimate our abilities. We get discouraged by the space between where we are and where we want to be. Yet if we start to shift what we think we are capable of, everything starts to change.

Featured photo credit: Young lady running on a rural road via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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