Kara Goucher: Running

“Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. The best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.”

~Kara Goucher

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Hal Higdon: Running

This is Hal Higdon, marathoner extraordinaire,...

This is Hal Higdon, marathoner extraordinaire, at the Chicago Marathon Expo. I always use his training programs when preparing for a marathon, and I think actually most beginning marathoners use his training programs. Thanks, Hal! . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.

Hal Higdon, runner and author 

Running My First Half Marathon

IVS Half Marathon

IVS Half Marathon (Photo credit: midwestnerd)

 

STANDING IN A CROWD of almost 4,000 runners, I shook my legs, hopped in place, and bit back waves of panic. That’s what everyone says you’re supposed to do with panic–bite it. You wallow in praise, cool your temper, gird your strength, but panic extrudes like doughy ropes from invisible portals that you have to nip off with your front teeth before they engulf you in giant debilitating wads. It was a few minutes before 8:30 a.m., and I was about to attempt the first 13.1-mile run of my life. While strangers on all sides bumped lightly against my shoulders, I lifted my head and closed my eyes and tried to picture the finish line–visualize the finish line, that is. You bite panic and you visualize finish lines. If you can. Though I had visited and looked it over less than 12 hours prior, in the moments before the race I could barely recall what it looked like. Then I remembered we were promised an arch with fire at the end of the course. Fire I could visualize. And so I thought with a starry burst of excitement–I’ll run until I go through the fire.

 

Talkers talk and walkers walk. Although walkers occasionally talk, talkers almost never walk, and they certainly don’t run half-marathons. After almost four years of consistent running, I had become a talker. In a wild week of random optimism, I’d impulsively announced in the pages of this magazine and to almost everyone I knew that I was ready to tackle a half-marathon. Before you’ve ever run or even begun training for a half, it’s easy to talk about “tackling” one. Inevitably, you realize both real and metaphorical tackling of any kind are thoroughly useless. You realize early on that you must run a half-marathon plain and true, leave the helmet at home and tackle nothing. (Bite panic, visualize finish lines, run half-marathons.) When people asked what half I planned on doing, I’d tell them it wasn’t important which one I chose. Important was that I’d finally decided to talk about tackling one.

 

Continue reading on Runner’s World…

 

 

How Stress Can Help and Hurt Running

For 17 years, running was Neil McDonagh’s life: His high school career led to a scholarship at Georgia Tech, where he hit times like a 4:04 mile. Postcollege, he earned up to $8,000 annually in prize money from road races, which complemented his job coaching cross-country at the University of West Florida.

The problem was he was almost always stressed, losing sleep weeks before a race, wondering if he was on the right training plan. Finally, in 2009, after training his hardest and still struggling to race well, he acknowledged to himself: This is not fun.

McDonagh took three months off. When he hit the road again, it was with no watch, no goal. And the strangest thing happened. He found himself happy, euphoric even. McDonagh kept running for pleasure, and after six months of feeling like a blissed-out mystic, he ran a half-marathon in Mobile, Alabama, without a watch or race strategy. The result? He set a two-minute PR and broke the course record with a time of 1:08:47, winning the race by more than nine minutes.

Many experts say not all stress is bad–it can sometimes boost performance. Yet McDonagh’s experience illustrates how running can thrive when it’s free of pressure and anxiety. The trick is to find a happy middle ground.

Continue reading on Runner’s World…

 

 

 

Kara Goucher: Running

Kara Goucher at the 2009 Boston Marathon.

Kara Goucher at the 2009 Boston Marathon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. For me it’s not so much about the health benefits. Those are great, but I believe that the best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.

Kara Goucher

Cool Running!

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Ha...

Image via Wikipedia

After doing the 6 km run this year, I will attempt the 21 kms next year, i.e. Jan 2011.

I have located a few web-sites on running that give tips and schedules as how to prepare for both a marathon and a half-marathon. All said, running a marathon or a half-marathon is about endurance. It does not matter how much you run but how long you run! The longer the better!

Of course distance counts but if you are a  beginner, like me, then you should not concentrate on the distance and/or speed but focus on increasing the time spent running i.e. running non-stop. You can of course, choose to fortify yourself with water and small snacks. Hydration is very , very important. Carry a water bottle with you especially for the longer runs.

Some interesting sites to look at:

http://www.marathontraining.com

http://coolrunning.com

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/hydration-key-to-exercise-success

http://www.halfmarathons.net

and of course

the Mumbai Marathon web-site

http://www.mumbaimarathon.indiatimes.com/

As for myself, I will be training by running 3 times a week, supplemented by cycling 2 times a week (to reduce the wear and tear on my knees) and some light weight-training! Bulking up is out – makes it harder to run!

You can find a program to follow on the web-sites listed or use them to create one tailored for yourself!

Also, do not try to be rigid about your running schedule. Listen to your body! Rest when your body tells you to! Also, start early, so that you can compensate for slippages. Or sick time. Ensure that you have good running shoes. Change them as needed.

Do check with your physician before starting any vigorous physical exercise! Start slow, be steady! Don’t rush where angels fear to tread!

Have a great day!

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