Got back yesterday from a fabulous weekend in Luckenbach, Tx. The weather was perfect, the camping was fun, and my boys did well in their Trial's Competition. I'll post all about it soon, but I need to upload some video and stuff first. [Besides, life in Luckenbach is slower paced and not conducive to a post about running. :)]
In the meantime, I figure I'd better finish the running info. that I promised...just in case anyone has been on the edge of their seats waiting for it. :)
I already gave you all my training secrets, but I've picked up some race-day secrets from some real runners that have been extremely helpful in actually finishing a race strong, and I thought it might be nice if I shared them with you!
First of all, when you begin training, sign up for a race that's a month or so away to give you motivation to keep training. A 5K is a good distance for your first race, and having that goal in mind when you train can be a huge asset.
Secondly, when you start the race, your adrenaline will be pumping, and you will tend to start the race at a quicker pace than you are used to running. This will tire you out too quickly and you may find that you have lost all your juice before the race is over. A trick I learned from a running trainer is to start with smaller steps than usual, and even a slightly slower pace than you are used to. He said it should almost feel uncomfortable, like you want to break out into a full run. If you have been training and find that you can run 2.0-2.5 miles, but just can't get to that 3rd mile mark, try this approach. Generally, if you run this way for the first .5-1.0 mile, and then move into your normal, comfortable gait, you will find that you still have energy to finish that 3.1 miles. (This is what I did before my first race and it worked. The first time I tried it, I ran the full 3.1 miles and I had power to run the last 100 yards or so, full out.) The mantra is, "It's better to finish strong, than to start strong and fizzle out."
And the third tip I got from reading Kristen Armstrong's running blog. She said that during one race, she decided to stop and walk when she was handed her cup of water along the route. She walked for just a minute or so as she drank the water, and then started running again. She said that it made a big difference in her ability to finish the race strong. (I believe she was running a 1/2 or full marathon at the time.)
Okay, so that's about all I've got on the running tips. Except that if you happen to be blessed enough to own or be able to buy an iPod Nano with Nike+, do it! I received one as a gift, and it has been the best thing EVER for my running. It keeps track of your distance, and times. It can be programmed for a certain distance, or a certain amount of time. It can upload all of the information to Nike.com and keep track of how far you've run, and what is your average pace, etc. It's a fabulous tool, and I wouldn't run without it now that I've run with it! I use it for walking days AND running days, and it is very accurate and a great tool to see my progress--or lack of progress--as the case has been lately! :)
If you've recently started a walking, jogging, or running program, leave me a comment and let me know how it's going and anything you've learned along the way that might be helpful to me as well. And if anyone is interested in a little walking/running challenge, let me know that as well. I've got some ideas running around in my head for a marathon in a month that anyone could do, and it might be fun if people wanted to join in! Leave me your ideas and let's see what we can put together.