I’ll admit it, I used to hate running. But now I have two full marathons under my belt and, believe it or not, I’m training for my third. I’ve learned that anything is possible if you really give it a try and stick with it. Here’s how I did it:
CREATE A PLAN AND STICK WITH IT
This applies to training for any distance, whether you’re planning to run a full marathon, a half marathon or a 5k. You can mentally commit to running a marathon but without the right training plan, you’re going to have a hard time. I’m very fortunate to have a run group in Los Angeles that provides a free training plan with set run schedules (BLACKLISTLA), but if you don’t have a run group in your area, fear not, it’s still possible to train well, you’ll just need to hold yourself accountable.
You can find many training plans online – just make sure to pick the one works for you. We all have busy schedules and sometimes it’s really hard to make it to every run, but you make time for what’s important to you. Whether you wake up earlier than usual or go out for a late night run, you have to make sure to stick with your plan. Training is a crucial part of running a marathon because you have to prepare your body to run 26.2 miles. So even when you’re tempted to, don’t let yourself skimp on training! Stick to the schedule you’ve chosen.
EAT RIGHT, SLEEP RIGHT, THINK RIGHT
I’ve completed two full marathons and I’m training for my third. Thanks to all my training, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do. I’ve found that it’s not just about a sticking to a healthy diet, it’s about consistency. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated (and have a hydration plan). These two practices help power you through your long runs. It’s okay to indulge in some delicious snacks here and there but for the most part, make sure to eat your veggies and stick with clean eating. You’ll definitely feel the difference on your runs. You’ll feel more energized because you’ve provided your body with the right fuel to keep it going.
Making sure you get enough sleep is also important. You don’t want to feel fatigued and have that be the cause of a “bad” run. Yes, “bad” runs WILL happen, but that’s a part of the process. If you can avoid them by catching a couple more Z’s, then why not? Lastly, make sure your mind is in the right place. Your mind is usually the first one that tells you to stop running because you’re tired – even when that’s really not the case. You have to convince yourself that you can keep pushing. Tell yourself that you ARE capable of completing the run. Your mind is the one that starts playing tricks on you but always remember what the end goal is. And remember, you have complete control of your thoughts. Make them positive ones.
HAVE FUN WITH IT
If running seems like a chore, then you’ll eventually start falling off. Consistency is a HUGE part of the process. Stay consistent with training, healthy eating and sleeping enough. Create a playlist with your favorite songs that help pump you up to run. Invite a friend to run with you to make it less “boring” – maybe you can convince them to run the race with you so you’ll have a training buddy. If you’re like me, new running clothes and shoes are great motivation to keep running. Find the sneakers that work best for you and if possible, try to rotate between 2-3 shoes on runs. Have an open mind and know that you can do anything!
xo, DIANA KAREN
(blog post was made for @roadrunnersports)