Training & Wellness — 31 August 2012
How Half Marathon Training and Diet Go Hand in Hand –  By Emily Anderson

Hello fellow running enthusiasts!  We are well over half way through training and I’d say that up until this weekend, I would give Bryan’s efforts a C- (he’s my husband, so I’m being generous here).  The training schedule that I designed for him was, what I thought, more than reasonable but he hasn’t been able to adhere to it.  Just like many of you who are reading this blog, the summers for us are busy, busy, busy.  The long runs on the weekend are so important, but they are time consuming and when you have plans to go here, there and everywhere, it’s not easy to squeeze in a one to two hour run.

That being said, this past weekend Bryan suddenly decided to get really serious about this race and proved he was tougher than I had originally thought.  Running is an extremely mental sport, so when you are preparing to go for a long run, you really have to pump yourself up for it.  Trust me, there is nothing more I’d rather do than sleep in until 10AM on a Sunday morning, but running early is the best thing – it’s worth jumping out of bed for.  Bryan actually woke ME up at 7AM this weekend, pushing ME out of bed. It is almost always the other way around.  He was all dressed and ready to go by the time I was able to pick my head off the pillow!  After each eating a quick yogurt, we were off.  Bryan had mapped our run a week prior and decided to run all over the city.  I have to admit, I was nervous for the run since Bryan had never gone this far before – I carried a water for him in fear of him passing out when we were 4.5 miles away from home.  I must say that Bryan did an amazing job.  It took us 1:21 to run 9.63 miles.  We maintained a very steady pace and finished the run without incident.  Bryan’s knees were really starting to bother him the last mile, but he pushed through the pain and finished.  Although he claims that he could not have gone any further than that today, next week we need to do an 11 mile run so, despite what he thinks, he will be finishing.

As I said before, running is such a mental sport.  No matter how fast or seasoned of a runner you are, we all have those days where we just want to give up.  Forcing yourself to finish a run does nothing but make you a stronger and better runner.  9, 10, 11 miles sound very daunting to most, but if you have someone to run with, or some good tunes on your iPod, you would be shocked at how quickly the run goes by and how enjoyable and therapeutic it is.  I know, it’s easy for me to say this since I love to run, but even Bryan, the non-distance runner, said that he felt really good about himself afterwards (that is after about 5 ibuprofen J ).

I think it’s important to note that your diet is another extremely important factor when it comes to working out.  People always talk about carbo-loading before a big race – I have never been sold on that theory.  I have always been very conscientious of my weight, so piling a huge mound of pasta on my plate scared me.  I think carbs are extremely important, but like everything, in moderation.  Granted, everyone’s body is different so what works for some people may not work for others, but I have always found that foods such as oatmeal, bananas, yogurt and peanut butter have always settled well in my stomach before a run.  I stay away from anything acidic such as orange juice or apples and also steer clear of caffeine – it dehydrates you!  Even if you claim that your body “needs” it just to get out of bed, beware…drinking Gatorade and water are the best beverage you can consume before going for a run.

We’ve got about 5 more weeks to go until the race.  It’s time to kick Bryan butt and training into high gear!

To review the first part of Emily and Bryan’s training, visit Emily’s previous blog entry.

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About the Author

Emily grew up in Shrewsbury, MA and has lived in Boston for the past 7 years. She started her running career as a senior at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst when she ran her first 1/2 marathon. After catching the running "bug" she spent several years running marathons, which included a personal best finish of a 3:05 in the 2007 Boston Marathon! She currently focuses her efforts on 5Ks and 5 mile races, running 5 miles a day, but looks forward to training again for another marathon in the next couple of years.

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