Why do I run marathons? I get asked that questions quite a bit and the answer is both simple and complicated. Running for me is one of my favorite pastimes and it is how I stay in shape, but you don’t have to run marathons to do that. There are actually a couple of reasons that I run marathons and I will try and explain them to you. These are the reasons why I choose to take on the big challenge of running 26 miles with a running workout app.
Training for a marathon gets me into peak physical condition like nothing else. You can make your heart stronger, strengthen your muscles and improve your overall health. Don’t discount the improvements to your mental health either, running helps with stress, makes you feel happier and the “runner’s high” you feel on regular basis is none too shabby either. Here is a look at what it is like to train for a marathon.
Sometimes I am lucky enough to combine the challenge of the run with helping a charity at the same time. If I am running anyway at least I can do some good for those who aren’t as lucky as I am. It also makes it harder to quit when someone else is relying on you.
There is a really strong running community that works and trains together for marathons. It is easier to accomplish your goals when working in a group. We welcome new runners and this is a chance to meet and make friends with people who share the same passion that you do. If you want to start training then reach out to a local running club, there are others there looking for running partners and you really get to know someone over a 26 mile run.
Running marathons is HARD! But there is nothing more rewarding than crossing that finish line knowing that you did it. All the sacrifice and hard work has paid off. If you ask me and others who run marathons they will compare finishing to other milestones in their life like childbirth, and their wedding day. Even if you finish the race dead last, you still finished it and that puts you in some pretty elite company.
Running is one of the most common exercises and people from all walks of life like to run. Running burns tons of calories, it’s nearly perfect for improving your cardio vascular health, and it strengthens your joints. The right shoes are vital to a healthy and successful run. If you head to your local athletic store there is a giant wall of shoes and picking the right ones can seem like a crap shoot. Let’s look at some of the mistakes that newbie runners make when buying shoes.
Looks aren’t everything
Fashion belongs on the runway and not the running track. Shoes that look good are great, but shoes that fit properly and support your foot and ankles are much better. Don’t get caught up in color and style rather go for something that won’t leave you with blistered or sore and irritated feet. There will still be lots of good looking shoes to choose from.
The right fit
You definitely don’t want shoes that are too tight on your foot, it can lead to some pretty horrible issues like blisters or black toenails. You may want tighter fitting shoes for everyday normal activities but not for running, then you want your shoes to be a bit looser. You want a little extra space in the front to make sure your feet are not getting squished. Leave roughly half an inch in the toes for the most comfortable run.
Replace your shoes regularly
A good pair of running shoes will last awhile but not forever. You will get somewhere in the 300-500 mile range before your shoes start breaking down. Don’t be stubborn and try and wear your running shoes until they are completely worn out. That’s when you start getting sore feet and yes you can get blisters from old sneakers. You may also start to notice the soles wearing unevenly or the insoles getting lumpy, then it is time to trade them in.
When to buy shoes
Yes the time of day that you try on shoes actually does matter. Your feet swell throughout the day, it is not much and you have probably never noticed it. However it will make a difference when it comes to getting properly fitting sneakers. So head to the running store after work instead of first thing on a Saturday morning, that’s when you will find the best fit.
If you are thinking about taking up running because you might be a little overweight or you want to get in shape and maybe running can help with that. You’re right, running can help with all of that. How to start running, what are you going to need? Let’s look at how you start running before your feet hit the pavement.
If you think that any old pair of sneakers will do to start running, you would be wrong. You are going to need either running shoes or cross trainers, tennis or football shoes aren’t going to work. Running shoes are meant to be lighter while still giving you the right kind of protection. Hitting the pavement with each stride affects your feet and all of your joints. The right shoes can mean the difference between being injured or not.
Stretching after each run
Beginners are often tempted to stretch before their run but in fact that can cause injury if you haven’t warmed up yet. Research has shown that stretching at the end of your run reduces pain and injuries. It will also help improve your flexibility and prevent the buildup of lactic acid. Here are some stretches to do after your run.
You might have been able to run a 6 minute mile easily in high school it doesn’t mean you can still do it 20 years later. Pace yourself, if you can’t speak because you are running too hard, then you need to slow down. If you try and run too far too fast that’s a recipe for an injury and then you won’t be able to run at all. If you are starting out then do a combination of running and walking.
Pay Attention to Your Body
When you are running should you feel the need to stop and walk for a bit, then do so. Listening and paying attention to your body will help you maintain a long term running program. If you push yourself beyond your capabilities then you could end up hurting yourself and giving up. When you experience pain in your lower back or legs, or your lungs feel like they are about to give out then take a rest. Once you feel better then you can start running again.
You are going to need to keep hydrated so drink plenty of fluids. You can drink water or sports drinks that contain vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated will keep your joints supple and lubricated.
To keep with the running analogies it really is a marathon and not sprint. You want running to become a habit, a lifelong habit that’s going to keep you healthy.