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Reader Request: My First Training Plan

January 20, 2011

Have you entered my Lara Bar giveaway yet? The jokes in the comments are cracking me up!

Unfortunately I have to attend my Great Aunt’s funeral this morning, so I thought I’d leave you with another reader’s request. Enjoy!



Another reader question I received in my Ask Me Anything post was what my training plan was like when I first started running. I began running the day before Thanksgiving in 2009 and ran my first half marathon in April of 2010. So I basically started my running career by training for a race. I HIGHLY recommend signing up for a race if you want to get into running (although maybe a 5K or 10K is a more reasonable start). It will give you a goal to work for!

I got my first training schedule from the race website and the link is here.

But don’t get me wrong, it was HARD to train for that half marathon! I was in decent cardiovascular shape, but running is a totally different ball game than the elliptical or even spinning. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit, but the following things helped me push through:

1. A Garmin. I had read about these on blogs and got one for Christmas. Especially for race training, a Garmin will become your best friend. It keeps track of your distance so you don’t have to worry about finding a route. It tells you your pace so you know if you need to pick it up or take it easy. It can also do fancy things like plug into your computer and generate reports, but I don’t use that stuff. Basically, it allows you to compete with and challenge yourself.


Garmin 405



2. Knowing the difference between being physically tired and bored. Running can be boring. It still is for me, even when I have a great play list or TV shows to watch. But when I feel like quitting I have to ask myself “Am I physically tired? Are my legs hurting and will I hurt myself if I keep going? Or am I just bored?” Most often I’m just sick of running but my body feels fine. If this is the case, push through! Try to take your mind of things by looking at beautiful scenery, imagining about perfect vacation, or dreaming up what delicious meal you’re going to have when you get back. Eventually the run will be over and you’ll be SO GLAD you didn’t stop early!

**note — running a loop route or an out and back is good for this. You have to get home somehow and running is the quickest way!**


3. Mantras. They seem ridiculous, but saying “If you can, you must” or “You are so much stronger than you think” is super helpful to me. And on every single run I do, I love having only 3 miles left so I can think “less than a 5k! less than a 5k!”


4. Treat your body properly! I know that I need energy to run, so I always made sure to get some oats and almond butter in me before any long runs. Everyone’s stomachs are different, but if you aren’t fueled properly you’re setting yourself up for failure. Same goes for getting enough sleep. You can’t expect to have a great run if you’re exhausted.

My go to pre-run fuel


5. A running buddy! My best friend LB and I were both training for the same half marathon, and knowing she’d be checking in to see how my training went held me accountable. If she was going to get in that 8 mile run, I sure was too!

LB & Me before the SLTC Half

6. START SLOW. None said you had to run 8, 9, or 10 minute miles. I often started out way too fast, wore myself out, and would have to stop way too soon. So don’t pressure yourself to be fast right away! Just take it slow and find your natural pace. You can always pick up the speed at the end. Negative splits are great anyway!

(I really want to recommend WALKING as it is a great method for runners new and old, but I don’t want to suggest something I didn’t do myself. I’m silly and thought walking meant failure, so I never let myself. But I should have! It would have made running much more pleasant and is a perfectly acceptable way to get into running longer distances.)

I know that you can read over and over about how to start running and think “it is just NOT that easy!”  And I know. I was NOT a runner. I would run for 4 minutes and give up. I remember looking over at the girl on the treadmill next to me and see 4 miles on the screen and think “How in the world does she do that!?” Even months into training, I remember wanting to literally die after my first 6 mile run. I was so proud because it was HARD.

But throughout my training I took all of the advice I just gave you and am somehow now training for a full marathon. I NEVER thought I would be that girl! I think the biggest reason I got to this point is that I just DIDN’T STOP. I wouldn’t let myself. I had a set distance in mind, I knew I could make it and I wasn’t going to talk myself out of it! If I can do it, you can too! Just be nice to yourself and ease into it! And DON’T GIVE UP. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think!

Lovin life during my first half marathon

For more great tips on getting into running, check out these other blog posts and articles:

  • What are YOUR best tips for becoming a “runner”?
5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 12:18 pm

    When you start, go as slow pace-wise as you need to. I’ve talked to people who felt like their pace was just a little quicker than a walk, and I always say, “That’s fine!” Start there and build up your speed. It’s a process.

    Great post!

  2. January 20, 2011 2:07 pm

    Great tips!!

    I love your blog girl 🙂 it’s grown so much!!!!

  3. Kim permalink
    January 20, 2011 2:45 pm

    haha i love that last pic! I don’t remember if I was the one who took it or not but I’m pretty sure you were around mile 10 & still had a smile on your face =)

  4. January 20, 2011 5:53 pm

    Great tips! Definitely agree with the mantra-point too!

  5. January 20, 2011 8:52 pm

    hahah my favorite part about this whole post of the picture of you running the half. YOU LOOK SO HAPPY i love it 😀

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