I was always very fond of running, but never that good at it. I would just run around the dance studio a few times to warm up before class. When I moved to LA, I started training at Barry’s Bootcamp (treadmill & HIIT workouts), and if you know Barry’s, you KNOW running. I slowly started to get better at running without even realizing it. My speed on the treadmill got higher, my sprints became easier, and I didn’t need as much recovery time as I used to. I remember the day I could comfortably run at the speed I first sprinted at- dreams. Anyway, when I moved to New York I still trained at Barry’s but began to make use of Central Park. My first run in NYC was with my dad in Central Park, we went around the Reservoir and had so much fun. Now here’s a fun story: I was waiting for a certain someone to text me to solidify plans for that night. After texting and not hearing from him, I went to Central Park and ran 5 miles. 5 MILES (can you tell I was upset?!)
I began to get really into the whole NYC running scene, especially because everyone at Barry’s was always racing and hitting PR’s- I wanted in on the fun. So, when I saw sign-ups for the Frozen Penguin 5K at Riverside Park, I put my name on the list. I used Central Park to “train”. And by “train” I mean going for runs as fast as I could with no clear plan. But, it worked? I ran the 5k in 25 minutes. So, then I thought- what next? How can I create a training plan that doesn’t involve running as fast as possible? When COVID first started, the only time I went outside was to run (besides the grocery), so I spent a lot of time running. I began following a training program that took me to my Half Marathon. Below are some of the tips and tricks on how I did it. Now, I am not a certified run coach- I just want to share with you all that it’s possible to do it by yourself. If you’re interested in more info, or hiring a run coach, check out my Chat with Amanda Asaro (aka the running QUEEN).
Food is FUEL. But what food works for you, may not work for everyone. For me, I loved to run on an empty stomach, but as I started covering more miles, I needed some extra fuel. My stomach is already so sensitive, I had to really figure out what foods worked best for me. For me, simple plain foods are the best. My go-to pre-running meal changes, but right now it’s toast and peanut butter- classic. Also, keep in mind the meal you eat the night before. You want to make sure it’s something that won’t leave you feeling sluggish/bloated in the morning. Here’s my favorite recovery drink.
I used the Nike Run Club Training App to get me to my Half Marathon. You’ll get a weekly schedule of all different types of runs, along with audio recordings of their run coaches. This is great because you don’t need to worry about checking your watch, or when to start and stop during speed runs. You’ll get 5 runs per week. DO NOT stress or beat yourself up if you miss one. I can confidently tell you that I definitely did not hit all 5 per week and still succeeded.
My FitBit Versa 2 is my lifesaver on my runs. I just press start and don’t have to worry about anything else. My pace, distance, and time are all easily readable, and the watch vibrates after every mile. This is great because you don’t have to keep checking your watch, you’ll want to save as much energy as possible on your runs. Also, syncing your data to the Fitbit app helps you analyze your runs and keeps track of your improvement for you.
When you’re running alone, YOU are your own motivation. You mind has to be stronger than your body. You need to remember to take deep breathes and lead with your heart, your legs will follow. On the days you don’t feel like running, you need to make the commitment to yourself that you will still get out there and do it. That way, you’re training your body to adapt to any situation. What if you wake up tired on race day? If you’ve been training even when you don’t feel like it, you’ll be fine. Obviously, if you’re injured, please don’t run. We don’t need you making any injuries worse by trying to push through! I encourage you to think of the performance aspect of running, instead of how many calories you burn/ the way your body looks. When you are focused on your times and pace, you get excited about all the cool things your body can do for you. You push yourself because you want to improve, not because you want to run off breakfast. When you’re having a low energy day, take it slow. But, remember your WHY. Why did you start running? Visualize yourself crossing a finish line, or accomplishing a goal you’ve been working on, I promise you that it will give you the little boost of energy you need finish your run.