Thursday, August 2, 2012

And We're Off!

Training for the ING New York City Marathon is officially underway, and I’m already doing my best to make sure I don’t burn out before November 4th. After several delays in kick-starting my running regimen (including a sinus infection, sprained ankle, and debilitating heat), I think I’ve finally settled in to the mindset that I have a goal to achieve and now is the time to start working toward that goal.

The biggest necessity when training for a marathon, or race of any distance for that matter, is having a support system that not only enables you to undertake a task of such magnitude, but also one that encourages you to push on in spite of the challenges that try to get in your way. In my case, the biggest challenges I face on a regular basis are the sweltering New Orleans temperatures and my own laziness. As a result, I’ve implemented some failsafe mechanisms to make sure training stays on track through the months where motivation may be lagging.

1) A fellow CYJ blogger, co-worker, and music connoisseur has started a “Fit Challenge.” It’s basically a several month program where my coworkers along with a few outside participants meet up on specified days of the week at specified times to do group athletic activities. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays (see below) are dedicated to group runs where Saturday mornings and various other times are for strength and cross training. So far we’ve done several 2-mile runs on St. Charles Avenue, and I’ve tacked on extra mileage to the front and back ends of the scheduled run to meet training requirements. Getting me out in the heat is the most difficult part of schedule, so once coworkers drag me out there I am good to go.

2) Nothing encourages me more than a need for me to be encouraging to someone else. Case in point, I have a coworker who wants to train for the Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans at the end of October. She runs casually on a treadmill, but wants to ramp up to do this race. I’ve convinced her to agree to start running with me after work. The distance is dictated by her training schedule, the pace is what she’s comfortable with. In our first runs together, we’ve logged 4 miles per-run at a pace of around 10 minute miles. This is pretty impressive for someone who’s not used to running streetcar tracks or outside in the current conditions. I am actually looking forward to our training together so I can see her progress and then get to run the race with her come October. This will also keep me very active and training consistently. Accountability ... A lot can be said for just a little.

3) Sunday Runday New Orleans. Yes, we have finally expanded the fun to the GNO.  What CYJ groupies in BR have known about for quite some time has come to the Big Easy. Sunday nights in Audubon Park, there’s a group run starting at 6:30pm. You can do planned paths of 3 miles, 6 miles, or whatever fits your training schedule. This set date, time, and location keeps me obligated to get a weekend run in when I’m feeling lethargic and trying to enjoy my two days a week off. Plus, the company is fun and keeps it entertaining. Oh, and did I mention ice pops, watermelon, or other sugary treats provided post workout? (Rumor has it that there will be cupcakes for someone’s birthday very soon.)

Finally, I’ll be keeping you abreast of my training off and on with my blog here at CYJ. Knowing that there’s tens of dozens of readers looking on from a distance will serve as great encouragement to keep going. I’ll also hope to get some feedback in the comments below about what races you’re training for and what keeps you motivated as running season approaches.