April 4, 2010

Running at 30,000 ft.

The other day as I tweeted about my Marathon training runs again (it has been a large part of my tweets lately) I noticed a lot of other tweets going on, mainly between my fellow Flight Attendants, about shoes, running, motivation, 5K's... I was very excited to see all of this because I could join in and try and help others with the little amount I know! Running on the road is very hard sometimes and as I headed out for another 7 miler I thought it was time I posted a blog post about this subject.

So... you want to run and you travel for work too? We'll here is my advice on how I got started and found a routine that has brought me through 1 mile, 5K, a half marathon and soon my First Full Marathon. :) I am in no way an expert but I think I have done a really good job at trying to balance my life and want to help out anyone else I can.

Lets get one thing out of the way first-I started running because I was really afraid of gaining weight as a Flight Attendant. With unpredictable hours and hotel/fast/airport food at every turn I wanted some sort of exercise routine to help battle this fight. I've found that I really do enjoy running and yoga so these are things I continue to do now. (I through weights in there too but it is really more of a chore for me)

1.) How to start running.
When I decided I wanted to start to run again- it took one afternoon run of just 5 minutes to completely discourage me. I was 25 and got tired and bored after only a few minutes around the park by my condo. I ended up walking for 1/2 an hour trying to decide if this was really something I wanted to try and do. I did. So I got online and found a podcast (which are FREE) on itunes to help me.
It's called Couch to 5K- Podcasts for Running. It is by a man named Robert.
There are 2 of these on there now. Roberts has music to it, the other doesn't. I put it on my ipod and had it with me at home and on the road.
Basically, it is a nine week program. Robert guides you through each run, each week, telling you when to warm up, cool down, when to walk and when to run. You build up to running for 30 minutes straight. This is what I used and I really enjoyed it. The music isn't the best but I loved having someone tell me what to do and seeing improvement each run. It got easier to run longer than 5 minutes and before I knew it I was running 1, 2 and 3 miles on my own.

2.) Find your happy place
Once I started running, I decided that I wanted to run 3 times a week. I would run 3 miles twice a week and built up to 5 miles on the other day. Some weeks were good, some were not so good. The best thing for me was to try and get as close to a schedule as possible. Run X amount on Tuesdays, Y amount on Thursdays and one longer run on the weekends. I still use this in my Marathon training (even though there are more runs) but I use it as a guide. I don't push it if I do not feel good and I adjust my distance if I need to (but only if I need to, lack of motivation is not a reason to skip). Also, I try not to feel bad or beat myself up if I miss a run... the point is it should make you feel good physically and relieve some emotional stress and baggage, not cause more. Running is not a fit for everyone though, I have learned I love it (most runs) but it does take me about a mile before I get into my running groove.

3.) Once you get some miles under your belt, sign up for a RACE!
This was the turning point for me. (There are loads of 5K's all over the place, all year long) Races aren't only about who finishes first. I use them to push myself but I also like to take in the atmosphere at races. There are no teams or sides, there are no losers (although there are winners and I think it is every person who crosses a finish line wins). Strangers hand you water with a smile, Strangers cheer you on, Runners cheer for each other, encourage each other and push each other to go farther and faster. It is one big run full of love and when I run in races, I take it all in and it fills my heart until I am smiling through every mile and every blister. I am certain even if you don't love running, you will love the races.

Some helpful hints I learned along the way-
-Water is sufficent for runs under 45 minutes. (Gatorade has calories, goal is to loose weight)
-Find some music that pumps you up. When I slack Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas get me through hard runs.
-Make sure to warm up with a few stretches and at least 5 minutes of walking before you run AND make sure to really stretch your legs after your run. I also walk before I stretch to let my body get back to a normal temperature. (This really helps to minimize soreness)
-If you are sore after a walk or run- a frozen bag of peas wrapped in a towel is heaven and I live on Icy Hot. Massage it into legs, feet and hips for ultimate relief!
-Make sure you run in running shoes. There are stores that will pick out shoes for your feet and you test them running on treadmills to make sure you are running properly in them. (If you start to run alot, make sure you protect your feet w/ proper footwear!)
-I frequent runnersworld.com for answers to questions, training programs and nutrition tidbits.
-I love running outside especially in parks, make sure to put on an SPF even on cloudy days.
-Remember it shouldn't be easy But that is what makes it feel so rewarding when you get through it!


calidreaminp said...

Love this!! Thanks for sharing what you have learned and how to get started!!!

Skywaitress said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm one of the beginning runners and I'm excited how much easier it's getting already. I completed week one so we'll see how it goes. Good to know there's support out there :)

Christina Baita said...

This sounds so great that it almost makes me think that I can do it. If only my knee didn't swell at the thought of running even though I keep trying.