Some of you may know that I’m a marathon enthusiast. Running for a cause has helped me raise money for special causes. I am dedicating this post to the many of you who have asked me over the year for my training tips. Now, this is what has worked for me, so this might not work for everyone. It’s all about trial and error and finding that perfect routine that makes you feel healthy and happy.
Low Impact Activities
When I first started dabbling with the notion of running a half-marathon, I was dubious I would make it to the finish line seeing that I had back problems from my wrestling college days. I started with swimming as a way to get myself back into shape. With this low-impact exercise I was able to get my heart pumping and my knees were happy that I wasn’t pounding on the treadmill.
This went very well for a month, waking up at 5:30 am and hitting the swimming pool by 6 am for my hourly swim each morning before going into work. It was going swimmingly, no pun intended, until I started noticing that whenever I would sweat I would smell like chlorine. At first I thought it was just me having a heighten sense of smell due to my new found fitness. However, my wife started to take notice as well and brought it up very nicely over dinner one night.
I started looking into alternative low impact sports. Living in Miami, I decided to give the ocean a go. It’s nice and warm most of the year and sharks attacks are not too common. Although I did have an irrational fear of sharks, I decided to give it a go. This was a great choice and a more challenging work-out but my fear of sharks kept looming in the back of my mind. So I decided to look into other low impact activities that got me moving on land. Cue in StreetStrider, an ingenious outdoor elliptical bike! This mobile elliptical bike got me going. It was a great complimentary workout to my ocean swims. Both were low impact and allowed me to strengthen my back and leg muscles in an extraordinary way.
Once I felt like I was in almost the same shape as I was during my college days, I gave running a go. I was confident that my knees wouldn’t give out. However, to be sure, and on the insistence of my wife, I went to see my general doctor for advice. She told me that I was in great shape and to take it step-by-step. The key factor to achieving a full-marathon (by this point I was set on a complete marathon as opposed to a half-marathon) was to listen to my body and to train in a smart way.
I told her all about my new machine, the StreetStrider, and she chuckled at the thought that I was taking this seriously. After all, I had always pondered out loud if I would ever run a full marathon during my yearly appointment and I would laugh it off. She saw my determination and even told me of a couple marathons she had participated in the past.
My First Half-Marathon
Although I was set on a full marathon, I knew it was wiser to do a half-marathon prior to joining the big leagues. After all, Icarus flew too close to the sun and failed miserably. I wasn’t about to be an Icarus. I was about to be Nike, running to victory. I quickly did some research and found a half-marathon 1.5 months away. I signed up that same day and the count down began.
Dipping my toes into the half-marathon was a great experience. Although it was an incredible physical feat that did leave me quite sore and aching, I could not get enough. I made some fun friends at the half-marathon that mentioned a full-marathon that was coming up in the next couple of months. I gave them a ring and they emailed me the link to the next marathon for a cause, plus an invite to their Facebook group. Joining the group was a great way to meet an interesting and diverse group of people who had the same goal in mind, crossing that finish line.
Incredible Support Group
Having a support group was another turning point in my journey, the first being opening my StreetStrider package. With the help of my new marathon running friend group I felt a new sense of urgency to complete my first marathon. The adrenaline of the first half-marathon was wearing off and I this helped me replenish my need to cross the next finish line.