When I ran my first Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) in December of 2009, I spent most of the run marveling at how I was able to actually run non-stop for what ended up being my PB or “Personal Best” of 2:05:10.
How could I do this? How had I trained my body to endure such exercise for such a long amount of time? I trained!
So many people get that wild bug to just run into a gym or join a boot camp and hit it as hard as they can for a week, believing that will jump-start them into an exercise routine. If you believe this, ask yourself how your past attempts with this approach went. How soon after starting did you quit?
The first six weeks to six months is the most difficult time in any exercise program and fifty percent of those who try to start their physical fitness quit within the first six months. Especially those who go as hard as they can, five or more times per week.
To avoid setting yourself up for defeat, use the behavioral principle of progression. This way, you can take it step-by-step and build slowly, like I did when I trained for the Half. I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t do specific marathon training. I now wish I had. However, this was a time before I knew better. I worked really hard on my endurance, I was in the gym taking three aerobics classes back to back (Step, Kickboxing and Spin) and I taught myself how to breathe and I mentally conditioned myself to jump over any and all “walls” I may hit during the run.
Running a half-marathon was never something I had as a goal in mind, but once I saw The Biggest Loser contestants running their whole marathons that year, I signed up a couple of weeks before the race and asked my mom to give me my race admission as a Christmas gift that year. Knowing this, if I didn’t run the race or dropped out, I’d get nothing for Christmas. Instead, on race day at 4:00 in the morning I was up and making my way to the event. It was pretty cold, (December) and my stomach was a mess. Driving me was the belief that I could do it and no matter how long it took me, I would finish the race.
Runners took their marks and when the gun went off, we began. I crossed the Start line and my personal clock started. I didn’t use an iPod – I used proper running shoes, motivation, determination and mental conditioning to run that race. Mile marker three – “…ok just did a 5k…” then the turnaround at Mile seven, “…I made it this far – push!” then marker 12, “…almost there!!” and as I rounded the last bend in downtown West Palm Beach I could hear the roar of applause at the Finish Line carrying throughout the city over the quiet and calm that was Sunday morning before 9:00a.m.
Seeing the masses of people cheering on the runners was life-changing. The level of support for achieving such a feat from complete strangers is electrifying. Running this race was probably the most difficult task I’ve ever willingly taken on. I was very emotional as I had just a few hundred feet left and I slowed to relish the moment of crossing the finish line. I did it. I challenged myself, I ran with victory in my heart and I proved to myself that I had, with one race, officially changed a man who used to weigh nearly 300 pounds into a man who proved his worth to himself and proved that you can achieve anything that you believe you can.
YOU CAN DO IT!!! GET RID OF WHATEVER IS HOLDING YOU BACK!
START BY SETTING REALISTIC AND ACHIEVABLE GOALS!
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