10 Things That Helped Me Train For My Half Marathon + Things I Should Have Done More Of

I’m just one week out from running my second half-marathon. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I believe training for these runs has changed my life in so many different ways, physically and mentally. I have a different perspective of what my body is capable of, I have a different perception of myself in regards to health and fitness, and I have more confidence in myself as a finisher. Sticking these training plans out and finishing the races has made any “I don’t finish what I start” thoughts I had about myself slowly disappear. And of course there are the physical changes as well. I rarely say negative things about my body and weight anymore because I now realize being fit and strong isn’t always the same thing as weighing a certain weight or being a certain size. I have for sure lost weight during this running journey, I am currently below my pre baby weight, but most importantly I am stronger mentally and physically than ever before and my discipline is also stronger. I feel like my best self when I’m training for a race, I feel like the discipline I have in running pours over into other areas of my life and I get more disciplined in almost all other areas too.

If you’ve never signed up for a race, I’d absolutely recommend it. If you “hate running”, try a 10k first and train for that. I think you’ll be surprised on how running can grow on you and actually become very addicting. I was a “I don’t like running” girl once, I get it.

I wanted to share a list of things that helped me train for my two half marathons. I’m still a newbie at running and have a ton to learn, but for now this is the list of things that got me through training. I’ve even thrown in at the bottom a small list of things I know I should have done more of.

10 things that helped me train for my half marathon

#1 An Amazing Playlist

10 things that helped me train for my half marathon

This is a no brainer, I know, but it’s so important. I don’t know how much I’ve spent on downloading music, but I honestly don’t care. On mile 9 when I feel like quitting, I need that pump me up song to get me through. Right now my go to is Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons.

My playlist is pretty bipolar, I have anything from gangster rap to Christian music, and almost everything in between. Keep adding to your playlist so you don’t get bored of it. Also, be super careful about what the music is doing to your pace. If a song is slow and calming, your pace might drop too low and if your music is pumping you up be careful that you don’t go too fast and burn yourself out too soon in the run. I can never start my run with JLo’s song Dinero, I love it way too much!

#2 Map My Run app

I love this app. It’s free, easy to use and it tracks your pace, distance, route, elevation gain and calories. One day I might get one of those fancy watches that tracks all of that, but for now I love this app.

#3 An Accountability Partner

This is a huge one. Some people don’t need this, but I’d say most do. Making a promise to yourself is one thing, but making a promise to other people is another. I personally think people are more apt to break a commitment with themselves than to other people they care about (not sure why this is). For my first half marathon this was particularly important. I was training with one of my best friends and when the final weeks of training came and I wanted to quit, she was there to push me and remind me that I could finish. This second half marathon training has been a bit different, I’m running the race alone. I found a friend who was training for a different half marathon and we’d message each other about our runs and hold each other accountable. This was so helpful on days I felt lazy, getting a text from her saying she ran 10 miles lit a fire under my butt and reminded me to keep on my training plan. I am also so grateful for social media and my blog followers because when I tell y’all I’m going to do something, I better be a woman of my word.

#4 Run To The Finish blog

Amanda Brooks, the blogger behind the Colorado based blog all about running, is one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve come across when it comes to running. Her blog, Run To The Finish, is such a great resource for just about anything you’d need to know about running and training.

10 things that helped me train for my half marathon

#5 Baby G

Making Giulian proud is one of my greatest motivators. When I feel like quitting I just think, what kind of example would that set for my son?… and then I keep pushing. That sweet little boy is looking to us to be positive examples of how to live life.

#6 A Longer Term Training Plan

I think this is especially important on your first race. For me, gradually increasing my mileage each week is what gave me the confidence, endurance and stamina to continue. I think it’s physically and mentally smarter to do a training program that is longer and gives your body time to adjust to the long mileage.

#7 Podcasts + Audiobooks

I get tired of music sometimes, so I switch to a podcast or audiobook. I find that if I’m super into the content, it can help burn time and take my mind off the run. This is especially helpful to me on runs longer than 7 miles. I like to switch up what’s in my ear so I am less focused on the run.

#8 Running Buddy on Long Days

I’m so grateful that I had someone to run with on the long run days. Being able to talk with someone really helped burn the time. It was also a great accountability tool. It can be difficult to wake up Sunday morning and say, I want to run 10 miles today. The only thing to be weary of is if you’re running the actual race solo but have trained with someone the entire time. I did a few long runs by myself to ensure it wouldn’t throw me off too much on race day being alone.

#9 Switching Up My Running Location

10 things that helped me train for my half marathon

You’ll find that most of this list is finding ways to avoid boredom. This is another way to do so. Switching up the scenery, path and location can really help the entire training process. I’d go crazy if our neighborhood was the only spot I ran for the last few months. Also, our neighborhood is in the city and there aren’t a lot of hills so it was good for me to switch up my runs to places with more elevation changes.

#10 Remembering Where I Started

This is particularly important on the days you’re beating yourself up (because that will most likely happen). I have videos in the highlights section on Instagram and any time I’m discouraged I just watch them. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. My first running highlight was a one mile run when I was training for a 10k race last year. I remember that run, I was whooped. My perspective on distance and mileage is completely different from when I started. It’s humbling to look back at the whole journey, so I’d encourage you to do so if you’re not feeling proud of yourself.



Things I know I should have done more of during training:

Roller

I know I know, if you’re a runner you’re probably yelling at the screen right now. I still haven’t purchased or used a roller. I need to.

Stretch/yoga

I didn’t do a single yoga session this entire training, which isn’t what I planned on. I feel like these things get neglected because I’m super busy, but I should get better about making time for yoga and stretching. So often it feels like I finish my race and Nick is rushed to leave the house for a meeting, so I’m in mom mode the moment I’m done, usually resulting in poor stretching (or no stretching).

Cross training

My knees were killing me on mile 10-13 of my last half marathon. So this training I tried to do more cross training, the last few weeks I’ve done zero strength training and cross training… not good. I’m hoping my knees are okay next week during my second half marathon. Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson the first time.



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10 things that helped me train for my half marathon
10 things that helped me train for my half marathon
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My Postpartum Fitness Routine: Why I Think Running Is A Positive Way To Workout After Having A Baby

After having Giulian I was not in a rush to “get my body back”. The article “A Letter To My Daughter About My Postpartum Body” by Taylor Roybal perfectly portrays my views on how amazing, powerful and beautiful our bodies are. Being pregnant, giving birth and then breastfeeding made me realize that my body is more powerful than I ever knew. I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for my body, I see it in a whole new light thanks to motherhood.

With that being said, I also knew that I wanted to get back in shape after having Giulian. I knew I wanted to challenge myself in fitness, feel strong, get my stamina up so I can have more energy to keep up with our baby boy and of course the added bonus of fitting in all of my super cute clothes I had before baby G. After Giulian was born I took about 6 to 8 weeks off from working out (the normal suggested time), we went on a ton of walks but that was about it. After that I did some workout classes, at home workouts and hit the treadmill a few times a week. Then in early March of this year (2018), I began my running journey. I had two of my best friends say they were going to run the Boulder Boulder, a popular 10K run here in Colorado. I decided to do it with them and since I was the rookie in the group I felt this pressure to make sure I was going to keep up with them on the day of the run. They both had ran the 10K before, but I had never participated in anything like that so I had an extra layer of nerves about it, thinking “gosh, I can’t be the weak link of the group!” So, I picked a training plan and stuck to it for the weeks up until the race. I was so strict about the training, I didn’t miss a single day. On the day of the race we had a blast, I was absolutely prepared and we had a wonderful time. Then I decided I wanted a greater challenge, so I signed up for a half-marathon. Training for that was a whole new commitment, the days of the long runs kicked my butt and were incredibly time consuming, but I did it and I’m so glad I did.

It feels great to be proud of yourself, to challenge yourself, and to finish what you start. It’s the mental part of all of it that I think is such a good thing for women to do postpartum. As mothers with new babies we can get so consumed with the daily tasks of motherhood that we forget to take care of ourselves, too. Having something for myself was so important in regaining my happiness after having Giulian. I struggled quite a bit with feeling happy for the first few months of Giulian’s life, I was exhausted and stressed out. Even on the days where I was tired, going on a run really helped me to relax and regain perspective on everything. I think it’s such a positive thing to do after having a baby and I’d suggest it to any woman going through a similar journey.

Here are the 5 reasons why I think running is a positive way to get in shape after baby:

  • It gets you in shape without having the focus be your weight.

    I didn’t want to obsess over my weight and the way my body looked after having a baby. I didn’t want to get caught in a downward spiral of shaming my body for how it looked because of having a baby, instead I wanted to focus on being happy, healthy and feeling good in my skin. What I love about running is that my goal was never a number on the scale. My goal was always to increase how far I could run little by little over a long period of time. My goal was to stay consistent with the training plan I had picked out and to finish the race I had signed up for. And that’s exactly what I did, for both the 10k and the half-marathon. I simply picked out a training plan and stuck to it. For the 10k I literally did not miss a single day from the training plan, I was extremely strict about sticking to it and training properly. I missed quite a few runs on the half-marathon training but overall I stuck to the plan and increased my distance little by little. It was amazing to watch my body change, and to feel the change. When I first started running, one mile without stopping was a huge challenge, this was 27 weeks ago. Now one mile doesn’t feel like much, I’m so proud of how far I have come.

    The truly amazing thing is I have not focused on my weight during this entire process, I didn’t obsess over how I looked, what size I wore or what the scale said, and I actually weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant. When I got pregnant I weighed 135 and I now weigh 129. I’m so grateful that this is how I lost the “baby weight” because I don’t want to say I starved myself, deprived myself or mistreat my body just to lose weight. I used to pull that crap in high-school, obsessing over how skinny or fat I felt, and I really didn’t want that to be my postpartum story too.

  • It gives you goals outside of motherhood.

    I’m sure you’ve heard people say things like this before, that it’s good to have goals outside of motherhood. I strongly agree with this. I’m not trying to diminish the job of being a mother, it’s hard work and also extremely fulfilling. However I do think it’s healthy to have goals, dreams and work outside of motherhood, even if you’re a stay at home mom. The more full your cup is the more you can pour into your children and your family. And accomplishing goals and growing as a woman outside of motherhood will fill your cup and make you a better mommy. Giulian is too young to understand now, but I want him to be inspired by me and the goals I’m pushing towards. I want him to see that mommy and daddy both value growth and are ambitious. And if for no other reason, it’s good for you to feel proud of yourself mama!

  • You get time to yourself.

    Not gonna lie, sometimes I wish my time to myself was sitting in a peaceful coffee shop sipping on a latte, but you know what—going on a run is good too. Just to have some time away from the kiddos is a great thing. I don’t think any mama would argue with that.

  • It gets you outside, fresh air and vitamin D.

    Parents.com has an article on ways to prevent postpartum depression and one of the things mentioned is make time to exercise. The article shared a quote that I found so true, it said “Taking a brisk walk, getting fresh air, and enjoying nature can improve your outlook," says Karen Rosenthal, Ph.D., a psychologist in Westport, Connecticut.” I personally think running outdoors instead of on a treadmill is the best option for postpartum workouts (if the weather permits of course). There have been so many moments where I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious from the baby being upset or just stressed out from my “to-do list” and then I would go on a run and feel so much more relaxed and ready to conquer my day. It’s been a wonderful stress reliever over the last six or so months.

  • It’s a great opportunity to push and challenge yourself .

    Like I said before, it’s so important to feel proud of yourself. It’s a great way to build your self confidence (which can be lower during the postpartum phase of life). Running helped me regain a ton of confidence after having the baby, I began to feel better about how my body looked and how my body felt. Every time I set a goal to run a little bit further and I achieved the goal, it was a boost in self confidence and over time it let my subconscious know that “I can finish what I set out to achieve”.

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Whatever form of fitness that is best for you, is best for you. I just wanted to share my running journey with you all and the reasons why I feel it is a wonderful way to get back in shape after having a baby. Comment below if you’d like to share about your postpartum fitness journey, I’d love to hear!

 
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postpartum fitness journey why running is a positive thing
 

Summer Workout Routine + The Perfect Post Workout Snack

The official first day of summer is coming. June 20th. This time of year, with beaches, bikinis, vacations and summer outfits on my mind, I am far more health conscious. I find myself more motivated to bust my booty during workouts and to choose healthy snacks.

I am super grateful that my sister is a personal trainer. Sometimes I get bored of my same workout routine and I'll ask her to fill me in on some fresh moves. She was kind enough to let me film her so that I could share her awesome workout routines with all of you! This is a simple workout for men or women that you can do at the park. The only thing you need is a park bench and some water. She has demonstrated six simple workouts for us to do, that we are to try to complete at least three times all the way through. I hope you enjoy this killer full body workout. Don't forget to keep reading to discover the perfect post workout snack!

FIRST MOVE

Squats | 20 Times

 
 

SECOND MOVE

Push-ups | 20 Times

Choose one of the three variations

THIRD MOVE

Bench hops | 20 Times

 or

Modified bench walks | 10 Times each leg leading

FOURTH MOVE

Tricep Dips | 20 Times

Choose one of three variations

FIFTH MOVE

Squat kicks on the bench | 20 each leg

 

 

FINAL MOVE

Inchworm, tricep push-up, & knees to elbows | 20 Times

Make sure to stretch good before and after your workout to prevent pulling any muscles. 

Carbohydrates are great to consume after an intense workout like this. Fruit is such a pure and natural way to get some sugar/carbs in. Froozer, a Colorado based nutrition company, was kind enough to send me some samples of their frozen fruit snacks. They are delicious! Genuinely, my husband and I have sorta become addicted to these because they really are great. The company prides themselves on having extremely healthy products that are NON GMO, dairy free, kosher, gluten free,  and all natural, so basically anyone can enjoy them. They have three flavors- Strawbanana Bliss, Tropical Sunset and Blue Aloha.

We loved them all, in fact we already ate them all (within a couple days of receiving them!). I wasn't kidding when I said it's an addiction! We need to make our way over to Safeway to pick up a few more boxes. Like I mentioned before, it's the perfect post workout snack, but we also are just loving them as a cold summer snack to cool us down. 

Another great thing about Froozer and their line of products is it's an easy thing to be able to take with you when you're out and about... like at the park doing a workout! It's really a good way to intake some carbs before or after a workout and an easy snack to have for the kids if they get hungry. For those of you out there that may be watching your sugar or carb intake, Froozer products are only around 35 calories! So not only do you get to enjoy a sweet treat, but you can do it guilt free. Check 'em out, I was really impressed with the product and will be buying more as soon as possible because we ate ours so quickly.

 

* This post is a collaboration with Froozer. As always, all statements and opinions are genuine and my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that partner and collaborate with According To D. 

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