When I wrote about my first 10 k two years ago, it was clear that, at the time, the thought of running a half marathon was a distant goal. Yet two years later, I did it. So I want to take a moment to reflect on what I have learned in my first half marathon.
- You can run as far as you want as long as you put your mind to it. Physical training is important but mental training trumps everything else.
- I can relate running to many things in life. I often found the hardest part of running is the beginning and the end. The beginning as my body is slowly warming up to the workout and the end when I have run out of steam.
- My tears came out involuntarily when I crossed the finishing line. I never thought I was emotion with my running but when you have reached the peak of exhaustion and finally saw the end of the journey, my body was overwhelmed with joy. Tears just came out as a physical response of joy, not so much an emotional response, at least that’s what I thought.
- I need to train in different environment and time of the day. During my training up to the race day, I have tried to vary my routes, slowly building up my mileage. But it was still very much difficult to run in different times of the day. I usually run first thing in the morning (before my kids wake up) or during my work lunch hour. But on the actual race day, it was much warmer and sunny then expected, nor was I used to running in this warmer condition. I could tell my body was not used to running in this environment. I need to figure out how to condition my body to be able to run in different environments.
- Long run can be disruptive to families. I try to run during time that is least disruptive to my families. My husband is often supportive when I want to go for a run. However towards the last few weeks, it wasn’t easy to tell my husband I will be gone for few hours for my long run every week.
- Many people have said music can be a great stimulator for running. But I found it to be more of a distraction. Perhaps I haven’t figured out my favourite playlist or my gadget. I felt better running without listening to any music but the natural sound of my surroundings, or listening to nothing at all. It can be very therapeutic and relaxing. I sometimes think of running as my therapy session.
- If I want to improve my running, I need to incorporate more strength and core training. I need to hire a personal trainer so I do not hurt myself.
- I will keep running. I see myself attempting few more half marathons. When my kids are old enough to be left at home alone, I may attempt a full marathon, hopefully in few years down the road.
But I will keep running.