New year, new start, new possibilities. That's how I look at running my first half marathon this March, the 2017 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. This is the biggest challenge that I've undertaken in quite a while, one that I am more than excited to tackle. I've spent 17 years training runners for these races, and it feels good to take on the task of running one myself.
Last week was a nice start to my training. Overall, I was able to get a jump start to my training plan by getting a good 4 days in overall, 3 of which were running days, approximately 2 miles a day as a run/walk. The 4th day was a lifting & plyometrics day where I was able to get through the following overall set:
- Lunge Rotations
- Side Walking
- Single Leg Standing on a Bosu
- Calf Raises
- Pull Ups
- Bicep Curls
- Chest Press
In terms of diet, I keyed in on sticking to good solid carbs. So wheats, pastas, and fruits were all on the menu. I also focused on the glycemic load of the foods I was eating, and not just the glycemic index, which is a popular buzz word these days. A great article to help you understand what glycemic load is can be found here. By focusing on glycemic load, I'm looking to reduce the overall stress on my body from any roller-coastering through highs and lows while looking to have those foods burn over a longer period of time. Sweet potatoes and wheat bread fit the bill well for me this week.
What I found in going through those 4 days was that the initial barrier of it being the "first week" can really play with your head a little. In terms of race length, I have never tried anything close to a half marathon. Even so, I thought myself that I'm going to run every bit of those two miles a day in my first week. So when my "run the whole way at all costs" mentality turned into a "run/walk" because my heart rate was climbing way too high, you do start to question yourself when you hit that wall where you're thinking, "Wow, I can't even get through two miles running, how is this going to get better?"
But you know what? If you break down that first week into smaller goals, you really start to see the progress within yourself. How? Well, I thought of it this way: "Wow, I finished 2 miles per day." I FINISHED. Whether or not it was a full run, a walk/run, or a mostly walk/run, it doesn't matter. The fact is that I set a goal to do 2 miles per day for 3 days last week, and I accomplished it. And I even got in that 4th day of weight training and plyo! I can't remember that last time I got that many miles in. In general, I try to get in runs on our AlterG Treadmill in between Physical Therapy patients in either Jersey City or Elizabeth, but 6 miles overall in 1 week? I haven't seen that goal in quite some time.
So for me, it was very much a WIN not only for my training regimen, but for my own state of mind in believing that I can really do this. It really does seem possible now, and I can't wait to see what gains I can accomplish in week 2!
Dr. James Pumarada is a licensed Physical Therapist specializing in Vestibular Physical Therapy and Running Physical Therapy with over 17+ years of experience. He is the co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation, a Physical Therapy practice based in Elizabeth and Jersey City, NJ.