I recently signed up for my first ever race – a 5k – and, I think I’m settling into a pretty awesome training routine. When I started running earlier this year, it was for a number of reasons:
- Last time running was a part of my routine, I lost weight, slept better, and had way more energy.
- I have “run a 5K” on my Life List, so the Couch to 5K program seemed perfect (though I’m not using that program anymore – I’ve started just running, pacing myself, and listening to my body for when to start and stop).
- I needed to MOVE. I’ve talked about how I’ve learned to handle anxiety, or as I like to call it, adrenaline management in the past. For me, the best way to manage anxiety is to keep active because it’s when adrenaline just cycles through my bloodstream in an almost annoyingly tantric way, that things bubble over and the breakdowns happen. Running means that adrenaline has an outlet. Yoga does the same thing (for me), plus there’s that whole spiritual component that’s crucial in my mind-body balance.
I started looking at 5k’s in Oregon, and finally decided on one when Nicole called and said she’d found one, she’s wants to come visit, and hey! we should run that. So, we registered, and I officially will be running my first 5k in September.
Suddenly, “I run sometimes” became “I’m training for something,” and my perspective shifted a little. I started thinking about how I was running, what “pacing myself” actually meant (on and off the path), and started scouting new routes so as not to get bored running the same loop (though, I’m just going to say right now that running the Bridge Loop (Hawthorne to Steel Bridge) around the Willamette in downtown Portland is hardly boring – it’s actually gorgeous, and I love having that river and this city in my backyard).
One of the most motivating aspects of this whole thing is watching progress. Chris and I went for a long run over the weekend, and I was able to run for 10 minutes straight, three times. Considering a month ago, I was challenged to run two or three minutes at a time, this small victory made me feel like I could do anything – and makes me excited to get back out and run again and again.
Speed Up and Slow Down – The Balance of Running with Yoga
Knowing that cross-training will be important in this training, I’ve settled into a routine where I’ve got a solid mix of running, yoga, biking and rest. I’d like to add in some hiking because there’s all kinds of trails around here that I have yet to discover.
The results of all of this activity? Not only do I feel great, but I’m starting to feel like my body was meant for this – meant to be active, and I’ve known for years that this body was meant to do yoga. The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of that practice are irreplaceable, and I am always at my best when yoga is a regular part of my lifestyle. In addition that, this cardiovascular activity is getting addictive — I’m craving it.
So, friends who are runners, cyclists, cross-trainers, etc., what advice would you give someone who’s training for her first race? What’s your favorite way to cross-train?