I decided to write down what I've learned so far from doing two half-marathons to help anybody else out there who wants to do the same, and also to keep myself accountable. Here we go.
Here is the schedule I try to follow as closely as possible during the week. I follow Jeff Gollaway's four month program and add in some cross-training.
Monday: Full body weight training. I go to a Body Works class at my gym that almost kills me every time. I swear, the lady is out to get me. But I notice a HUGE difference in my running and overall fitness when I go to this class regularly.
Tuesday: Run 30 - 45 minutes.
Wednesday: Yoga at the gym. Namaste.
Thursday: Run 30 - 45 minutes.
Friday: Day off.
Saturday: Long run. I follow a program, so this is different every week. These runs kill me.
Sunday: Day off.
I struggle with food the most during training, mostly because I'm always ravenous. Your body wants more fuel during the day to keep up with your bump in activity. I have to be careful not to go overboard.
Breakfast: I usually keep it carb-y so I'm full throughout the day. I'll have oatmeal or a slice of whole wheat toast and a banana.
Snack: Almonds or granola bar.
Lunch: Salad or chicken or some sort of protein. Usually with a side of fruit.
Snack: Apple with peanut or almond butter.
Dinner: The meal I struggle with. It's different every night but lately it's been a bowl of cereal.
Dessert: Spoonful of cookie butter or some dark chocolate.
I'm really trying to cut back this time and seriously limit my intake of sugar, processed foods, fast food and soda. I let myself have these things occasionally so I don't freak out and binge. Treat yoself.
The Right Equipment
I've found that the number one most important thing about running is a pair of the right running shoes. Before I got fitted shoes my ankles and knees would always throb at the end of the run. I went to Road Runner Sports and they do a complete run test and measure your feet to determine what kind of shoe will fit best. Apparently I have the worst kind of feet ever (they collapse in when I walk) so I have to get really heavy super duty shoes.
I also have a foot roller that I use to roll my feet on every night.
As far as running clothes go - treat yoself again. I like to buy new shorts/capris and tops for running every once in a while as a little treat. I usually get all of my running clothes at Old Navy, Marshall's and Nordstrom Rack.
For me, a huge part of a successful run is the right music. Make sure you have a good playlist on your phone that will get you pumped!
Also, I find signing up for fun runs during my training really helps. I've done a superhero one, 80's, color dash, neon and Hot Chocolate race. They vary from 5k's to 15k's. They are a lot of fun!
Happy training. I'm right there with ya... dying slowly but loving the results.