Welcome to my RUNNING page – a place for me to share all of my stories and experiences involving the world’s greatest sport!
My Running Journey
I have not always been a runner, or even an active person. I started out my running career by using The Couch to the 5K program – alternating walking one minute and running one minute for my first few runs. To read about my journey from couch potato to multiple marathon runner, make sure to check out…My Running Journey Page.
Running and Racing
The day that I started running, I signed up for my very first race. I knew that having a goal and a plan was critical to my success, and I have been running and racing ever since! From 5K’s to full marathons, I love races of all distances and sizes. You can read all about all of my race experiences on…My Runs & Races Page.
Favorite Running Posts
Running is one of my favorite things to write about! Below you’ll find links to some general posts about running, tips for becoming a better runner, and a few of my personal favorites.
- Spring Training Plan and FAQ’s
- Racing Forward
- You Don’t Have to Run a Marathon
- Ready to Run
- 20 Mile Redemption Run
- An 18 Mile Success Story
- A 17 Mile Reality Check
- Marathon Monday on the Mt. Vernon Trail
- Final Fifteen Miles in Charlotte
- 16 Miles on Lake Michigan
- Lessons Learned on a 100 Degree Run
- I Eat Half Marathons for Breakfast
- Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan
- Taking Your Health For Granted
- The Silver Lining
- Marathon Training Plan
- The Flexible Runner
- Admitting to Failure
- A Runner’s Journey
Frequently Asked Questions (about Running)
I really want to run a marathon or half-marathon, but I don’t know where to start.
First of all, consider why it is you want to run a race. Keep in mind as races get more and more mainstream, you don’t have to run a marathon. If you are trying to lose a large amount of weight, distance running is probably not the right path to your goal. Many people actually gain a bit of weight to support their bodies through the rigors of distance training. If you are interested in racing, I would suggest starting with smaller distances like 5ks and 10ks, and eventually working your way up to higher mileage. Runners World is a great resource for all sorts of running questions!
What training plans do you use or recommend?
For all of my previous marathons, I have always used Hal Hidgon’s training plans. I have done both novice plans, as well as the intermediate plan. I find his training schedules to be approachable and not overwhelming, which is particularly important for first time marathoners. I like running four days a week, and I try to always just take it one week at a time. One of my most exciting running memories was meeting Hal Higdon in person at the 2008 Chicago Marathon expo!
Do you have any tips or advice for those just getting started with marathons or half-marathons?
The most important piece of advice I always give is to do your training runs. Having a plan is key, and I would recommend printing up a training schedule and hanging it somewhere you will see it every day. Either on the refrigerator, by the front door – somewhere that you pass frequently, that will help you feel accountable to do your runs.
I also really like crossing off runs once I have finished them – there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from making a big black X!
How do you balance weight lifting, cross-training, and running when you are training for a marathon?
I’ve mentioned before that I think weight lifting is essential for being a well-rounded runner. When I am training for a marathon, I try to keep to a schedule of lifting weights 3 days a week. You can see the on schedule above that I space these days out in order to allow for proper recovery time. Because my long runs are on Saturdays, I’ll stick to arms, back, and core work during my Friday weight sessions, and work on leg muscles earlier in the week.
One day a week (Tuesdays), I plan to do weights and running on the same day. Since that day is typically shorter mileage, I plan to do it on the treadmill at the gym after I finish my weight sets. Doing weights and cardio back to back also helps increase metabolism!
How do you change your eating habits when you are in training?
I don’t really follow any particular meal plan or specific strategy. Depending on how far I am running, I always add an extra snack before and after runs. On exceptionally long run days (10+ miles), I will eat much bigger meals to make up for all of the calories burned during my run. I also try to pay attention to my calorie intake during my runs – through sports drink, gels, and other snacks. While it is obviously important to refuel, it can also be just as easy to over-estimate your calorie needs during marathon training. I try to find a good balance.
Training plans can range from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the distance. How do you stay motivated for months at a time?
One of my favorite ways to liven up my training plan is to find shorter-distance races to sign up for in lieu of training runs. When I put this spring training plan together, I was able to fit two-half marathons and two 10-mile races into my training plan. Having these shorter races to look forward to breaks the long 18-week plan up, and allows for different goals and milestones.
On certain weeks, like the weekend I’m running the National Half Marathon, the scheduled mileage (14 miles) lines up perfectly with a local race. But other races, like the GW Parkway 10-Miler, are races that I want to do that don’t actually line up with what I need to do that day (20 miles). So what I will do instead is plan to run 10 miles before the race starts, and then finish my 20-mile run with the 10-mile race. That way, I’m not on my own for the daunting 20-mile run, and I’m much more likely to finish strong in a race environment.
Hopefully those questions are helpful for some of you who are just getting started, or for those of you who are still considering getting into distance racing.
If you have any additional questions, please leave them in the comments!