There’s one thing I love more than setting and completing race goals that I set for myself…and that’s helping people I love set and achieve theirs!
Last fall several of my friends signed up to run the Marine Corps 10k in support of our girl Amanda. We all live in different parts of the country, so physically training together was not a possibility for most of us. But Beth lived just down the road from me…and this was her first 10k! We had run the Color Run together the previous fall and she set her sights on the Marine Corps 10k as her longest race to date and I could not have been more proud. I loved creating a running plan for her for the next 2 months, and loved joining her on weekly runs, and wish I could have done even more.
I created a plan for her that was based off of the Couch to 5K program…but accelerated! Each week we upped her millage until we were at the 6.2 miles she would need for race day and used Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run method to make she she would feel confident and rested. The plan worked well and I was proud to cross the finish line alongside Beth and know that running is in her future! Sharing in friends running goals and watching them become stronger (stronger than me, certainly!) brings me as much joy as crossing the finish line. I think it goes back to my love for making new friends on the race course…I’m just a people person!
I’ve talked about my dad on this blog before as a source of my inspiration. He’s over 50 (I won’t reveal his age so he won’t kill me!) and is a sponsored cyclist and triathlete. He’s crazy! He can still solidly kick my butt at any sprint tri or race…even on my best day! As far back as I could remember, my dad used to put me on my bike with training wheels and have me ride along while he would do his evening runs after work. Sometimes this would mean him sprinting after me down a hill since I couldn’t find my brakes (good thing I am a military brat and we lived on safe bases!). For part of high school we lived in Hong Kong which is incredibly hilly. My dad started competing in triathlons in Hong Kong because of the great weather and proximity to beaches. I would wake up with him on Saturday mornings to help him work on his running as he competed in 10 and 15k races and wanted to better his running for triathlons. I ran track in high school, but I would get on my bike and bike along side him for 10+ miles and loved it.
This is dad competing in a Olympic distance triathlon several months ago in the Philippines. He’s sponsored by a local bike store called Bike King and Pocari Sweat (a really yummy sports drink in Asia). I’m a proud daughter!
Today, I had the opportunity to help my husband train. Although I have competed in more races than he has, he is still a MUCH faster runner than I am. He has his eyes set on a marathon this year (we still have to pick one!) and is working on building up his endurance. He’s competed in half-marathons and runs 4+ miles daily, so he is in good change to up his mileage. Today’s goal was 10+ miles and I wanted to help…but would not be able to keep up with his pace. Instead, I mapped out a course for us that would take us ALL over DC.
He rarely runs with a water bottle and relies on race course support for long distances races (yeah, he is crazy). So today I biked with his keys and ID’s, water bottles filled with Nuun Hydration he needed, and energy snacks. We ended up running 11! It reminded me of biking with my dad and helping him train as a kid! Max is really good at pacing himself, but said that he liked having me there to clear out a path (urghhhhh tourists) and to have someone to chase the entire way.
I used MapMyRun to plan out our course (we strayed a little from this, my extra turns and non-bike friendly paths bad it a little longer). Here’s a rough estimate:
Here are some photos from today:
We aren’t the biggest fans of “group running” but here are a few of my tips on encouraging your friends and family/helping someone train:
1) Start slow – I am a big fan of Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run method and swear by it. It’s an easy way to get people into running when they know they don’t have to run a 6 minute mile and that breaks are allowed. There’s no shame in walking when you need it!
2) Plan it out – make a plan and help them stick to it. Print it out, tape it up, check off the runs your complete and make-up the ones you miss. Accountability is key.
3) Run with them – don’t just cheer on the sideline…lace up those shoes and hit the trail with them. Or if they are faster than you but need the encouragement…bike along!
4) Celebrate the mile stones – take a picture, post it online, grab a smoothie, make a toast with Nuun! Enjoy the moment and celebrate each milestone. Max and I celebrate big runs/races with Chipotle. We rarely eat at Chipotle but running double digit miles certainly allows you to do that guilt free! In fact, I just finished a burrito bowl and he just finished a burrito!
5) Offer guidance – I get a lot of e-mails from friends, family, and readers about what shoes to buy or races to sign up for. I love it! I’m a running geek that spends my free time reading shoe reviews and the “next big things” in running. I love getting to share that with people (especially new runners). If you’re knowledgeable share it…and if you are not…offer up the opportunity to do a little research.
6) Humble yourself – I am a slow runner and I am far from perfect…chances are you are too! She your struggles and running short falls with those you train with. They can make you stronger, might have solutions for you, and can help new runners feel less overwhelmed or “slow”.
7) Avoid competition – It’s easy to turn a partner run into a race…but try and avoid it. Max and I love the Seahawks mantra of “always compete” but we also need to remember that we are not always racing each other even though we are signed up for the same race or running the same daily route. Gosh that would be an unhealthy marriage! There are some races I would be better at (probably sprint tri’s) and plenty of races he would be better at (all of our running races this far, haha). Instead of competing, encourage each other…that’s the beauty of running…you only have to compete against yourself.
So share with me now! how do you help your friends and family train for races? Do you have a running partner?