6 Items On My 'To Do' List In Order To Train For The Chicago Marathon

6 Items On My 'To Do' List In Order To Train For The Chicago Marathon

It's time to create a plan for how I will train and run my first marathon.

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As a long distance runner, I have signed up for my first marathon. It sounds kind of scary running 26.2 miles, but I know I can do it. Marathon training requires more than just running long distance. In order to be prepared to run this race, you must be mentally ready and know what to expect. As a way to encourage my training I have decided to write down 6 items that I must do in order to be successful for my marathon training:

1. Invest in a good pair of running shoes

These are the essentials for marathon running. With a variety of styles, color, and comfort, a runner can find their perfect running shoes when hitting the trails.

2. Attend road races to help me see what goes on in a race

As an avid running fan, I have learned to appreciate the sport of running by attending races and being part of the crowd. This allows me to get mentally ready and lets me know that many people are out there running, and if they can do it, so can I. Plus who else does not love cheering on the sidelines and helping!

3. Find my motivation throughout training

Another way to be mentally ready for the marathon is finding something that will motivate you. I have and will continue to seek people who motivate me. Steve Prefontaine, the legendary runner is my motivation when it comes to long distance running. Even in my darkest times in training or when I would hit the wall, I will have to look up to those who inspire me.

4. Run the Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon Again This Summer

Yay! Another race. I have ran this half-marathon twice which takes place in July, and this will give me the feel of running in a race. The half-marathon will allow me to practice and prepare for the big race in just two months.

5. Update and add more songs on Spotify

As a runner, I love and encourage people to listen to music while they are out running. This is especially good for those very long runs that are over 10 miles. I will need to update and modify my playlist in order to continue feeling pumped while running and have something to keep me occupied on my mind.

6. Track my growth and progress through a running journal

Lastly, as a runner, a way to keep track of my growth and progress is through a running journal. This allows me to see what I need to accomplish in a given week. Every other week, I add more distance or more speed to a workout in order so I can improve. I also don't forget to add one or two rest days each week so my body can recover.

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8 Exercises You Can Do In Your Room If You're Too Lazy To Get To The Gym This Semester

The laziness is very real, people!

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If you're anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with going to the gym and getting your work out on. This feeling definitely becomes enhanced when a new semester starts up, and it may seem like you'll be spending more time in the library than the gym. But there's no need to fear because I have come up with 8 quick exercises that you can do in your dorm or room if you just can't get to the gym.

1. Sit-ups/Crunches

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These are very useful, and sometimes overrated, abdominal exercises that help in strengthening your core and building up your ab muscles. Start with a moderate amount, like reps of 10-12, in sets of 3.

2. Push-ups

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Up until a few months ago, the last time I did a push-up was in high school gym class, but alas, push-ups are a really easy way to work out your chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles. Start out doing 10 reps in sets of 3 and try to progress from there week after week.

3. Planks

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I know, I know--planks are terrible and they make you want to die; but, it's kind of hard to hate them when there are so many benefits to doing them. Planks help with strength and endurance and they work out your abs and your back. Try holding them in 30-second intervals, and eventually work your way up to holding it for 2 minutes.

4. Squats

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Who doesn't love a good butt exercise (and also thighs, glutes, and core)? Start with 10 squats for every set you do, and try to progress from there.

5.  Supermans

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It may not be fun, but you can at least pretend you have superpowers. You do this by laying face down and raising your arms straight out in front of you (about 5 inches off the ground) and raising your legs to a similar height. Make sure to keep your body rigid and try not to relax your muscles (it wouldn't really be a good exercise if you were relaxing, would it?). This will strengthen your upper and lower back muscles!

6. Forward Lunges

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This is my favorite exercise because it's so easy to do. A lunge is when you place your body weight onto a single leg and you work your hips, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and inner thigh muscles. Start with about 10 lunges per leg in sets of 3, and work your way up from there.

7. Calf raises

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Another really simple exercise is to stand and raise your heels a few inches off the ground so that you stand on your tiptoes. Hold it for a moment, and then lower yourself back down and repeat. You know it'll be working if you feel a stretch in your calf muscle--try as many reps as you like (I normally start with 30) and try and progress week by week.

8. Pelvic Tilts

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It may not look like they do much (and they probably don't even look like an ab exercise), but believe me, you'll be feeling the burn after a few sets of these. And you get to lie on your back, and who doesn't love laying down? Lay down with your knees bent and bend your pelvis up. And if this is too easy and you have access to weights, try placing a weight on your stomach to make it a little more difficult.

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Zumba Glow Party Isn't A Workout, It's A Celebration

The best way to sweat it out is to dance it out.

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One of my resolutions this Nyear was to try and engage in new things that I had never done before. So often, I fall into the trap of repetitiveness doing the same things time after time and never mix it up. I wanted to open myself up to new opportunities and passions, especially when it came to working out.

Over winter break, I had the chance to participate in a different type of workout than I normally do. It was called a Zumba Glow Party, and it was definitely a fun time. The amount of high energy and fun that courses through the program kept me engaged and entertained the entire time.

Going into the class, I did not know what to expect. The Facebook event detail only described the event as a "high-paced fun workout that incorporates modern night-life with aerobic dancing." With the lack of detail, it was hard to know what I would be walking into. Was I going to be dancing around a room with paint everywhere? Was I going to be throwing paint while dancing like a member of the Blue Man Group? What I never expected, however, was the scene I actually walked into.

It was like a typical Zumba class with an instructor leading a high-intensity dance routine to upbeat songs that got the blood pumping. But the pitch black room illuminated by only a black light and glow paint made it feel less like an exercise class and more like a rave. It no longer felt like I was in some small tranquil yoga studio—instead, I felt like I had been transported to an underground club in the city.

Exercising is not supposed to be some dreaded task that creates anxiousness and discomfort. It should be fun and challenging.

Mixing high energy dancing with glow paint and backlights may be what could make exercise more fun. This new type of workout is something that I feel like a lot of people would enjoy if they gave it a chance. Walking into it not knowing what to expect can be kind of scary but the results are well worth it.

Overall, a Zumba Glow Party is something I would definitely attend again. It was different yet fun and exciting. It introduced me to another new fun side of working out. It was so easy in the darkness to just let loose and act like I was at a party rather than focusing on the intense and breathless cardio induced state I was entering. Plus, with the darkness, no one could see how terrible of a dancer I am so that is always an added bonus for those who are shy or self-conscious. I encourage anyone looking for a fun way to work out to give a Zumba Glow Party a chance! It may become your new favorite way to get fit.

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