By Laura Petrosillo, Marketing Manager, Aspera, an IBM company

I didn’t start out a runner, but I needed a way to escape. I’m fortunate that I live in the Bay Area near the Golden Gate Bridge and reaching the bridge became my motivation. I started slow. First with a short walk, then running just a mile. Then I kept going longer distances. Finally I got to the point that I could reach the Golden Gate Bridge and it was very exhilarating. As I continued running, I enjoyed it more and more, then picked new routes to help me stay interested, challenged and focused. Then three years ago, I ran my first marathon and haven’t looked back! The best part is that marathons are usually tied to a great cause or charity!

Here’s a few simple tips that helped me prepare myself for running, whether it’s a marathon or just to stay ACTIVE!

Acclimate: Do what works for you to get yourself into a consistent routine. Some people are morning people or like to get it out of the way. Some like to run during their lunch break to relieve stress. Other people like to use running as a way to decompress after a long day. Listen to your body and pick a time in the day that is most comfortable for you.

Comfort: It’s fine to wear your lucky hat or a favorite shirt. But it’s important to keep in mind where you are and what the weather is, too. You may prefer lightweight running clothes in warmer climates. You might want different shoes with more traction for rainy weather or when tackling a new route with a different terrain than you are used to. Ultimately, it’s about wearing what will be most comfortable for you.

Tune Your Body: The biggest mistake of new runners is not thinking about pre- and post-run. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your run. Warming up with a walk and stretching helps your body ease into the activity. It gives your body a chance to loosen your muscles and increase your heart rate and blood flow. But this is just as important after a run as it is before to prevent accidents, cramping and injuries.

Idealistic Goals: Understanding your body helps you set idealistic goals. Work your way up from shorter distances to longer runs. Then at your body’s pace develop ways to challenge yourself, whether it’s a different route or a new location.


V
isualize the Race: You may be very comfortable running in your neighborhood, but when you change locations or run in a marathon, there may be some unexpected situations you’ll want to be prepared for. Some have simple solutions, like buying chapstick. Other times it’s a bit more challenging, like changes in elevation. Especially when running a marathon, be sure to check the route on a map and prepare accordingly.

Establish Good Habits: Eating a healthy breakfast is part of my routine. One of my favorite meals at the beginning of the day is a Tropical Twister, which I found on Runner’s World. It’s a good balance of sweet, creamy and crunchy, and it gives me the energy I need for a good run. But just because it works for me, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. If you run in the evening, you may want to hold off eating dinner until after the run. Or if you feel your energy is depleted, you may want to eat a light snack. It’s also fine to reward yourself. Making running part of your daily routine or training for a marathon is no easy task. Once your goals are set and you achieve them, reward yourself and enjoy that burger, or beer that you have been craving.

Tropical Twister Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup of oats

⅓ cup canned coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

For Toppings

½ cup chopped mango

1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Directions

  • Measure out all ingredients and chop mangoes and pistachios
  • Stir together coconut milk, sugar, ginger, vanilla extract, cardamom
  • Top with mango, pistachios and cacao nibs

Recipe from Runner’s World