اثنين, 03/05/2012

About The Benefits To Train For A Half Marathon - part 2

Welcome back to the PGD International blog.

On Friday I got my confirmation mail, that I am registered as a participant of the 32. Berlin Half Marathon. Now it becomes serious! I clicked the link leading to the Half Marathon website; there is a clock ticking backwards: only four more weeks left for training. Then I clicked through to the section with training tips and medical advice, which unfortunately is only in German, and browsed through it. Again it became clear to me how different the approaches to running training can be. The Half Marathon is organized by the Sporting Club of Charlottenburg (SCC) (Charlottenburg is one of the many districts of Berlin. It was united with Wilmersdorf, the district in wichich Martin Luther Hospital is located). Therefore it has to give scientific advices.

I, on the other hand, can only talk about my own experiences which clearly cannot be transferred to anybody. It is up to each individual to find ones own training rhythm. The scientific advise is easy: run three, better four times a week for at least 40 minutes each. One of those runs should be a long run. This is the advice if you want to train for the full marathon. But what are you going to do, if you only want to train for half of the distance? Well, I would say: just go for it and find out what you can achieve. If you want to start running, you should just go running and walk slowly when you cannot run anymore. Go at least for 20 minutes, better 30 and do not feel bad about people seeing you stop running and walk swiftly instead. The next day you surely feel what you did, if not, than you have to put more effort in it the next time. Unfortunately sport is always something you feel afterward in your body when you are untrained or try to push your boundaries even further. In general this is not bad as long as you are healthy. But!!! Do not overdo it! Do not get yourself hurt! Your body will tell you when enough is enough - so better listen to it. With a bit of experience you will find out the difference between finding an excuse not to train as hard as you should and to much workout. When I started running a couple of years ago I just went out running and found out how far I could go while I was running. I can clearly remember how hard it was to cross a meadow after four kilometers 15 years ago and how easy it is for me today to cross it even after eight kilometers.

After a while I had developed a routine in running which became quite annoying with the years. Eventually I was running in circles in a park. The park is nice but the circles became boring. Because of that I only ran about eight kilometers and was not able to run any longer because something deep inside me did not want to run the same circle for a third time. As I already told you this was one of the reasons that made me decide to try to run the half marathon. To do so I had changed my training course and I gladly did. I know a very nice route leading along a canal through a street lined with plane trees into a park with an adjoining forest – and that in the middle of the city! I also knew that reaching a certain point - a bridge - and circling under it, would be a run of around eleven kilometers. That, I considered to be the ideal starting point to elevate myself behind the ten kilometer barrier. And yes, it took me some effort and strain to get beyond it. But, alas, now I never run less than twelve kilometers, better around 14, even when I only run once a week. Yes I know, this does not sound good. You should run at least twice a week, but it works, if you run for fun and not to train for a competition.

After I finished last weeks blog I headed for the circuit again and it was great. Sure, at first you always ask yourself why and when you ever had this stupid idea, but after a while it goes. Of course running means constantly to overcome the urge to quit, to take a shortcut or walk home. But when you finally did it, you can be very proud of yourself. So last week I actually decided to run a little bit longer and finally run 15 kilometers. How I did this and overcame the urge to cut it short I will tell you in my next blog. Just one last thought. When I went running on Monday I smelled bear's garlic in the forest but could not see it. When I went running on Thursday I saw the tips of the plant coming out all over the place. I brought you a photo. Bear's or wood garlic belongs to the family of garlic plants and it makes a very tasty soup out of it. And it means that spring will arrive soon.

So, check for the next part of this blog at the end of this week and register with the PGD International challenge of running 21 kilometers wherever you are and whenever you feel ready to do it.

And as the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel wrote last Friday: the running season has started!