lun, 02/27/2012

About The Benefits To Train For A Half Marathon - part 1

Why you should not only take up running but aim for a small competition as well and join the PGD International running challenge.

Running is one of the few sports that is quite cheap and healthy as well. Sure, good running shoes are important so that you do not damage your feet, knees or legs and they might turn out to be expensive but that basically is the gear you need for running. Shorts and a T-Shirt you can get at a bargain price or even use old ones you do not want to wear on a normal day. You can even run without shoes. That will take a while until the soles of your feet get used to it and have build a thicker skin but you can. I ran on a beach once with naked feet and it was hilarious. Yes, my ankles hurt like hell for three or four days afterward but that was only because their muscles and ligaments were not used to the strain I had put upon them. In the sand your feet move on the ground and the ligaments strive to hold the feet steady. Actually this is a good workout to strengthen ones ankles. After the pain was gone I started to run through the sand again and I enjoyed it very much. Two winters ago I even saw one runner jogging through the snow with bare feet and at runner fairs there is always a stand where people promoting running with bare feet offering special gloves for feet to protect them from the hazard on streets and paths of the modern world which could hurt ones foot.

I found running a good compensation for sitting in the office. Sometimes my body even craves for exercise and forces me out into the park. Also running can be very contemplative. Things which are on your mind will spring up without any apparent reason while running. This shows that your brain is working on those problems or thoughts and while jogging you might get a solution or an idea for something you might or should do. The only problem then is to remember all those elaborate thoughts – and they can be very, very elaborate – until you are back from running.

I took up running almost 16 years ago but only last year I decided to take part in a competition. Why so? I actually do not really know. I probably got bored to have the same routine over and over again. I remember talking about it and I remember talking to one guy at a party in December 2010. He encouraged me to take up a running challenge. Somehow I had the feeling that I had to prove that I can do it combined with the urge to extend my limitations. So I decided to take up the half-marathon in spring first and than the marathon in autumn.

From the party in December until the half-marathon in Berlin on April 3rd I only had four months of training. I only ran 8 to 10 kilometers before that on one stretch, but the half-marathon is 21.1 km!

In my next blog entries I will tell you how I achieved to train for the half-marathon although the weather was too bad for a continuous training and I was away too often and therefore did not train at all for days.

But the purpose of this blog is to encourage you to take up running and even take part in a competition. For this purpose I created a challenge at endomondo.com. It is free and you can join even if you do not want to run the half-marathon or the marathon or if you do not have a fancy smartphone which tracks your route and time. Once joined you can comment and tell your own stories and experiences about running.

Actually the next half-marathon in Berlin is on April 1st. Unfortunatley it is to late to register but if you already have, please join the challenge to encourage others. The challenge is not to take place in an actual competition (although that would be great) but to cheer and support you while you train to get beyond your boundaries by giving you a goal: to run the half-marathon distance yourself whenever you feel like it.

How I managed to do it, I will tell you in my next blog entry this week.

And for everybody who likes to read more about what it feels to run long distances I recommend “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by the acclaimed Japanese author and long distance runner Haruki Murakami who wrote “Norwegian Wood”.