When starting any new health or fitness routine it helps to set real, tangible, trackable goals to help you stay motivated and on a schedule.

My slightly modified Half Marathon Training Program

I am ruled by the need to have something exciting to work towards, I usually pick the race first and then tailor my training program accordingly. This is not necessarily the smartest way, but it works for me. For example, I have decided that’s its long past time to run my first half marathon (2011=Triathlon, 2012=Half Marathons, 2013=Marathon), with that said, I am on track to run my first half on 9/29 in a local race. I decided I wanted my first half to be small and not a 13.1 mile mob scene, primarily because I still need time and space to find my ‘groove’ on the pavement… I want the space and freedom to get into my groove without worrying too much about the crowd, so I have planned 3 smaller halves in preparation for the grand poo-bah of races in December at the Rock & Roll Half Marathon on the Las Vegas Strip. In my mind, I will be prepared to easily find my pace and stride by this time, being less influenced by the mob scene and more relaxed. That’s my theory anyway…stay tuned for details.

All that said…here’s some advice about looking for and planning your first race…which will likely be a 5k. There are all sorts of unrealistic fears and expectations that we wrap around such events in anticipation, when in reality 90% of the drama is all upstairs. I have a tendency to entertain thoughts on both extremes of the spectrum from delusions of grandeur to paralyzing fear of utter collapse and failure….NEITHER are realistic. If I am training at a 10min mile pace leading up to a race, expect exactly that pace as you cross the finish line and you are likely to be ever-so-slightly, but pleasantly surprised every time. If I am training at a 10min mile pace and show up on race day, primed, nervous and full of adrenaline; expecting to blow a sub 25min 5k, I’m setting myself up for personal defeat and failure. Moral of the story, be realistic!

I could go on for days about the reasons I race, but the above picture pretty much sums it up…because you get to do things like jump over fire with the best of friends while wearing coordinating outfits! But there’s so much more to it than that, for a non-competitive girl like myself, racing gets pretty…uh-hem…emotional…yup…I said it. Rarely can I run a 5k, mud run, finish a triathlon or any event without fighting back tears of gratefulness, and if your on a new journey with running the feeling is all the more present. The reason we race is to remind ourselves where we’ve come from and where we’re going…surrounded by other individuals, all on their own journeys, some ahead of you…some behind, but all embracing the ability to be captain of their own ship…even if its only for a mile or two.

This is a point of deep and enduring passion for me personally, the mix of overcoming your fears and physical limitations make for a powerful collision of mental, emotional and spiritual connection.

So why race? Here’s a few reasons…

1. Tracks your progress

2. Meeting likeminded people

3. Encouragement to push your limits and reach for bigger goals

4. Reminds you how far you’ve come and puts fears in perspective

5. Random race swag collection and t-shirts

6. Life long memories with friend and family

7. Connection to a greater awareness and purpose

Here are a few sources to help you find races in your area….

and locally,

And remember that the BEST accountability for any fitness or running program is simply to tell people about it…get your loved ones involved in the process…thus concreting your commitment. See..what I did…I told all if you that I AM running my first half on 9/29, there it is in black & white…so…with that said…on a Friday night…I am headed to run…because I am cool like that…you can be cool too!

Have a great weekend! Live & Love while you can, we only get one shot…make it count…