A Change From Within :: How Running a Half-Marathon Changed My Life

Feeling anxious? Depressed? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Unfocused? Bored?

I’ve got the cure – run.

I know what you’re thinking. “Run? That’s hard! And I don’t like it! I can’t run very far or for very long. That just sounds miserable! That will make me feel worse! It’s too hot. I don’t have time…”

Stop. Trust me. It works.

I signed up for a half-marathon. I had always wanted to run one at some point in my life. So why not now? The minute I signed up and paid the money to do the run, there was no going back.

My life changed drastically throughout my training. The good kind of change. The kind of change that happens within. An inward change that made me feel good, think sharper, work smarter. I became overall happier and developed a new-found appreciation for the people that surrounded me. I started to love my current phase in life rather than dread it. I had more energy, could handle my tasks and duties better than before, and I was able to free some space for things I loved to do and people I love to spend time with.  

Do you feel like you need a change in life but you’re not sure where to start? Follow these steps:

Find a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon you want to run and SIGN UP!

If you never run, I would suggest signing up for a 5k (3.1 miles) to start off. If you casually run, maybe a 10K (6.2 miles) or a half marathon (13. 1 miles) would be a better fit. If you’ve ran a half marathon before, I challenge you to sign up for a full marathon (Disney marathon is on my list). Destination races are always fun. I ran my first half marathon in Waco, TX and got to see Chip and Joanna Gaines – which was SO TOTALLY EXCITING!! They also have scenic races along the coasts, in the mountains, and through national parks, as well as some locally in BR and New Orleans. Once you register and pay the money, there’s no going back. Plus your money will go to a good cause – win, win.

Find a training schedule that fits you and STICK TO IT

I searched online for a 6 week schedule, since my race was in 6 weeks. There are tons of different schedules online or you can download an app that fits your needs. There are lots of running apps that will help – couch to 5k, map my run, etc. The hard part is sticking to your schedule. This will become priority in your life and you must learn to be self-disciplined in sticking to your schedule. If you do, you will see results!

Find people who will hold you accountable

Your husband? Your best friend? Mother? Sister? Co-worker? Spin instructor? Let them all know you’re working towards this goal. Chances are they will want to cheer you on. Give a copy of your training schedule to someone who can hold you accountable and check in periodically to make sure you are sticking to it! Some days you will want to just sit on the couch and it helps to have someone pushing you to get up!

Cross Train

Cycling, swimming, body pump, and yoga are all great ways to cross train. I attended body pump class every Tuesday to gain strength. Yoga became my new best friend. Cycling and swimming are also great ways to keep up the cardio while giving your joints a break.

Eat right and drink TONS of water

I learned my first week that I would not be able to run long distances AND eat poorly. I found myself becoming dehydrated easily, out of breath, and out of energy. I quickly had to change my diet if I wanted to reach my goal. I cleared out my fridge and pantry and restocked with things like, yogurt, oatmeal, CLIF bars, veggies, bananas, chicken, salad fixings, vitamins, and green tea. Also, anything carbs! Your body needs carbs to maintain the long distances, so yes, bread was my friend! Drinking water also became second nature to me. I had a water bottle at arms length at all times, every day. They say to drink half your body weight in ounces. In order to stay hydrated for your runs, you MUST drink lots of water.

Keep a journal to track your progress

This helped me to reflect on each week of my training and to see clearly how things were evolving. I kept track of each exercise I did each day, my energy level, mood, my emotional state, my weight, and a quick summary or overview of my week. Looking back, I can tell how much my overall outlook changed from week 1 to week 6.

Enjoy the journey

As Miley Cyrus would say, “It’s the cliiiiiimb.” Looking back, the journey was more exciting than crossing the actual finish line – okay, well, getting a high five from Joanna Gaines WAS pretty darn exciting. But my point is, now that I’m done, I can see how the hard work, the support from my friends and family, the drive and motivation to reach my goal was more exciting than the aftermath. It may be hard at times, but try to enjoy the process itself.

Be proud of your accomplishment

Finishing a race is a great accomplishment. Achieving any goal is a great accomplishment. Be proud. You’ve worked so hard and you deserve to treat yourself. Order a large pizza, eat it all to yourself, get those nails done, and schedule a full body massage at your favorite spa – and don’t you dare feel bad about it! 

Don’t stop

Once the race is over, don’t stop. Choose another race and repeat the steps! Give yourself some time to rest and then get back up on that horse. Every race I run, I try to beat my time from the last race. Whatever you do, don’t stop. You will continue to grow and your life will improve little by little over the course of time.

Throughout my 6 weeks of training, my whole life improved. My diet and overall health improved. I have a more positive outlook on life. I’m less stressed, feeling stronger, and can handle anything thrown my way without totally freaking out. My relationships have improved, my home is more organized, and I can now easily live in the present without waiting for Friday to hurry up and get here.

Your life will only change for the better if you make the decision to start running today. You have to crawl before you walk, so start small, make a realistic goal for yourself, and see your life change before your eyes. You will love yourself for it.

Brooke was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and grew up in Denham Springs. She attained a degree in English from Southeastern Louisiana University. After she graduated, she went on to become an English teacher to a variety of different age levels. Brooke is a single mother whose number one priority is to guide her beautiful eight-year-old daughter, Kameron, through a Christ-centered life. Some of her favorite things to do are run the LSU lakes, go to festivals around the area, and drink an immense amount of coffee! Travels, adventures, and weekend getaways are a necessity to balance out her busy and often-times chaotic life!

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