Learn to Love Rest

So on Sunday I did my 8 mile long run. On the last mile or so I had some pain in my left knee. I knew this was no good because Olivia has struggled with an ITB fiction injury for some time. I know  it can keep you down. So I had the next day off and I talked to my friend Jerry who just completed an Ironman Triathlon (!). He’s also a physical therspist so he knows what he’s talking about…

He said yes, it was swollen and I needed to take it easy so it didn’t get worse. Ir’s an overuse injury so I needed to “underuse” it this week. He told me to cut my runs in half and stop if it begins to hurt again. He also said to take ibuprofen (anti-imflammatory) and showed me some stretches I could do.

I’m happy to report that I did six miles today and no knee pain! It definitely shows the absolute importance of rest and listening to your body. Training for a marathon (or any race, really) is a lot of stress on the body and we need to respect that process. According to Jerry, that’s one of the reasons we train so long…to give ourselves a chance to learn about what works and what doesn’t, to be able to rest and recover.

Thanks, Jerry!

A Little Uncomfortable

So, on today’s long run (8 miles), I had…how do I say it…trapped gas. By the end it was gone (and no I didn’t “get rid” of it in Central Park!) and I felt better. But, it was very uncomfortable. That’s something that’s happened to me a few times since losing the weight. It gets very painful and I’m pretty much a baby with pain.

But, I made the target pace I wanted (avg around 9:30). I found this great calculator online (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm) that you input your fastest 5k (or any other race) and it tells you what you can run the marathon (or any other race) in. It’s very helpful…my fastest 5K about a month ago was 24:43 so it says I should be able to shoot for around 4 hours for the marathon. Yes! So my long runs should be between 9:42-10-42 avg pace. I feel okay going a little faster, but not too much — I know it’s important not to overdo it.

Somebody asked on my last training blog how I went from not running at all to a 9 min mile avg pace. The short answer is just continually running and having a desire to go faster. Some people are quite satisfied with a slower pace and I think that is awesome. There is no requirement that you have to push for a faster time. I just WANTED to be faster. I’m competitive. I love pushing my limits to see what I can do. I’m so excited/thankful that I can actually do that with my body now. At 297 lbs one year ago I couldn’t push much of anything except bigger pant sizes.

So, how did I get faster? I ran the half marathon in April at just over 10 min/mile avg pace. I decided in the time between that and the start of training of the marathon I would try and get faster. So I started doing some interval work. They’re called “Fartleks” and they obviously have a weird name (appropriate with today’s title:), but they work! I would do a mile at 9 min pace and then 1 at 11 min. I also did many short runs like the 5K and kept pushing for a faster time. One particular run with a friend who just did his first Ironman Triathlon (!) was pivotal. He coached me as we ran and I actually did my fastest mile up to that point (around 7:50). I knew I could do it then, so I just kept pushing.

Now I’m doing my Tuesday 5 mile run as a “tempo” run…a minute or so faster than the pace you want to run the race at. For me that’s 8/mile. This is a very hard run but pays off big time when I go my target pace. I then do the long run on Wednesday with some intervals. Right now 2 min fast, 1 min slow with an easy 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down. Once again, HARD, but worth it when I feel how much easier it is to run my target pace.

These are just my current experiences…I have SO much left to learn and I’m happy about that. Have you had success with other methods? Educate me.

Oh, and change a child’s life by sponsoring!!

Off On Mondays

I’m excited to share about my first full marathon training. I usually tweet about the runs, but these posts will delve a little deeper. I’m calling them “Off On Mondays” because my rest day is on Mondays! Pretty genius, huh?

Here’s a link to the plan I’m using. I actually got it when I registered my Nike GPS watch last month. I wanted something pretty challenging (to me) as I’ve been running all year and really wanted to “go for it.” All the while being conscious that this is my first Marathon and don’t want to overdo it. I feel god so far. My goal is right at four hours (!). That’s right around an average pace of 9 minutes per mile. Pretty crazy considering I probably couldn’t run a mile last year at this time…

On Thursdays I usually cross train – swim lately – but I missed the six mile run yesterday so I did it today. I’m doing intervals right now for the Wednesday run. I did 2 miles at around a 10 minute per mile pace and then 2 miles with 2 minutes fast (8ish) and 1 minute rest (walking). I then ended with 2 miles of another 10 minute pace. It was definitely a workout, but felt really good. I missed the swim, though. I may try to squeeze a short one in tomorrow.


Help Me Run – Help a Child

As many of you know I’m running the NYC Marathon on November 6 of this year! I’ve lost 113 lbs in the past year and a big part of achieving that has been running. I ran my very first half marathon in April. I’m well into training now and I am so excited!!

I am running for Team World Vision. World Vision is one of the largest and strongest humanitarian organizations in the world. They believe in helping children in the name of Jesus. You can find out more about what they do here:One of the primary ways they provide aid to the developing world is through child sponsorships. For around $1 per day you provide….

Clean water
Nutritious food
Health care
Educational opportunities
Spiritual nurture

As a child sponsor, you are connected with one special child who will know your name, write to you and feel your tender love and prayers.

Olivia and I have just sponsored our first child through World Vision. Her name is Lorine, she’s from Kenya, and we are so excited to pray for her and get to know her better. We are helping to change her life!

My goal is to get a child sponsored for each mile I run in the Marathon (that’s 26!). Would you consider sponsoring one of these children? It’s $35 per month. You can use the link below. Be sure to include my name on the form and then email me so I know to include you in my total! (benwardmusic {at} gmail.com).


Thank you and I look forward to changing lives with you!!!!