by megan krumm, sales account coordinator
'‘Beat your own best!’' are words to live by here at nuun. We are continually striving to push our boundaries and limitations in an effort to accomplish big, hairy, audacious goals. For someone, that might mean finally crushing your PR and finally getting that BQ. For another it might be overcoming your swimming fears and completing your first triathlon. For me? I decided to attempt two new distances within a year; a full Ironman and a 50K. Two things I thought I could/would never do. I finished my first half Ironman thinking, “Yup, I would never be able to double that.” I crawled across the line of my first marathon thinking, “I will never run further than this… ever!” Turns out, I was thinking too much about how I wouldn’t, not that I actually couldn’t, do those things.
So, the challenge was on! I was going to prove to myself that I had the dedication to push and train for two distances I thought I couldn’t do. Last year, I completed an Ironman and a 50K within 2 months of each other. AND since it was such an eye opening experience for me, I thought I would share a few tips, tricks and reasons why I think you can (and should) step up your game and go the distance as well!
1. Pick Your Poison
Assuming you already have a goal in mind, it’s time to get it on the calendar. Simply signing up for an event can be one of the hardest parts. It makes it more real, and that’s scary. But getting that date penciled in will help keep you motivated and working towards that light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Follow a Plan
If you're chasing a big goal, don’t go into it thinking you can wing it and create your own training plan. Depending on the distance or event you’re working toward, I highly recommend hiring a coach. Nothing compares to the feeling of someone else telling you how, what, and when to do something. I appreciated that my coach was able to give me more tailored workouts and valuable feedback. If cash is limited, there are also a number of free training plans floating around the internet that are extremely helpful as well.
3. Invest the Time
Time has been found to be a top reason why people don’t train for endurance events. Finding the hours to dedicate to training each week can be tough especially given factors like a full time job, raising kids, or finding enough time to eat healthy and get enough sleep. There are never enough hours in the day. But in my experience, all you have to do is start a habit and the rest of your schedule will follow. This process doesn’t happen over night; it takes time to build strength and endurance.
4. Strengthen Your Core
Logging all these miles may not get you anywhere fast if you aren’t strengthening your core. Your core (everything except your head, arms and legs) is your steering wheel. Having a rock solid core gives you greater balance and stability, and decreases your rate of injury significantly. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. But now I always make sure I am keeping my glutes, hips, back, and abs strong.
5. Respect the Church of the Long Workouts
Like church, long workouts are a weekend ritual. It’s the workout where you focus on distance and not speed. Don’t dread those long workouts! Make your long runs or rides suck less by avoiding the same routes you’re used to. I would try to mix it up and find as many new places to train that I could. So, research different routes! Take a little drive and explore somewhere new. If you have a buddy that would help drive you, make things extra fun and create a point-to-point route. Training in a new environment helps keep your mind stimulated, which makes time go faster. Give your knees a break and take it off road, go to the trails or the mountains, invite a friend for the company or fly solo for a little introspective and soul-searching experience.
6. Train Hard, Recover Harder
Going distances your body isn’t used to going will definitely take its toll, and I discovered that recovery is an extremely valuable part of your training and should be taken seriously. You form a really close relationship with your foam roller, get used to wearing compression clothing, find the love/hate relationship with ice baths, and eat/drink lots and lots of protein. Chocolate milk chugging contests may become a thing.
7. Toe That Starting Line
So you’ve been training for months, maybe longer, and it’s finally the day you’ve been counting down to. Getting to that start line takes guts and heart. Lay it all on the line and trust in your training. You’ve worked your butt off, now it’s time to show em what you’re made of!
One thing’s for certain, you will always look back on this and realize what you accomplished and be proud of the time, blood, sweat and tears you poured into it. It’s eye opening to see what the human body can do and how far you can push it. Endurance training becomes a mental game so staying headstrong through it all is half the battle. If there is anything I learned from my experience, it's that the greater the sacrifices, the greater the reward.
Very well said, great Plan details, very helpful approach to the discipline needed to accomplish the Plan. Quite inspiratonal too, Miss Megan Krumm. Thank you.