Marathon Running for Dummies

I feel like I need a book like this! Does it exist? Yup, it does.

This week was week 2 of my 12 week half-marathon training plan for the New Bedford Half Marathon. So far it’s been very uneventful and not all that challenging. The first month of the plan is basically what I’ve been running all year as my base mileage. I knew I could probably jump into the training plan at week 4 with no issue, but I liked having a structured plan that I had to follow. I’ve never really properly “trained” for any sort of running race. I’ve done a ton of 5k’s and the only way I’ve gotten faster over the years is because I’ve been running for a longer period of time — practice makes better. I’ve always heard that you become a stronger runner by running more, and that has proven to be right with me. I’m starting to get into a groove now and I’m enjoying it.

The one thing I’m not enjoying, is running in the dark. With my work schedule, the best time for me to run is at night after work. Unfortunately, winter brings late sunrises and early sunsets. It’s still dark at 6 am when I would wake up to go for a morning run before work, and it’s dark by 5pm when I get home from work. What is a girl to do?

When I started getting serious about running in college, my mom always said to me “Please be careful when you’re running at night. I don’t want want you getting hurt!” For the first couple of years when I lived near my college campus, I got to run during the day between classes and when I had to run at night, I ran in a very well-lit area near Fenway Park. Now, I live on the other side of town – a much safer but also quieter part of town. That’s great for trying to get some rest at night, but not always so great for trying to find a safe and well lit running route. So this year, I finally invested in some reflective gear.

I tried out my new Nathan’s reflective belt last night on a 4 mile run around my neighborhood. I got it online about a month ago for $25 – not bad for running gear. It has a pocket for things like keys, money, chapstick, ID, gels, etc. and includes an “in case of emergency” card on the inside.

The verdict? I love it. It’s super light and doesn’t bounce around like crazy at all. The pocket is just big enough to fit the essentials, but small enough that it doesn’t get in your way. The belt was also super comfortable and fit perfectly around my waist. I also felt much safer. I don’t know how much it reflects, but it’s better than nothing. I think people could see me coming (more people got out of my way on this run than ever before) and I didn’t have any weird sort of accidental run-ins. Those suck. I also think it makes me look like some sort of running super hero. Or a crossing guard. You be the judge.

I also got these a while back – reflective ankle bracelets. I like them, but they’re not that comfortable on bare skin and I feel like it’s safer to have the reflective part be on your body than on your feet.

Counting down the days until summertime, when 6pm runs are filled with sunlight!

Happy weekend!