Some Things I’m Learning… – Rebecca Gillem

Hello Internets.  I just wanted to include a little update on my training and some encouraging words to those of who out there who might be beginner runners.

I have been a leisurely runner since high school.  I have never ran a distance longer than 4.5 miles so working up to 13 for this half-marathon is going to be a challenge but I’m ready for it.  My goal is to have finished 7 miles by the end of October so please keep me accountable!   My strategy is to just increase my distance in small steps so that I don’t overload my body and risk injuries.  I’m at 3.5 miles right now so I’m in a good position to achieve this goal (or even surpass it). 

I have some tips and encouragement to pass along that I’ve encountered during my training:

1)      Small steps.  There are apps like Couch to 5K which help you build your endurance and get you used to running by doing intervals of running and walking.  I’ve never used one but I did start out simply by running a half-mile then walking a half-mile until I worked up to running the entire mile without walking in between. 

2)      Be mentally strong.  Physical strength is an obvious necessity for athletes, but mental strength might be an even greater need.  Your mind has to be strong enough to suppress any negativity that comes your way.  Negativity comes in different forms like discouraging words from friends or family, seeing fitness models all over Pinterest, or even thoughts from your own mind.  Just remember in life, it gets better and in running, you get better.  I like to whisper things under my breath to keep me going when I’m running.  My go-to phrase is, “I can do all things.  ALL THINGS” which refers back to a bible verse (Phillippians 4:13).  But I also mutter, “You’re doing great!” or “Almost there!” 

3)      Pick a song.  Music accompanied runs help get your legs moving to a beat or help you think about something besides each step.  Different music appeals to different runners but for me, I like to run to music like Taking Back Sunday because it’s harder and it makes me feel more energized.  Some people like rap because of the beats and others like to run to NSYNC.  Just try a few different playlists out and find what moves you.

4)      Water.  I’m still working on my water intake but remember that water is important all day.  I recommend buying a large water bottle with markings for the ounces so you can keep track of how much you drink each day.  I have a Nalgene bottle but there are several different options out there.  If you use plastic water bottles, please recycle your empties.

5)      Reward yourself.  Assign rewards for certain goals.  For example, when you finish your first 5K, buy a new pair of running shoes or some other item that will serve as a reminder of your hard work paying off.  This will help your mental strength too!

Like I said, help keep me accountable to my goals and watch for more progress updates from me.  We’re all in this journey together to make strong leaders out of young women at Eastern and everywhere. Also, please consider making a donation for our efforts as well!  Your contributions help carry Eastern Further.

–Rebecca Gillem


Categories: The Team


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