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marathon, moms, mothers, pregnancy, races, running, Training

Race Virgins – Two Women Run their First Road Race

Karen Rossi and Amy Rauschman have a few things in common. Both are in their thirties, both work, both have families. Both are tall and slim. Both wear the Asics 2120 series running shoe. Both are running their first races this fall.

Karen has been a runner for a number of years but never took the plunge to run her first race until a friend egged her on. This friend, a runner who was also a “race virgin,” wanted someone to run with. Karen met that challenge and completed her first 5K race last weekend.

“I was hooked” she told me over the phone.  Karen’s goal was simple – run and maintain a 10 minute pace for the duration of the race. She found it easy, considering she’s been running up to 4 miles a few times a week pretty consistently over the past year. Proof that even running 15 miles or less a week can yield a strong race.  For a 5K, I know that all of these running magazines have these elaborate running plans, but let’s do a reality check:

Running three miles is not that far…..if you have been running consistently.

And you can quote me on that.

Now let’s look at Amy. Amy is not a runner. She ran a few hurdles races in highschool, but for what it’s worth, Amy is very much into yoga and not so much a runner. That said, she’s run a little before and she’s training for her first race next month.

I told Amy to follow the following plan for this week.  Run 2 miles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday, run 5 minutes, walk 1, etc. until she hits two miles. On Wednesday and Friday run one mile, walk 1 minute, then run 5 minutes, walk 1, run 5 minutes, walk 1 and voila, you are done.

On Saturday, run one mile, then do the run walk for the last two. This will give her an easy base week of 9 miles. 

On Monday evening, Amy called me. “Man, Alix, I feel great,” she said, “but tired. I ran the first 5 minutes and thought, this is easy! But then as I passed the first mile and went into then next, I started to tire. I was happy for the walk breaks.”

The run-walk is an excellent alternative if you are trying to get into shape. I used this method while training for the San Diego Marathon in 2002 while pregnant with my son. I proved easier on my joints and great for me who was tired all the time because I was pregnant.

I say take the plunge into your first race. Racing can be expensive because you have to pay about $20 or so and it adds up but doing one every so often is invigorating.  As Karen learned, you get to be in the spotlight without being on the stage. You get to reap the glory of crossing the finish line just like everyone else and you can sometimes get a great t-shirt. I have been known to skip the t-shirt so I don’t accumulate too many.

Run on, run fast, run wild.

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