Tag Archives: half marathon

My First Trail Run

In late summer a wild idea popped into my head. Our F3 group should do a trail run together in the rocky terrain of northwest Arkansas. I’m sure that is probably due to the event advertisement for the Bella Vista Back 40 Trail Run popping up on my Facebook timeline.

I had to talk myself into it before asking anyone else to join me. In the past I had told myself and others that I wouldn’t do a trail run due to the risk of injury.

After I decided I would do it, I sent a note to the F3 group and found out that Yazoo and Sniper were planning to go as well. So, we signed up for the 13 mile run.

Sniper and I trained together on the trails around Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Arkansas a couple of times. And I trained on those trails four different times.

I found out quickly during our first training run that I would need shoes specifically for trail running in this rocky terrain. I love my Brooks Ravenna running shoes. So the next week I went to Rush Running in Bentonville and asked them to give me the trail running version, it was the Brooks Cascadia 10.

My longest training run at Lake Atalanta was about 7 miles at a pace of 10:40/mile. This may sound like a slow pace to road runners, but I assure you I was moving quite well for a new trail runner in that terrain and elevation variance.

The Trails at Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Arkansas are well maintained and they are marked with various levels of difficulty. I highly recommend these trails for a new trail runner. It is near historical downtown Rogers and after your run you can quickly jog or drive up the hill and have a cup of coffee and breakfast.

There are also numerous paved trails around Lake Atalanta that I train on regularly including an option to train on the grueling hill between the lake and the Railyard Mountain/BMX bike park which adjoins the downtown area.

My first training run of two miles caused a good bit of soreness in the hips and calf muscles. So, I made sure to start using the lateral movement elliptical machine on my cross training days at the gym.

On the week of the Back 40 race I checked the weather forecast and everything looked clear but cold. So I geared up appropriately with my running gloves and UA Cold Gear top and leggings (I wore my branded gear from my online store). I also wore my Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes that I picked up at Rush Running in Bentonville and my Junk headbands to cover my ears and neck.

On race morning I ate my protein bar and drank a Zipfizz. I met Yazoo and Sniper at the parking area at Bella Vista Blowing Springs park and we started our pre-race prep. This actually just means that we went to the restroom a couple times until we had everything out before the race started. We also did a few active stretches and static stretches.

The starting line was packed and buzzing with excitement. The race organizers of this event, along with the volunteers, are amazing. The starting line area, as well as all the aid stations, are well supplied and supportive. And the runners are all kind on the trails.

This event had distances from 5K, 13 mile, 20 mile and 40 mile for the run. There was also a mountain biking event the next day with the same distances.

We started the race and had a fun time together running in the woods of Bella Vista. The trails were nice but challenging to a new trail runner. I definitely used a few different muscles and ligaments in my hips and legs that I normally don’t use as much in paved running. But my training helped mitigate that.

I really enjoyed the Back 40 trail run and the mumblechatter with the folks on the trail. And to top it all off, they had fried catfish for all the finishers at the finish line.

Half Marathon for the Beginner: 7 Days until the race

I’ve written about training, nutrition, hydration and the gear you need. We’ve been training for a few months now and we have one week to go. What now?

This is the weekend before the big race. We want to hit our distance and pace targets next weekend. So, we have to start allowing our bodies to recover and be at full strength and health on race day.

There is always the thought for the novice runner that you have one more week to train and gain. But at this point, if you push a long run this weekend, you’ll take recovery time away from your body and it won’t be able to perform at the highest level next weekend. So any gain you might get from an extra long run this weekend won’t be realized in the result.

Here’s the plan I’ll be using for the second year.

This weekend, a week before the race, my long run will only be 8.5 miles max. I’ll have to force myself to stop. We will all be tempted to go ahead and run to 9 miles or round off to 10 miles. Don’t do it. Leave something in the tank as hard as it may be.

If you are like me you probably did 10 miles last week and probably 11 miles the week before that at the pace we wanted. We can do it. You don’t have to prove to anyone that you can do it again the week before the race.

The week of the race, our mid-week routine is going to switch up too. Instead of 3 to 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and cross training cardio 40 minutes on Friday, we are only going to run 2 to 3 miles on Monday and then run 2 miles max on Wednesday.

Do your cross training cardio on Tuesday for 30 minutes max on the bike (something sitting). It is also fine to skip leg day for this week (but just this week), and don’t work on your core in the weight room after Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will simply be passive recovery days.

Remember, hydration starts at least 2 days before the race and the big carb meal is also 2 days before the race, with a smaller carb meal the night before.

You’ve probably heard that one guy say he just goes out and runs and doesn’t think about all this. Well, that’s his thing. Maybe I’m not a natural runner, I have to train for it and prepare for it. I’ve made mistakes before my long training runs that I don’t want to repeat. I made mistakes before my last half marathon (drinking too much within an hour before the race) that I don’t want to repeat. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and be ready to run.

Running The Life Marathon #KeepOnKeepingOn

The New Testament writers were inspired to use sports analogies on several occasions.

Paul writes about finishing the race in 2 Timothy. This year I ran my first half marathon and I now better understand what Paul’s intentions were when writing this passage.

The first time that you run a distance of 13.1 miles and finish in a time under two hours, you experience several stages of physical discomfort and mental doubt along the way. In preparation I did several shorter distance training runs before the attempt, but actual race day has its own obstacles that can thwart your pace goals.

This is similar to life as we steadily hurdle through our timeline to our final breath. Yet with this current body we only get one shot at the life marathon. Your life marathon training happens along the route, so don’t miss the training stops in the ultra-marathon of life.

In the life marathon we are not trying to finish faster to reach a PR, we are trying to find crowns along the journey. We are collecting treasure that is incorruptible and payable upon first death. Although, earning a crown in this life can bring joy and new energy while we are still in the race, similar to a gel pack in a long run.

During our life marathon we also train our physical bodies in part to help extend the life marathon. Remember the goal is to fulfill God’s purpose for your life which has a base goal of the Great Commission which is to make disciples, baptize them, and teach Jesus’ commands. (Matthew 28:18-20).

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7‭-‬8 NASB