It’s my turn to welcome you to our Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon training blog. If you’re relatively new to running, or this is your first half marathon, I particularly want to encourage you. It’s never too late to start, and I’m a perfect example of that.
When I was growing up in San Francisco, I was a city boy. I didn’t play any sports; in fact, honestly, I was encouraged notto do anything athletic. It wasn’t until college that I started exercising. I went to U.C. Davis, so everyone rode bikes and I got pretty serious about biking. And some friends introduced me to racquetball.
Then my older brother encouraged me to join a gym and we both started running and joining races. I remember my dad saying, “You just want to get those T-shirts,” and I think that’s true – I did. Running was really popular at the time, and T-shirts were sort of a badge of honor. Plus there were all the other goodies they gave out, like PowerBars. We practically lived on them.
Here’s an example of how much things can change. I remember in high school when Bay to Breakers came around every year, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could do that. But the first time I ran the Bay to Breakers myself, I ran from my parents’ house all the way down to the start of the race, then ran the whole race, which almost doubled the length! And I’d just ridden a double century the day before. Of course, I could hardly walk afterwards!
Endurance running is a great fitness choice because it’s easy to get started. You don’t have to maintain a bike or load up your racquet and drive to a court—you can run from your front door. And lots of other people run, so you have lots of support and encouragement. For a long time I had a boss who ran, and she’d ask me, “How’s your running?” and I’d feel compelled to have an answer for her. As soon as you start talking about running a half marathon, you’ll find that lots of other people run too and love to talk about it.
It is important not to push yourself too hard in the beginning, though. If you get injured, you may be sidelined for a long time and lose everything you worked for, which can be really frustrating. So start slow, go easy on yourself, and build up gradually. The Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon is in February, so you have plenty of time.