“Motivation remains key to the marathon: the motivation to begin; the motivation to continue; the motivation never to quit.” ~ Hal Higdon
It's true, you know. Running a marathon will change your life. But, it won't be easy. We are so honored to share this blog with you written by RADrabbit Monique Bienvenue as she trains for her first 26.2 and gets a little advice from rabbit co-founder Jill Deering in finding the right motivation to get her to the finish line.
I can remember the conversation like it took place yesterday. I was talking to my co-worker and former runner, Joe, about registering for my next race (the Two Cities Half Marathon) when he asked the question that used to make me cringe, “So you’ve ran multiple halves, when are you going to register for a full?”
I didn’t say anything right away; in fact, I avoided the question entirely and started laughing. Me? Run a full? The idea alone was daunting. Sure, my overall goal is to qualify for Boston one day, but did I feel like I was ready to finally tackle a marathon? No, definitely not. In fact, the mere thought of training for something of that nature freaked me out. Later that day, Joe passed by my desk again and I found myself saying something that shocked even me. I looked at Joe and told him that I was going to run the Surf City Marathon in February, 2017.
Later that day, I had a serious talk with myself. I looked at my planner and noted all the events, meetings, social gatherings, lessons and appointments that I had scheduled for the next few months. Being that I’m a pretty serious runner already, and have been racing regularly for the past two years, I always designate time in my schedule to run. Training for a marathon, however, meant double the mileage, double the time and more likely than not, double the exhaustion.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been a brand ambassador for an amazing running apparel company called rabbit for the past few months, and through its wonderful community of runners, I decided to reach out to rabbit Co-Founder and Elite Runner Jill Deering. Now just to give you some perspective, Jill is one BUSY lady. I’ve always considered myself a busy person, but this talented woman definitely takes “busy” to the next level. Not only is Jill a PHENOMENAL runner, she's also a full time attorney and the co-founder of one of the hottest running apparel companies in Southern California, rabbit. With a full time job, training (and qualifying for the Boston Marathon) and running a start-up, how on Earth does she do it?
Fortunately, Jill shared some of her wisdom with me as we discussed some of the things she does to balance being a talented attorney, an outstanding athlete and a tenacious entrepreneur.
Here's what she told me:
"I love running. I mean I really LOVE running, so it very rarely feels like a grind. Every night when I go to sleep, I can’t wait to wake up so that I can run. Is that weird?! That being said, it is hard to manage everything. Time management is vital. My life follows a relatively strict schedule so that I can fit it all in. I always plan running into my daily schedule and make it a priority. That means if I have an 8am meeting on the same day as a 2hr run, I am waking up very early to get it done. At times this can be hard to do, and can be stressful, but it’s ALWAYS worth it. I guess I operate with a fair amount of energy, because working a full day after a 20-mile morning run, takes a lot. But, here are some tips for those training and working a full time job:
Schedule your runs into your daily schedule, otherwise it’s too easy to lose track of time or skip a workout
If you fit your run in before you go to work, it will always get done
Most of us are never going to be Olympians, so remember why you run and always try to have fun with training
Keep extra running clothes and shoes at your office just in case you get off work early or have some other unplanned opportunity to run
Use 10 minutes of your lunch break every day to stretch and foam roll
A tired slow run is still a run
For ladies, blow drying is a luxury ;)
Remember how good you feel after a run and use that as motivation to get out the door and run!"
After the conversation I had with Jill, I knew I had to step up my game. Yes, I already took running seriously, and yes I already made time for it, but let's be real - sometimes it's easy to let life get the best of you and allow a workout (or two, or three) to go down the drain. So I tried rearranging my already busy schedule to focus more on training, and here's what I've learned thus far.
Sleep is important. Unfortunately for me, I already wake up at the crack of dawn to commute to work and get everything done for the day. Working in the Public Relations industry means being flexible, traveling a lot and being detail oriented every minute of the work day. After working 9-10 hours a day, my brain is usually fried - throw running into the mix and you have one TIRED individual. There have been a few days, however, that I thought I was invincible, worked like crazy, trained and only slept for about 4-5 hours. As you can imagine, I quickly learned that that was a terrible idea. The less I slept, the worse my workouts. Needless to say, my lesson was learned.
Meal prep is crucial. If you're always on-the-go like me, it's imperative to set time during the week to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. It's true what they say - the crappier you eat the worse you'll feel. I can always feel a significant difference in my energy levels and the qualities of my runs when I eat fast food as opposed to a healthy meal. And trust me, meal prepping makes life 100% easier during the week. After working long hours and training, the last thing you want to worry about is making time to cook a meal.
Remind yourself why you started. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to throw my running shoes at the wall because I didn't feel like I was progressing. Naturally competitive, I always strive to be the best at whatever I do, so when my Garmin tells me that I ran slower than I had anticipated, I want to quit. But as soon as I remember how much I've improved over the last two years, and all the amazing people and opportunities that running has brought me, it's easier to keep going.
Make a plan and REALLY stick to it. Every week, I sit down at my desk and schedule my workouts for the week. This helps me allot time to run, it helps me to accommodate my other priorities and it gives me a sense of calm knowing that I'm one step closer to achieving my goal. Does that mean sometimes skipping on a night with out friends? Yes. Does that mean waking up early on your days off? Yes. But goals are goals and if you are truly passionate about something, you will make time for it.
Stay hydrated. When you’re always on the go, it’s relatively easy to forget to drink water. There have been times where I don’t keep track of how much water I’ve drank, have gone out for a run and found myself suffering because I felt incredibly light-headed. It’s not a great feeling, and my workouts always suffer because of it. In order to prevent this from happening, I started to keep track of how much I’ve drank throughout the day by noting it in my planner. It might sound crazy, but I always perform much better when I’m hydrated.
There is strength in numbers. While there are some people that love to run mile after mile from sun up to sun down by themselves, there are people like me who are ready to go home after a few good miles. But as we all know, that doesn’t work when training for a marathon. In order to help keep myself accountable on days where I’ve scheduled distance runs I either invite a friend to join me or I purposely tell others what my plans are to help keep me motivated.
Running is a fabulous sport, and I have BIG plans for myself in the near future. But just like anything else, if you want to do something well you have to dedicate time and energy to the craft. With a half marathon coming up for me in November, and a full coming up in February, I have A LOT of work cut out for myself over the next few months. Fortunately for me, however, I’m part of a community of runners and dreamers who motivate me, inspire me and encourage me to stick to my goals every day. I may or may not qualify for Boston in 2017, but let me assure you, I will one day. If there’s anything that running has taught me over the past two years, it’s that nothing is impossible with a dedicated heart, a positive mentality and strong legs.
So keep dreaming, everyone. It’s that passion that ultimately gets you past the finish line. ;)
- Monique Bienvenue, RADrabbit
Note: All photos of me were taken by local Fresno photographer Megan Stone. Check out her work at @meganstonephotography!