Guest article by Firina Achor
If you said to me last year I’d be running my first half marathon, I’d laugh at you. Here’s the thing with running for me, I used to not be a fan at all. I can go runs here and there. It was usually for charity events, work-related run events or I was tricked into doing it. The longest I’d ever ran before I started to train for my half marathon was about 10 km, at a pace at which I couldn’t even tell you… that was a time where I was tricked.
I love a good workout, my body is used to training for that. For those that don’t know a half marathon is 21 km or 13.1 miles. That’s an excessive amount of running!
My half marathon journey began early January 2020, the team at Vancouver Running Company and Nike Toronto sent us an email about a program they are launching called “Project Fearless”, this project brought together a group of 13 women from different backgrounds and running abilities. During the presentation Nike Toronto put together, I came to realize I was the only person who’s never been in a race or ran anything more than 10 km. My competitive self was up for this challenge. We were set up with a 13-week training program on the Nike Running App and everyone got some cool Nike gear.
I knew for my first race, I needed to keep it simple and not overthink EVERY single thing I did to get me to that finish line. So my training began, I decided to schedule all my runs and other workouts into my calendar so that way it will keep me accountable. The plan is to run 5 days a week and cross or strength training 2 times on top of that, so scheduling EVERYTHING helped me stay focused and not overwhelmed. As I started to train for my race, I realized how important it is to be gentle on yourself. There were days where I was ALL up in my head and that didn’t help at all. It made the runs feel much longer and harder, I’m not saying these runs were easy. Not one bit, but the days I started my runs with a mantra such as “ I am strong, I am powerful” or “ it costs nothing to believe in yourself and everything not to. You got this run”… Those days I either had one of my best paces or just felt good overall.
This sport has helped me gain so much physical endurance, more importantly during my 13-week training running has taught me to appreciate the moments I have with myself. Learning to appreciate yourself is the greatest gift running has taught me to be proud of.
Our day to day life is consumed by Instagram, Facebook, the news and so many things competing for our attention. I’ve learned to completely tune it out. When people say they run to meditate, it’s true… Running is like meditating. You don’t want to overly think and you don’t want to stress, you want to take each step by step and breathe.
So celebrate each win, no matter how big or small.