Back in 2015, my mom and Cody ran the Bix 7 in Davenport, IA. The Bix is a famous 7 mile race with thousands of participants. I did not think it was my thing at all, but once I saw what it was really like, I truly regretted not training for it. Although there are very serious competitors who participate, it is ultimately a race that is all about having fun. Dozens of bands perform alongside the course, and people who live nearby set up diversions to entertain the runners. When Cody told me what the course had been like, I was so jealous! I swore up and down that by the time the next Bix came around, I would be ready to run it. Unfortunately, I let life get in the way, and the 2016 Bix came and went. I knew that 2017 would be my last chance to accomplish my goal before we moved, so in February, I started training.
I used the Nike+ Run Club App for my training. I absolutely love this app. It has dozens of different plans to suit several different ability levels and goals (including distance and speed). At the end of each week, it adjusts the remainder of the training plan based on your performance that week. As far as running apps go, I think that this one is the most versatile. I also just find it enjoyable to use, which is always nice when you’re doing something that you don’t especially want to be doing.
At first, I could barely run a whole mile without stopping. I wish I could say that I diligently ran every mile that the app told me to, but to be perfectly honest, I sometimes went entire weeks without doing a single run. In fact, there was a three week period in May when Cody had to be away and I didn’t run at all. For me, the key to my success was less about my physical ability and more about my mental toughness. My body was capable of running those 7 miles, but my mind didn’t know that.
I found that the best way to keep my mind from getting the best of me was to listen to podcasts and audiobooks while I ran. I am a person who gets bored pretty easily, so finding something that kept me entertained during long runs was integral to my training. If you struggle mentally with distance running, try to switch up what you’re doing. Get out on a trail, listen to something new, hop on a treadmill and watch television, anything that will keep your mind engaged will help you get over the mental slump.
In one month from now, you’ll be amazed at how far you have come.