When people hear about my training as a triathlete, I think they always assume that exercise is second nature to me. When, in all reality, exercise has never been easy for me. When my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. calling me to the gym, I have the same reaction that most people would have. I want to stay in bed and not go to the gym; I want to go back to sleep.
This is the first time I've attempted a full marathon. It's a long time coming -- I've been avoiding this particular challenge for a while. I love triathlons because there are multiple events for me to focus on, but marathons are entirely different. Running is actually my least favorite part of the triathlon. When it comes to long distance running, the real challenge for me isn't the running itself, it is fighting the boredom that comes along with running for four hours or more.
Training for a marathon is a lengthy process that is hard for everyone. There are good days and there are bad days. Some days, you’re going to wake up to run three miles and only run one – because that’s what runners do. Other days, you’ll run your entire goal and feel great.
Personally, I'm particular about how I go about training for a run. I have to pick routes that don't make me pass up my starting line again. It adds to the boredom if I’m just watching the same things go by again and again. There a lot of great tips out there for training for a run. Here’s a link to my favorite golden rules of running. Following these rules, like the ten percent rule that you shouldn't increase your training mileage by more than ten percent a week, really helps my training.
If there is anything that I really want people to understand about running and exercise in general, it is that this is not easy for anyone -- no matter what your fitness level is. A lot of people don't start off running, many begin with just walking. Even walking makes a difference in getting to your goals, every bit that you do counts. The biggest thing about running, or getting in shape, is having patience with yourself. The older you are the more patient you have to be with the process.
I am so excited to see DHH taking on this challenge. It is great to see so many people coming out of their comfort zones to try something new and great for their health. The best part about all of us taking this on is the overwhelming support that comes from such a fantastic team working together. On the good days and the bad days, at least we are all in this together.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary
Kathy is an avid triathlete, taking on the challenge of her first full marathon with the 2015 Louisiana Marathon. When she isn't running a state department or keeping up with her triathlon training, she loves spending time with her grand kids. Follow Kathy on twitter @KathyRunsLaDHH