Just do it (I guess Nike was right)

Hi! I’m Gabrielle and I am a professional staff member for the Division of Recreational Sports. I work as a Coordinator of Operations, which means that I oversee the Natatorium and some of the students who work inside the facility (you know who you are). I love the Badgers, my dog Stella, and Kopp’s Grasshopper Fudge custard. Running has never come easily to me, but through a lot of hard work, I am running farther than I ever thought I could. Learn more about how I went from avoiding running to training for the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon!
“I’m not a runner.”
“My body doesn’t handle running super well.”
“I would rather have to eat all of the disgusting things.”
“Please don’t make me.”
Those were all of the excuses I used to not run. Wait, let me rephrase that. Those were all of the excuses that I could think of off of the top of my head for not running (in reality, there were thousands). Yet, here I am, a few days away from running the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon.
If you would have told me two years ago to go run 26.2 miles, I would have straight up laughed in your face. As someone who always said that I “wasn’t a runner”, signing up for a couple half marathons over the past few years challenged me. But I loved the training and the fact that it gave me something to look forward to and work towards.
I ran a couple half marathons this past year, my first being in November of 2017. For me, it was a huge mental challenge more than anything. I didn’t *actually* think that I could do it. 13.1 miles?? NO THANK YOU. But I did.
Fast forward to this year, when I signed up for a marathon and was like, “I’m going to go run 20 miles for fun, see you in three hours!” (To be completely honest, the *fun* part of the 20 miles thing has yet to happen). Truthfully, it’s hard work. One of my favorite (and least favorite on some days) things about running is that no one can do it for you. They can cheer for you, support you, and give you ice bags for your legs, but the only person who can run those miles for you, is yourself. You just have to show up. Bottom line. For each training run, each strength workout, each water break. You literally have to take it one step at a time (cue Jordin Sparks) and just work hard.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned from training, preparing, and running my way towards this weekend:

  1. DRINK ALL THE WATER. Folks, this one is hard for me but is helpful in the long run. (Get it?) Drink so much water you get uncomfortable, and then drink some more. This is not only helpful for running, but also for just being a good ol’ healthy person.
  2. Audiobooks and podcasts. Listen, audiobooks and podcasts might just save your life. For me, it is a great distraction from your legs, lungs, and body dying during your three hour training runs.
  3. Training snacks. I would always bring GU, Larabars, or dried fruit on my runs with me. These are all great options for getting quick calories, sugar, and carbohydrates.
  4. Supplemental workouts. I usually run four times per week, with my longer runs on Sunday. On the days when I’m not running I like to do some sort of strength training. I love going to cycling classes (ahem), barre, or just going for a walk! Some people like to lift, some like to play soccer – it is 100% up to you. Strength training of all kinds helps your body get stronger, so running becomes easier.
  5. Interval training. If you’re new to running, start by walking. It will be frustrating, and probably hurt your ego a little bit, but work yourself and your body into running. I started by running for two minutes and then walking for one. Then I increased it to three, four, five and now ten. It helps reduce injuries, allows your body to reset and has actually been proven to help you run faster on race day.

Throughout this process of “becoming a runner” (*cringe*), I have learned a lot. Overall, if I could give you one piece of advice it’s this: you can do whatever you want to do. If you want to be a scientist, but you’re not a “science person”, try. It will probably be hard, maybe even very hard, but if you want to be it or do it, then do it. If you want to be an actor or actress, go take acting classes, and then sign up for an audition. If you want to be a runner, lace ‘em up and start running. Don’t sell yourself short, and for what you don’t know how to do, Google.
Tune in to our Instagram Story this weekend to follow along as Gabrielle takes on New York City and the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon!