At the end of last year, my friends Lauren and Don as well as Barry and myself decided to enter the Two Oceans Marathon (well, the half marathon, Barry will be doing the full because he rocks and has the fitness levels of a super athlete, no jokes). Barry, also being the spreadsheet wunderkind , developed a training program for us, and off we set on our daily runs, happily chatting our way through the first week or two of easy 3 and 4 kilometre sessions.(That would soon change)
Having just recovered from a foot operation in October, I was only allowed to start physical exercise in December, and was fairly nervous about my fitness levels which had crashed and died. Thankfully both foot and fitness levels recovered fairly decently and the raining got off to a good start.
We are now just under 5 weeks away from the big race, and our training schedule has become a lot more intense, and pretty much takes up all of our free time in the evenings. Look, I realise we aren’t doing anything that extraordinary (read Iron man, climbing Kili, Comrades etc), but for 3 people who have never run more than a 5km, I think we have come really far and I am exceptionally proud of the perseverance and dedication we have all given this – especially since the people around roll their eyes when we mention ‘training’ and pretty much all of our close friends couldn’t care less.
Another perk to all this training is the awesome kit we get to experiment with, and being a bit of a gadget girl there are several items I could not do without when training. If you are looking to get into running, or any other form of exercise, I suggest investigating some of these handy items.
The first item is an incredible tool called ‘Runtastic‘ which is an app for most phone models (iOS, Android, Blackberry). Runtastic tracks distance, speed, time as well as provides a host of other information. The app even speaks to you during your run, tracking your distance and motivating (sometimes) along the way.
The device which I use the most is my Polar heart rate watch and foot pod. the watch tracks heart rate zones, calories burnt and time and the footpod allows me to track distance and speed – all very helpful during a long training session. there is also nothing as motivating as seeing how many calories you’ve burnt and just how far you’ve pushed your body.
Speaking of calories burnt – this next app/website has proved invaluable during my training and has really helped me to focus on my eating. My Fitness Pal is an app which allows you to track your daily food intake as well as exercise, and works out calories eaten.It also predicts weight loss and weight gain depending on your daily calorie intake. The niftiest thing about the app is that, when used on your phone, it scans images of barcodes (yes, even local!) and lets you know nutritional content. The app also encourages you to invite friends, and view their progress. Nothing motivates one as much as your BFF becoming a skinny bitch before you, right?
Other handy websites I have found are Runners World, Womens Health and Shape magazine. These tools combined with a personal will to succeed, amazing running friends and a dream to cross that finish line have all been huge motivators!
Here’s to the early mornings, early nights, sacrificing Phuza Thursday and sticking to a goal!