Guest Post: Running with Sara

Hi Fitnessista Readers!

My name is Sara and I have recently started up a blog about my passions, exercise (‘counter-eating’) and food (eating). Not necessarily in that order…. I am absolutely thrilled to be guest posting for Gina about Half Marathon-ing/running/training plans…

I want to start off by saying, about 2.5 years ago, I could barely run a mile. Literally. After binge drinking and eating college, I had packed on about 30 lbs onto my 5’9” frame. Formerly a lean and fit high school 3 season varsity athlete, I felt horrible, hated the way I looked, and was generally out of shape and unhappy. I decided to make a change right before my 25th birthday when I had naturally shed some of the weight (cutting out 4 of the 7 nights a week of drinking and the late night pizza/fries/etc. was pretty much the key here…).

I had about 20 lbs to go and decided, on a whim, that I should become a runner and lose the last 20 or so lbs that way. Bear in mind I was the girl who dry heaved after running a mile for Varisty Field Hockey. Swore up and down I would never run unless being chased by the police someone…I was NOT A RUNNER.

So what’s the point here? If I can do it? Anyone can. I started tacking minutes and quarters of miles onto my runs. I shared my successes with my boyfriend who congratulated me as the miles grew longer and longer and easier and easier. I challenged myself to increase my speed as I ran….I didn’t have a formal plan, I just…RAN…


Down the Hudson River for starters….Miles behind those guys in the black t-shirts….

Then it came time to formally train for a half marathon and I froze psychologically. I could run about 4 miles at a 10 minute mile. I didn’t think there was any way I was getting any further. But a coworker I had just met had a half marathon plan posted up on her cubicle. I casually questioned her about it and quickly directed to my savior…Hal Higdon. Lurveeeee <3

His half marathon training plan, followed loosely to some degree, has helped me through 3 half marathons (PR-ing at each race, (1) 2:15 (2) 2:03 (3) 1:53) in less than 2 years.

As I prepare to run my 4th on May 22nd, this is what I have learned and would like to share with you:

· If you miss a workout do not get discouraged. When I did this, I would psychologically assume it would “kill my training” in the long run. Absolutely not the case. I missed many workouts due to conflicts/work/drinking/life during all three of my training periods and have shaved time off my half marathon each and every time.

· Going back to first point, be realistic. You do not have to do as much work as the plan says. Cater it to your time, ability and desire. DO THE BEST YOU CAN.

· Much of running is psychological. Treat yourself WELL. Support yourself; get excited for small victories (tacking on an additional .2 miles, sprinting at the end, coming in a few seconds faster etc.) and stay positive.

· Try to find a buddy. Whether they are running with you or simply ‘cheering for you’, having someone support your cause will make your run infinitely more successful. Share your successes with someone. Loved one, coworker, friend, ME!! (Seriously, email me, I’m happy to cheer you on!!) It makes everything just that much easier and sweeter.

· Make sure that you are running with the right equipment. Good shoes are non-negotiable. When I started running in my 5 year old New Balances, I developed knee problems and shin splints right away. Get fitted for shoes and wear comfortable, breathable clothing.

· If you run with music (I don’t) switch up your playlists. Make them fun and enjoyable. Go a little crazyyy! Gina posts amazing play lists here, so use some of hers.

· Try not to take it too seriously. It’s just running. And no one too scary is chasing you J

Whether or not you’re a runner, how do you ‘SUPPORT YOURSELF’ when you work out???


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  1. fittingbackin on May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Awesome post! I’m new to running so it’s nice to read about someone who was where I was and who has come so far! Great tips – I’ve been really beating myself up over missing workouts this past week due to travel – nice to know it didn’t negatively impact your training!!

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet on May 17, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I am soooo not a runner and this gives me hope that maybe one day I will be!

  3. Jess @ Jessica is Getting Fit on May 17, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Your story is a lot like mine – I love your tips! Thanks for the info!

  4. Nicole @ Making Good Choices on May 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I am dying to run a half marathon. I just need to pick a date and do it!

  5. Bekah @ runtrackmind on May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Sara, fantastic post…so many great tips.

  6. Erin on May 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

    This is a great post. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been trying to motivate myself to break out of the 4-mile rut. Maybe this will do it. 🙂

  7. Amara on May 17, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Hey –amazing time on that last half!! Thanks for the post.

  8. Annie on May 17, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Very inspiring post. I am on week three of Couch 2 5K. I hated running for sports. I was the girl who always finished the warm up runs in soccer last. I recently decided to tackle running. I bought new shoes and had a blast making playlists. Hint: for the 90 second intervals, use old-school Jem and the Hologram songs. AMAZING. 🙂
    I actually like having a schedule. If I know I can’t run in the afternoon due to work/life/drinking, I get up early and do it. If I wasn’t following a plan, I’d just skip that day.

  9. Ilana on May 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Wow thank you so much for this post! I just decided I want to learn how to run and I had basically no idea where to start.

    To keep myself from getting frustrated or pushing myself too hard when I work out, I remind myself, “I’m just having fun!” It’s something my Pilates instructor likes to say when we try something new or difficult and I always keep that thought with me.

  10. allison @ thesundayflog on May 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

    i really loved this post! i am not a runner, at all, myself. this just shows to me that it really is possible. im in relatively good shape – i eat well and exercise, but i have terrible asthma, and running and i just don’t mix. i am so determined to do a sprint tri, so having read this, i am more determined than ever. thanks for a great guest post!

  11. Retta @ RunRettaRun on May 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Love this post! I always said I am not a runner. I trained myself to run longer and longer distances and though I’m not the fastest girl on the block, it’s all about proving it to myself. Again, LOVE. 🙂

  12. Jessica @ Dairy Free Bety on May 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    this is great!! I used to be a runner, but have gotten out of it recently… must get back on the wagon!! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. sarah on May 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Great post, Sara! I’m one of those “dry-heave” runners… I’ve gotten better, I can run a mile, but I’ve always wanted to be able to take a run around town like my husband can. You’ve given me some motivation to keep trying!

  14. eatdrinkandbemerrynyc on May 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for all the fantastic comments! You are all fabulous and surely right on your way!!! 🙂 And inspiring to ME!!

  15. This is a great post. Its really reaffirming to read that she had trouble running a mile 2.5 years ago. That is me right now so the thought of being able to run a 1/2 marathon seems completely unobtainable. I’m going to check out those running plans and Get started!!

  16. on May 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    i try to talk positively to myself when i run or do any exercise. its the positive thought that push me through. any negative ones MUST be replaced <3

  17. Carla on May 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I can personally attest to Sara’s inspirational ways, we met on a SELF forum a while back and she was one of my main inspirations in running! I too, had never run and just completed a 10 mile race!! It is so true that ANYONE can do it, and subsequently, fall in love with it!

    Additionally you all MUST read Sara’s blog as she is hilariously entertaining and visits some of the most fabulous restaurants EVER. I am dying for the day when I can meet her awesome self in person! 🙂

  18. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter on May 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    This is such an inspiring story and tips!!! Ahhh I wanna get out there and run 30 miles (okay, okay, so I’ll only last about 3 or 4. Not the point though) haha

  19. Nicole on May 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

    So crazy that this was posted today. I walked in the Susan G Komen 5K Race on Sunday and I was starting to think that I could start training to RUN in it next year. I am definitely NOT a runner but this crazy little thought “maybe I could be” crept into my head. After reading this post it has given me more motivation and confidence to go ahead and start the training! Thank you 🙂

  20. Amelia on December 7, 2022 at 10:14 am

    Really interesting post. I always love running but your post encourages me the most. Now, I feel that I’m at next level. You’ve inspired me a lot! Thanks

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