Training: A Little Love for the Back of the Pack

The captain has a lot of purple gear.

On Saturday, we had our first official Team in Training run of the season, and my first as a captain. My IT band was griping at me, so I cut my pace back and opted to do only 2 miles (the half marathoners’ distance) as opposed to the 4 I had planned to crank out as I prep for my 10K in Boston.

As it turns out, I ended up actually walking a lot of the distance as I chatted with and cheered on two Team in Training newbies. One was a never-runner and the other described herself as someone who had successfully completed two full marathons, “then celebrated by parking on the couch for a few years and gaining 60 pounds.” Both needed a little extra encouragement, and I took it upon myself to talk them through it. Hopefully it did the trick!

After the run, we went inside Clif Bar HQ for Marathon University (side note: cool place and I’d love to work there). Not only did all of the mentors, captains and coaches get a chance to talk to the group, but we also had a shoe-and-gear clinic followed by an excellent injury prevention clinic hosted by SOL Physical Therapy from Oakland.

As I sat there, still bothered by my fussy IT band, it was like the SOL duo was talking directly to me, pointing out every single one of my weaknesses. I have no doubt that my ITBS problems stem from the loss of glute strength during my winter downtime. I’m hoping that if I’m diligent with my foam roller, anti-inflammatories, acupuncture and massage, I should have this thing under control before Boston. (Fingers crossed.)

Have you ever mentored a new runner? How do you convince someone that they’ll be able to nail 13.1 miles in five months?

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3 Responses

  1. Pretty much all I’ve got for convincing is that I did it and I couldn’t run half a mile when I started running. I did start 11 months before the half, but just went up to 3 miles on the Couch to 5k and stuck there until three months before the half. So every training run over 3 miles was the furthest I’d ever run. It also may help to be reminded that there’s no shame in walking parts of the half. It took away a little bit of the fear for me, knowing that it’s not all or nothing.

  2. Alisa says:

    One of the things that I tried to explain was that not only is walking not completely verboten, it’s actually part of a run-walk technique that even some marathoners use. They seemed a bit incredulous, but hopefully they’ll stick with it!

  3. Jason says:

    Remember that people run SUB-3 MARATHONS with the run-walk technique!

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