Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to Run a Marathon in A Mile/Day

We’re on Day 9 of the Children’s Miracle Network #MiracleMarathon to raise money for children’s hospitals across the country - a third of the way done!
Keep track of your work - great motivation & reminder of what you can do!
The concept is simple: complete a mile/day over 27 days for a full marathon, plus one extra mile for the kids. It’s perfect for people like me who can’t ever imagine running a full marathon all at once. I’ve posted before about my marathon/month goal, but this is slightly different in that it’s a commitment for everyday. Everyday you are reminded of the blessings of either never having a child in an emergency room or intensive care or with a terminal illness, or the blessing of the availability of such medical resources for a child who needs them.

But, as the people that we are, the physical, logistical questions arise. You know, the ones that keep us off an exercise routine anyway.  The number one being: I’m busy, when am I going to have time to run/walk/skip a mile per day?

Let’s start with the time element. On a good day, in relatively good health, at an almost brisk pace, it takes about 15-20 minutes to walk a mile.  Give or take a few minutes due to one’s health, affinity for and habit of exercise.  But let’s say, for sake of discussion, 30 minutes. That may or may not include putting on your shoes and drinking a bottle of water when you’re done. Now, where do we find 30 minutes a day?  Here’s nine ideas.

  • Before, between, after the school buses – If you are a parent, school buses, carpools, or walking brigades probably dominate your mornings; and depending on the age of your children, your involvement in the morning madness of getting ready for school is little or very much needed.  Look at your morning schedule. Can you go out and walk around the neighborhood before they wake up, in between one school departure and the next? Or after the last school bus pulls off – you keep on running and get your mile in before coming back to start your day. 

  • Find 30 minutes before your day starts.  No kids or they don’t need you to get ready for school?  Wake up 30 minutes earlier or skip the morning email read and get it in in the morning.

  • While waiting. Parents do a lot of waiting. Kids’ practices, early warm-up before a game, tutoring, music lessons. I imagine non-parents wait around, too. Maybe for a spouse, a friend, your mom at her doctor’s appointment.  What are you doing while waiting?  Instead of fidgeting with that new phone app, lace up and go for a walk. Especially now that its getting into fall, you could go for a good paced walk and not really even break a sweat if you’ve got somewhere else to go.  I even noticed at an airport this summer, mileage and direction signs for a walking path around the airport (I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do with your bags, though.)

  • While running errands.  How often do you get into your car and drive across the street or down the block to pick up lunch or a prescription or for a cup of coffee? I’m guilty, too.  Walk.

  • The old park far from the building trick. You’ve heard it a million times before and I’m going to repeat it. The other day I had three separate meetings and I parked far in the lot each time.  Counting the six lengths to and from the building, plus two more for when I realized as I got to my car that I had to go to the bathroom, so I walked back to the building, then back to my car, that has to be at least a good half-mile right there. 

  • Plan for it. Like you do a dentist or gyn appointment (though you don’t want to do either everyday), write it in your planner. Block off 30 minutes to get in your exercise.

  • Commit to other people.  During my kids’ swim practice this summer, I would go running.  I also noticed a few other mothers who were also using this time for walking or running around the neighborhood. Next thing you know, we were heading out together while the kids were in the pool, and saying to each other “yes, I am running tomorrow.”  There are many days I may have sat poolside drinking coffee if I hadn’t made that commitment.

  • Participate in children’s athletic events. If you know the sport – get in there and coach or help out with workouts. I coach my daughter’s Girls on The Run team – perfect for making sure I get in my run.  Don’t worry if you know nothing about your kid’s sport.  Many organizations offer training for adults who want to help out, and, if you don’t want to do that, there’s always something you can do even if you don’t have clue about the actually sport. For my kids’ swim meets, parent volunteers serve as timers. You stand at the edge of the pool and push the stopwatch when the kid starts and stops. Then you walk to the other side of the pool for a different length race. I usually volunteer as the person who wrangles all the swimmers for their race.  Exercise? Consider walking back and forth across a pool for three hours.

  • No kids or no desire to help out with the local ice hockey team? Find your own sport. Whether zuumba, tennis, a running club, swimming lessons. Find something that you enjoy for yourself. Not only will you get in your exercise, but you will require yourself to separate from work, housework, email, and texts and concentrate on you.  And go ahead – count it for your mile. Last week, I clocked in almost a mile during tennis lessons.

Share other ideas in the comments below.  Enjoy your mile!
Always be ready to squeeze in a mile.
My hospital of choice for the #MiracleMarathon is Children’s Hospital in DC. You can make a donation on my fundraising page.  Thank you in advance!

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