by James Lensing

Hi, I’m James. While I am new to blogging, I am not new to running. I ran my first road race in 2010. Since then, I have completed over 60 races (I know what you’re thinking– that’s a lot of t-shirts, and yes, it is) including 5K’s, 4-miler’s, 8K’s, 5-miler’s, 10K’s, 12K’s, 10-miler’s, 20K’s, relays, half marathons, and a virtual marathon.

Just for some context, I am not a podium runner. Some races I can get close though. Either way, I enjoy the positivity surrounding the racing environment and competing against myself to be better. See, I used to be a fair-weather runner and a seasonal runner, depending on where I was living at the time. Living in Iowa, my running season used to be March to October. In Arizona, it was October to March.

When I hit my mid 30’s and noticed my metabolism wasn’t working as well as it once had, I decided my seasonal running plan needed some revision. So I started in January 2019 from scratch, carrying extra weight and an 11 to 12-minute mile pace, determined to stick with it year-round. I set some goals, stayed consistent with running 4 times a week, and tracked my progress. I ended the year with 839 miles.

To challenge myself in 2020, I set the goal to reach 1000 miles and ended up at 1,150. In 2021, I set my goal of running 1000 miles and biking 500 miles. Currently, I am on pace to run 1500 miles.
I am currently running better than I ever have. Since 2019, running has changed from a workout or a chore to something I look forward to. In fact, if I go a few days without it, I start to get a little antsy, and I can tell it is time to get out and go for a run.

I want to share with you some benefits, advice, and tips I have picked up along the way, including:
● Your support system matters. Having people in your corner to keep you accountable, check in and train with is very helpful. It could be your partner, friends, kids, family, co-workers, or local running groups.
● Every day is different. Not all runs will be great, but they are getting you outside, and you are still moving forward.
● Listen to your body and rest when you feel it is needed.
● Run without a watch once in a while and go with what feels good.
● Try new trails for a change of scenery.
● Track your runs; it’s a good way to see an overview of your progress. I run with a Garmin; however, I still have a running journal to write down some details about each run. (i.e., temperature, wind, how I’m feeling, heart rate.)
● If you feel stuck and need a win, try signing up for a race distance you haven’t completed yet for an automatic PR.
● Sign up for a race that you would like to complete and share your goal with your people.
● Shoes do matter.
● It is tolerable to run in the winter with the right layers. Covid-19 taught me this.
● There are mental barriers that come with certain distances, and that’s a good time to utilize a training partner.
● If you have a busy week, spend some time on Sunday to plan out when you can get out and run.
● I find success in using a program so I can check off the completed runs.
● Write out your goals and place them somewhere you will see them often.
● Running is one thing that you will get out of it what you put into it.
● Find some mantras that resonate, and use them to get through the tough runs.
● Mentally preparing for your long runs and races goes a long way.
This year I have registered for a few races, and there might be some more that come up along the way. The ultimate goal is to complete my first in-person marathon. I wasn’t sure if I would run another marathon… last year; I lost steam and interest when Grandma’s Marathon moved to virtual, which resulted in me straying from the training plan and long runs. I completed the virtual race to see if I could run the full 26.2.

This year I’m signed up for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, and I plan to carry forward what I learned from my last experience. I plan to set a race pace goal and hit my long runs by utilizing the IMT Des Moines Marathon training program, which starts the week of May 31st.

See you on the trails!

Share This Post