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The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 4

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

 

May 13, 2013 by Chad Baird

UPDATE – January 13, 2014: I wanted to share with everyone the before and after photos of me doing this race! Happy running!

Lesson 4 – Dress for the Weather

Sometimes living in Calgary is tough! The weather is often cold and unpredictable. In turn, this causes every Calgarian runner to shake their fists at the sky occasionally throughout their lifetime. To properly explain this concept, I shall be explaining my tales and lamentations regarding the 2010 Mother’s Day 10km race. It was a frosty morning. I woke up, looked and fully expected to see a stray reindeer or two. I decided to put on five layers of clothing for my upcoming race. I put on a wool long sleeve, three short sleeve cotton t-shirts, and a warm hoodie. I was set! The cold had no chance against my defence! No chance! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that overheating had an excellent chance of breaking the defense system…but I didn’t even think about that. I got to the start line and it had warmed up to about zero Celsius but it had begun snowing. Through the fresh falling snow, I saw a guy in front of me wearing nothing more than shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I thought to myself, “This guy is so dumb! He will be so cold!” Negative, this guy was exponentially more enlightened about running races that I was. I started the race and within 500 metres, I could already tell that I was getting way too hot. By 3 kilometres, I standing at the aid station dumping cold water down my back and legs. 5 km in, I had my sweater tied around my waist, old granny style, looking fashionable as ever with my sweater tie swag and a beet red face. At 7km, I had my hoodie still around my waist – and was now carrying three shirts. You know what makes running a race easier? Not carrying a couch cushion sized ball of your extra clothes that you brought along with you for the ride. I continued huffing and puffing down the road, physically steaming because I was so overheated. A person could have cracked an egg on my head and 14 seconds later, enjoyed a fine omelette breakfast because I was as hot as a frying pan. I crossed that finish line 15 seconds shy of an hour and that is nothing short of a miracle. As I walked to the C-Train to head back home, I saw the guy I stood behind in the crowd – Sleeveless Shirt Man. I looked at him, majestic, muscles prominent and graceful, barely had a bead of sweat on him. He won, I lost. As he looked at me, he gazed upon a poor soul who had a face as red as the sun, an absolute mound of clothing burdening his arms, and to top it all off, a sweater tied around his waist. I’m sure if he was preacher, he would have laid hands on me right then and asked the Lord to help me in my time of need. I was a mess, but it was my own fault!

Before

 

…and After!

My advice to you is this – don’t over dress for races. Running Room founder John Stanton states that it is always best to start off a race a little chilly. I always try to follow his wise words. It may seem cold standing at the start line, but when your feet hit the pavement and you have multiple kilometers under your belt, you will warm up I promise!

Don’t overdress for races, come to the start line with a bit of a chill, and please don’t make my same mistakes! Running is beautiful; don’t make a mess of the Mona Lisa.

Stay tuned next week for Lesson 5 – Eating Too Much

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University


Don’t Let Your Health Vanish into the Smoke

My name is Chad Baird and I am an ex-smoker. Usually the suffix ‘ex’ is associated with negativity. For example, the terms ex-boyfriend, ex-landlord and ex-wife. However, to be an ex-smoker is an occurrence that I believe to be the most positive thing I have ever and will ever experience.

Even though the health risks associated with smoking are prominently advertised, thousands upon thousands of people still do it. Furthermore, young people continue to smoke without fully understanding the dangers they are exposing themselves to. There is not a high school in North America that one can go to where there will not be a rebellious, group of smokers standing somewhere just off campus smoking away without a care in the world. I have yet to pass a school in Calgary around lunchtime without witnessing this scene time and time again.

It honestly breaks my heart and I assure you that I feel a weight on my soul as I write this to you. I know the road that they will go down and it is not a road I suggest to anyone. I woke up sick every single morning for six years because I poisoned myself the day before. My health slid and my fitness level plummeted. I coughed constantly. I became permanently irritable and I felt generally horrible all of the time.

When I finally made the decision to quit smoking, I felt like a superhero. This is not a figure of speech. I literally felt like I had superpowers. After just a few weeks of quitting smoking, I could run faster, exercise longer, lift more and enjoy my work out instead of coughing through it. It is a truly enlightening moment when you take a deep breath and don’t feel a gurgling pain inside yourself for the first time in years. Every ex-smoker will know exactly what I mean.

You cannot pursue a life of health and smoke at the same time. It is 100% impossible. You will never reach your full potential behind a smoke screen. I promise that the moment you quit, you will feel the superpowers just as I did. Your life literally turns 180 degrees for the better.

The book, “Allen Carr’s: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking Canadian Edition” helped me. It is available at bookstores Canada-wide and online at Amazon.ca for about $10 – $12 (ironically about the price of a pack of cigarettes). Get this book for yourself, your parents, your friends, your kids. Please listen to my following words because they are of utmost importance.

This book saved my life.

Win the battle against your demons and become the smokeless superhero you were meant to be.

 

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Series


Do You Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Five

Lesson Five: Don’t be fresh from the Febreze factory

When a person is lifting weights there is a short period of time in between sets where it is good to take quick breather to rejuvenate your muscles. However, there are many who abuse this time and decide to turn a quick breather (30 seconds – 1 minute) into a time of shameless sloth and lounging. I speak of the people who sit on a bench for 5+ minutes just cruising on their iPod or talking with friends. Working out with friends can definitely be beneficial, especially for spotting and motivation but I want to see people enjoy themselves at the gym, but also be effective weight lifters as well.

A great way to burn more calories and get more from your workout is to simply speed up. Don’t speed up your reps as that will result in lower muscle development and a higher chance of injury. Instead, speed up the time in between sets. Give yourself enough time to recover from a set, but then hop right back into the swing of things. If you are working out with a partner, the time that the other person takes to finish one set is more than enough for your recovery time. Stay focused and keep hammering the weights.

At the end of your workout, if your muscles are not tender and your shirt looks and smells like you just purchased it fresh from the Febreze factory, you are doing something wrong. If there is not a bead of sweat on you and you don’t even consider a long, hot shower before your next class or meeting, you are doing something wrong.

Under Armour runs a beautiful campaign surrounding the phrase “Sweat every day”. This campaign involves striking visual images of men and women pouring their heart into their various workouts. The intensity shown in these commercials is what I always strive for. There is something euphoric about being in the gym, pouring sweat, music blasting and knowing that you have given everything you have. On a physical and mental level, there is a peace that is found.

Make the most of your gym experience and truly put in the work. You will get out what you put in – that is a promise.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned in January for, “Don’t let our health vanish into the smoke”

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Five-Part Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Five-Part Series


Do you Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson Four

Lesson Four: Rockin’ Slippers and a Coffee Mug in the Squat Rack

Some days you don’t get enough sleep. Some days the coffee is simply not strong enough. Some days your alarm clock awakes you with a devious smile spread across its digital face. I get it. Everybody gets it because we have all been there.

In the midst of the morning haze the last thing on your mind is the gym! Ugh! What a thought! How could I possibly run and jump and lift weights and do anything but lay in my bed at this current time! Then there is the spark. I have experienced the spark many times as I tuck myself in to have a lovely nap. Right as you start drifting off to the land of blissful laziness the thought rips you out of bed like a drill sergeant. “What are you doing soldier! This is no time for naps! According to my watch, it is time MOVE, MOVE, MOOVVVEEE! GET TO THE GYM SOLDIER!”

Fueled by adrenaline, you punch the gas of your vehicle or ride the bus with twinkling eyes and a fire in your heart. As you reach the gym, you jog in, scan your id badge and feel like flopping right down on the desk and doing 30 push-ups just to show the staff that this is your time! YOUR TIME! You load up the bench press with 350 pounds even though you only weigh 137, look at it ready to conquer the heft, only to realize you haven’t bench pressed in six and a half years and you are too elite to make poor decisions this morning. No worries! You move to the free weight section and start slingin’ around weights like Yosemite Sam throws around his mustache and cartoon guns on Saturday morning Looney Tunes programming. But as you roll into the 7th minute of your workout, you hear car crashes and sirens and screams of horror in the frontal lobe of your brain. Oh dear. The adrenaline has gone!

Everybody has seen this person and has likely been this person. The bleary, red-eyed lonesome soul sitting on a flat bench with a thousand mile stare. They didn’t have the time to get a sweat on before their brain jumps up and says, “Nope!”

Between yawns and deep sighs of growing angst, they drag themselves from machine to machine, dreading each moment of the work out. Crying silently in their head, they pull the pin from the weight stack, lift exactly zero and a half pounds and re-evaluate their life decisions.

Friends, this is no way to go to the gym. I am big on productivity and engagement and if you know for a fact that you won’t have that level of engagement on certain days, it is alright to have a day off! Remember that! Schedule in time for yourself to go to the gym throughout the week around a realistic schedule. If you have to work super late or have a ton of homework to do late at night on Saturday, maybe a 6 a.m. spin class is not what you need on Sunday. Do not get me wrong though. Don’t put off the gym for weeks because you are busy and tired, because the gym will give you more energy in your week. There is a difference between listening to your body and being just too lazy.

Plan your gym time around realistic goals and ensure that when you go to the gym, you enjoy it and get something out of your time there.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Five: Don’t Be Fresh From the Febreze Factory

More Blogs by Chad:

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Series

The Top Five Things Not to Do In A Running Race Series


Do you Even Lift, Bro? Lesson Two

Lesson Two: Learn How to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

In my last blog, I explained the issues surrounding my lack of focus during a sports performance class at the YMCA. I want to elaborate on this. Without a doubt, my sports performance class in high school was the most useful class I have ever taken. I learned how to better myself, how to workout at a functional level and how to avoid a multitude of injuries.

I have seen a plethora of poor decisions in the gym across my many years of running and lifting. I have seen people bicep curling 100 pound bars primarily with their lower back. I have witnessed people running in a flailing fashion that is sure to break an ankle during their travels. I have seen people lifting weights in ways that offer no conceivable benefit to their bodies whatsoever. Furthermore, think of all the people you don’t see at the gym.

Two years ago, I got my best friend into running. Recently, I asked him why he doesn’t go to the gym to gain some more muscle to benefit his runs.  His answer made me sad as he told me that the reason he doesn’t go to the gym and previously lived an unhealthy life is because he didn’t know how to workout.

There are so many people out there who are living unhealthy lives simply because they don’t know what to do when they get to the gym. There are many people who feel the gym would be an embarrassing or an unprofitable venture because they have not educated themselves on proper form and gym technique. Maybe this person is you.

I want today to be the day you decide to better yourself. A life of fitness is a beautiful thing. Educate yourself about fitness and join the millions of happy people who decided to learn about fitness to further enhance their time on this earth

  • If you are in high school, take sports performance or any fitness-based class that your school has to offer. I still use the skills I learned in those classes to better myself today.
  • For those of you who are going to post-secondary institutions, take fitness classes at your campus gym to learn how to workout. They are presented at phenomenal student rates and are so beneficial. The YMCA also has discounted rates for students and youth. It helps you so much in your life!
  • For those of you who are working full-time, find a gym that you love and start taking a few personal training sessions just to learn the ropes. The YMCA has awesome personal trainers and offers awesome classes to make you a better you. Also, just to get into the swing of things, start going to the gym with a fitness-oriented friend. Ask questions and engage.

I believe the most important part of fitness is the way in which we educate ourselves about the topic.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Three: Hey You! Get Off the Phone!

More Blogs by Chad:

 


Do you Even Lift, Bro? – Lesson One

Lesson One: Bad Things Happen When You Lose Focus

The story I am about to tell you happened in 2008. I was seventeen years old and my follies were due to my overactive teenage brain. Yes, this story does involve a pretty girl and me making a fool of myself. No, I did not get her number and, furthermore, she was less than impressed. I am sure I left her wondering, as she ran away shaking her head, “Do you even lift, bro?”

I was in a sports performance class in high school. I got to learn about health and fitness while getting the opportunity to workout at the YMCA for school credit. I was on my last bicep set and an angel entered the room, lights shone from the heavens. From afar, I could see this majestic woman gallantly striding towards me, choosing music on her iPod as she prepared for her run. “Surely, she must be listening to Beethoven or Chopin,” I thought to myself in the timid stillness of my mind. “Only the stringed quartets of Beethoven could express the elegance of my future wife.” As violins danced and flutes fleeted about my thoughts, I was in awe of the woman getting closer to me with each step. Her flowing hair delicately brushed her face and likely smelled of strawberries and playful kittens. It was in that moment that I made a grave error. I convinced myself that I had to get the attention of the woman in pink for she must tell the tales of my mighty manliness in the gym!

I decided to grab 50 pound dumbbells for my last bicep set in order to impress her. A little background on me, in high school I weighed about 120 pounds and had a problem curling 15 pounds, let alone 50. I could barely get dumbbells off the rack and I nearly burst a vein in my forearm trying to hold on to 50 pounds in each hand. I hobbled and wobbled across the free weight section to make sure that she saw me. It was then that I made eye contact with her. I smiled a smile that told her, “Yes, I am interested in marriage.” She saw me and awkwardly smiled back. Love at first sight.

I felt weak in the knees, my world started spinning and my hands seemed free of the weight I was carrying. I was falling, falling, falling in love.

In fact, what was actually happening was that my legs got abruptly taken out from under me as my kneecaps collided with a flat bench that I didn’t notice in front of me as I was flashing my ‘smooth’ smile. The weakness in my knees was a physical weakness as my legs buckled in the contact with the bench. I felt as if my world was spinning and falling because indeed it was. I fully face planted on the unforgiving gym floor. Not only did I epically fall on the floor, but I was so off balance with the dumbbells that were similar in size to my entire body mass, the weights rocketed out of my hands and rolled across the floor. After that toss, I briefly considered professional shot-put or joining the Team Canada curling team because it had some distance! Unfortunately, the weight rolled right on to the track, and directly in front of my pink princess. Gracefully, she hopped over it and looked at me on the floor with a look of pure disappointment and shame. I will just wrap up this story by stating that I am still single.

The reason I tell you this story is because I see gym antics like this all the time. I have seen guys go on exercise bikes with dumbbells, doing super-fast bicep curls when girls run by on the track. But hark! Men are not the only ones who do this. I see women who come to the gym in full make-up and hair like they are ready for a photo shoot. They smile at every good-looking person they are interested in while burning 6 calories an hour on an elliptical, cruising at a snail’s pace.

My advice: stay focused! Get healthy and well, and be safe on the weight floor. You can seriously injure yourself by using equipment incorrectly. Use weights that your body can handle and remember that it takes work to get results.

See you on the weight floor.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Stay tuned next week for Lesson Two: Learn How to Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Read more blogs written by Chad.


Don’t Call Me a Gym Freak

Nut [nuht]: a person who is mad, crazy, or foolish.

Rat [rat]: A rodent; sometime responsible for transmitting diseases.

Freak [freek]: a person on exhibition as an example of a strange deviation from nature; monster.

I am writing to you today to address a stigma in today’s society. I am writing this article because this stigma is rarely realized and rarely spoken about. Today, I will ask you why we bestow negativity upon positive action. Read with an open heart. Read with an open mind and please, never call me a gym freak.

In my time, I have been called a health nut, a gym rat, and a fitness freak. These terms have not been swept under the rug or whispered behind closed doors. Many people including close personal friends of mine have called me these things directly to my face. It never dawned on me until recently that there is something significantly wrong with this. Why are people with a high fitness level ostracized for making phenomenal personal decisions? Should this dedication not be celebrated and revered? The words freak, nut and rat are thrown around with such an ease, such a shaking pointed finger that it seems many have forgotten that fitness is fantastic. This brings me to the question of the day. When you examine the following question, examine your heart and evaluate your own personalized stigmas around this situation.

Why is health and fitness often associated with derogatory terms?

If I called my mother a freak, I would probably be grounded for a month! I am fully grown with a job and if those words came out of my mouth, I would have to check in with her before I left my apartment. Think about calling your grandma a complete nut. I believe your result would be the same as mine as you would swiftly catch the business end of a wooden spoon on the backside. Our final word of the scornful trinity is rat. I know what you are about to say, “Hey Chad! The word ‘rat’ has two meanings!” Yes, I am fully aware that a rat can mean a person who frequents a specific location. However, when that word is spoken the mind immediately jumps to a dirty, sewer creature. Again I ask you, why is health and fitness associated with derogatory terms?

Just because you love to run marathons does not justify negativity. Just because you are a yoga goddess or can swim like a fish does not merit disapproval. Just because you have a burning desire within yourself to change for the better does not make you a freak, a nut, or a rat. These things make you beautiful. Embrace your passions and shine for all to see.

This is a formal call to action to break down this stigma and cease the oxymoron. Negativity bestowed upon positive people, it is simply not right. Be proud of your friends who make the extra effort to better themselves and take pride in yourself if and when you do the same.

Celebrate the success found in fitness. Rejoice when the ones around you meet personal goals. Love yourself and love the ones around you for this world runs much better when kindness is shown. I will say this only one more time so listen when I repeat. Being healthy is a beautiful thing, so never call me a gym freak.

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University

Read more blogs written by Chad.


The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 5

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

Lesson 5 – Don’t Eat Too Much

Nutrition goes hand in hand with running. If you are eating improperly before or during a race, you may find yourself running into a few problems. In the spirit of this series about my tales and lamentations of running, I shall share a story with you, a tale of an upset and turbulent tummy.

It was the 2010 harvest half-marathon. The sun was shining on every runner who ran that beautiful course through Fish Creek Provincial Park. On a side note, that is my absolute favorite course. I have raced it once and ran it on my own time at least ten times over, excellent course! If you ever want to come run it with me, give me a call and we will party on the trails! Alright, where were we? Yes, Harvest half! Gorgeous day, but I came a little too prepared. I thought I would put a little rocket fuel in my system, be prepared with a wicked boost to carry me along! I had an immense number of power bars, and power gels! The contents of my waterpack looked like the evidence of Running Room robbery! Nevertheless, I was under the misconception that I needed all of this to fuel myself! The gun went off and I burned it off the line. I went up and down the hills like a champion, and then I made the mistake to pillage my robbery bag. I downed one powerbar, then another one. At 15 km, I ripped open two Powergels and swiftly ingested the contents with the might of Thor. I am heroic! I am fueled! I am ready to go! Soon after this, my stomach fluid turned from an elegant pond, calm and serene, to a storm on the high seas. My face went green and I felt my yellowing eyes bug out of head. I felt so nauseated, but purposed to not be one of those guys reproducing their breakfast on the side of the course. I thought happy thoughts of Pepto Bismol, Ginger Ale, and crackers. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Make it to the finish line! I completed the race in under 2 hours, but my stomach was less than pleased. However, I learned a great lesson that day!

My advice to you is to not eat too much during a race. Your body is expending a massive amount of energy to keep you moving and directing a lot of blood to your extremities and away from your digestive system. Digesting food is a major body function, and when you are running, the digestive system is not your body’s main concern. I suggest one or two
Powergel’s throughout the duration of a half-marathon or full marathon. Powerbars have never worked for me during a race, because they are too heavy, too much too digest. However, after the race they are excellent. Personally, I love the Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Plus Bar. In the words of the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, they are magically delicious.

Don’t eat too much before or during a race. You will not be able to perform to your maximum potential because your body will be conflicted between your circulatory system and your digestive system.

Running is beautiful; don’t mess with the Mona Lisa.

If you enjoyed reading this series, please comment below and let me know!

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University


The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 3

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

Lesson 3 – Hitting the Wall(s)

Pain is temporary, victory is forever – this was the caption written on a large cardboard sign, held by a loving spectator at the half way point of a grueling hill in a half marathon I ran in 2010. I will never forget that sign because it inspired me to not only finish the race strong, but adopt that as my mantra for running. That is a meaningful saying because there are two walls that a runner can hit when they run a race – the mental wall and the physical wall. I have experienced both and both come with their own pace-stopping criteria.  I fully ran into both walls when I ran the Calgary Scotiabank Marathon on May 30, 2010 – my first full marathon. Let’s talk about the mental wall first because frankly, you will often meet this guy first in a race.

The body is truly incredible, yet our mind can play tricks on us. It whispers to us, “Slow down man. You can’t do this. This is boring, go grab a cheeseburger! Wouldn’t you rather be watching Full House?” All of these thoughts were running through my head as I approached the 26km marker. I was mentally spent in every capacity. I met the mental equivalent of the Berlin Wall, and it didn’t seem like it was ready to crumble anytime soon. I wanted to stop…I wanted to quit…but I didn’t. I accepted the fact that I felt tired, but I knew that I had trained for this moment. That is what you must learn in running races. The challenge can sometimes seem insurmountable and impossible, but you must remember that your body is a well-oiled machine. Push through the false thoughts of failure and you will finish the race successfully.

The mental wall has a friend. This friend is not such a nice guy, nothing more than a schoolyard bully! With the mental wall comes the physical wall. Unfortunately, they are inseparable and come as one unified package throughout the duration of the race. At kilometre 39 of the full marathon, the wall took a flying leap of a high dive and came crashing down upon me in a pile of rubble and sorrow. 300 meters from the 39 kilometre sign, I knew I was SUPER tired. As I continued to run I thought to myself, “Alright Chad. You are going to just throw up. But you have to keep moving when you do it. Run a little, throw up a little, run a little. Easy peasy! Just keep going and do it right behind that bush.” I passed the bush that I had eyed out, and to my surprise I didn’t put on a show for any of the spectators. This was a great choice because the crowd on that section of the course consisted of a large group of children who looked to be especially happy and pleasant and an old woman sitting on a lawn chair with a big red cow bell. There was no need to ruin their day and hear a chorus of 30 screaming, crying children! I pushed for the last 3km, it was hard, but I did it. Crossing the finish line of my first full marathon is a feeling of pure elation that I will truly never forget in my entire time on this earth. My advice, when the wall hits, keep pushing, keep running, but slow down a bit. You want to keep your pace, the wall wants to crush you – slowing down is a fair compromise.

Walls can be a challenge. But make sure that you bring your mental climbing gear to each and every race because with some determination, you can overcome anything. Run safe, run smart, know your limitations. Running is beautiful; don’t make a mess of the Mona Lisa.

Stay tuned next week for Lesson 4 – Dress for the Weather

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University


The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 2

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

Lesson 2 – Not Training At All

October 16, 2011, Toronto half-marathon, the smell of victory in the air. As I stood in the cluster of runners at the start line, I was simply stoked to get going. It was at this moment that I realized a very important factor in the immediate outcome of this race. The neural pathways in my brain lit up and I thought to myself, “Hey Chad, you haven’t trained for this race at all? Have you?” Oh dear…this isn’t going to be good.

Alright, let me back up. I am a frugal person and the thought of saving money thoroughly excites me. I truly believe that there will be a Value Village just inside the pearly, golden, gates of Heaven. This said, I made sure that I purchased the early bird special for the 2011 Toronto half-marathon. At that time, I was in the process of moving from Alberta to Ontario, so training time got replaced with high levels of box-filling and joyous days of painting a house. After I moved, I felt displaced and out of my element. I did not run because I simply did not have the motivation to train. One week before the race, I woke up in a state of alarmed panic as one sentence flowed through my head: “RACE DAY A-COMETH BUD AND YOU HAVEN’T DONE A THING!” I jumped out of bed and did push-ups until I was red in the face. Unfortunately, 27 and a half push-ups doesn’t replace 4 months of training. Seven days later, I woke up, laced up, and went and ran a half marathon completely cold.

Alright, back to October 16th. The gun went off and to my surprise I felt like a million bucks, possibly even 2.87 Million. I ran at a very acceptable pace, and did not start too fast (Lesson 1). I didn’t take too many walking breaks and had my breathing under control. I didn’t understand it! 5k, 12k, 15k – I was invincible! It was at 18k that my thoughts began to change. I started slowing down and felt a peculiar sensation in my legs. However, I pushed through the last 3km and victoriously raised my hands in triumph at the finish line. “YES! I beat the system! I didn’t have to train for a race! Marathons are easy!” Correction Chad, you are currently crossing the finish line with a lower body injury fit for a hospital waiting room. I received my participation medal and began walking down the street to head on home. It was at this moment that I realized there was something wrong. I looked like a new-born baby giraffe who didn’t know how to use his legs. Wobbling about, I sat on a bench and wanted to scream “SERENITY NOW!”

I didn’t train for my half marathon and I put a major tear in every single one of my leg muscles. I also developed a sciatic nerve injury that disallowed me from running for nearly two years. This may sound ridiculous, but always remember to train for your races and train properly! John Stanton’s book, Running, has many training schedules and tips to ensure your long-term success.

Train for your races, train properly, train hard. Your body is incredible, but to be successful in races, you need to help it out with some preparation. Running is beautiful; don’t make a mess of the Mona Lisa.

Stay tuned next week for Lesson 3 – Hitting The Wall(s)

Read Lesson 1 – Starting Too Fast

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University


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