Enjoy Nature for Free: Week 1 of Marathon Training

One of the best things I’ve enjoyed about running is that it’s a relatively low-cost activity. You need only a decent pair of sneakers (and maybe not even those). I find a lot of new runners just start out with what they already own which is perfect.

When I first started running back in 2002, I ran in a low-cost pair of sneakers, cotton t-shirts and soccer shorts I had owned. Now, I realize the use of well-designed shoes (or lack thereof during my absolutely barefoot running years) and polyester clothing that makes a world of difference.

Over time one might want to invest $100+ into a good pair of shoes, or a little more into fitted or moisture wicking workout gear, but how much you spend is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way in the sport of running. No additional gear needed.

Four Seasons and Running

In addition to being a low-cost activity, running changed my view of the four seasons we get in the northeast. I first started running in the hot summer. As the weather grew colder, I found I loved getting outdoors even more.

Prior to becoming a runner, I despised winter and vowed to move to a warmer climate after college. Now, my best training always ends up happening in the cool fall and freezing winter months.

First Week of Marathon Training

This was the first week of marathon training and it went smoothly without an issue.

I ran 3 days this week (Tues, Thurs, Sun), finishing with a 3-mile long run.

I walked 3 other days (Mon, Wed, Sat) for 30 minutes and took one day off all according to plan.

Following Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run plan, it suggested I use a 2:1 ratio. I used that ratio in Aug/Sept for training to average a 14:00 min/mile pace. More recently, I discovered his newer recommendations not to walk more than 30 seconds for any run-walk-run.

So, starting this training round I chose a 1:30 run + 0:30 walk rotation. After the switch and over a month off from regular running, I cut an entire minute off my pace per mile from my previous training and now sit around 13:00 min/mile pace.

My suggested training pace is 15:00 min/mile for Galloway’s marathon plan. My hope is to keep it at 13:00 pace, so the race will be completed 2:00 faster per mile at an 11:00 pace. Though, I have absolutely no time goal for the race other than to finish, because any expectation isn’t ideal.

Simplicity of Running

What I loved about this week was the simplicity of being able to put on my shoes and head outdoors or hop on the treadmill at a moments notice. I didn’t need to check tire pressure on my bike or remember my helmet. Sure, I brought along my watch and iPod, but otherwise, I could’ve just slipped out without either.

While out on my runs or walks, I find beautiful scenes.

As I think more about it, running is the vehicle to get me out the door on days that might not be comfortable to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

In the end, I believe that’s why I’ve come to love winter runs. Not only are they something to tell others about, but there are moments I otherwise would not be witness to if not for getting out the door. I get more sunshine than I normally would as well.

Nature is always freely available to enjoy, and running is a low-cost way to get out to enjoy it. I’d even venture to say that walking has an even lower cost and no barrier to entry.

I encourage you to go out and enjoy nature for free and get a little exercise in the process.