I ran the first two hours relaxed and happy, singing away. Then about 10 miles into the course, I started getting worn out. As the temperature rose, I slowed. As the hills came along, I slowed even more. With a little over 3 miles to go, I suddenly became aware of every walk and run on my training schedule that I had missed. I could feel it deep in my muscles and bones.
To train for a half marathon, there are two key workouts; base mileage and long runs. Base mileage workouts are those throughout the week that form the baseline of your fitness. They are your three, four and five-milers repeated again and again. Long runs (or walks) are typically done on the weekend and progressively increase in miles over time.
Mile 10 of the Cap City half marathon is not a great place to admit I haven't been consistent with base mileage. Those are the key to fitness. They are actually the key to weight loss and maintenance, too. Base miles are the reason I was a decent runner in the 2000's. I did those five and six-milers religiously. Base miles are the reason I lost almost 50 pounds. I walked six miles at Highbanks almost every evening until I had burned it off. I literally walked my ass off. Base miles.
We all know the feeling of being called out by some situation, and having to come face to face with the realization that I didn't train enough for this. It's a terrible feeling of regret. If only I'd not made excuses. If only I'd done it anyway. If only I'd trained.
Some of us are in training for an event such as a 5k, half or full marathon. Base miles are the key to avoiding that awful feeling of, "This would be awesome if I'd only been more consistent with my training." There is no guarantee that you won't struggle through a race, but base miles make it much more likely that you'll feel strong to the finish line. Base miles.
Some of us are in training for their next visit to the doctor. Have you experienced that awful feeling at the doctor's office, when a diagnosis of high blood pressure or Diabetes is delivered, and you can deeply feel every workout you've ever skipped? It is awful. When I was first diagnosed with kidney disease, I was so overwhelmed by shame at the way I had mistreated my body, it was difficult to calm down. Hiring a trainer and walking every day was one of the things that helped me turn that around. Base miles.
Some of us are in training to join the walking group. We have gorgeous parks around here. Sharon Woods. Highbanks. But the walks are no joke, and it takes consistent training to be able to conquer those trails. Sharon Woods is nearly four miles, and includes a few steep hills. It is really difficult to keep a steady pace for the entire loop if you aren't getting in your two and three mile walks each day. I know many of you have experienced that frustration. Base miles.
Some of us are training for vacation. If you love to travel, you know how important it is to stay fit. Whether walking through an airport, the cities of Europe or the parks at Disney, travel is very difficult if you haven't trained. I know some of you have experienced difficulty with this. I am training right now for my hiking trip in July. I want to experience as much beauty as possible while I am in Utah, and the best way to prepare is by getting those daily workouts done. Base miles.
All of us are training for our lives. I understand how hard it is to make daily exercise happen. But mile 10 comes. At some point, it gets difficult. There is a hill in front of you and you think, "I wish I was stronger for this." You can be. One workout. Then another. Left foot, right foot. Consistency is the key and its gift is empowerment. You may encounter hills and struggle, but base miles allow you to know your own strength, pull from deep within you and get to the finish line with arms held high, shouting at the big blue sky, "I did it!"