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What I’ve learned about running from watching others train for a half-marathon

What can we take away from watching others train?

This upcoming weekend was going to mark my first-ever marathon, but an injury, which I’m now just starting to recover from, has left me sidelined. I won’t be lining up at the Lincoln Marathon, in fact, I won’t even be in Nebraska at the race. Instead, I’ll be in Fort Langley, B.C. taking advantage of the soft riverside trails as I work towards a full recovery.

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Though I’m disappointed I won’t be racing, I’m excited for my two sister-in-laws and aunt to run the half-marathon. I’ve been playing spectator to their training for the past few months, and have enjoyed answering some of their questions about training along the way. The entire experience has been invaluable in terms of learning more about the sport. Here are some of my takeaways from my time spent watching my family members train:

It’s about more than a run.

It’s not just that I love to run, I love the sport of running. From the moment I found out I wasn’t going to be racing the marathon, I’ve been invested in and energized by my family members’ training. I’ve learned through my time on the sideline that I find the entire process of training, and getting the most of one’s self to be a fascinating and exciting challenge beyond just my personal experiences.

Lucky to love it.

Everyone loves getting up early for a Sunday morning long right, right? Wrong! As I’ve watched family members sometimes begrudge their weekly miles, I’ve come to realize just how fortunate I am to feel excited about waking up every morning with a run on my schedule. I also laugh a bit at how crazy it must look to others when I’m more than happy about those double days.

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

On the technical side of things, I’ve learned that pacing is a challenge at every level. One of my sister-in-laws has been sending me her splits for her long runs, and she actually does quite well with not going out too hard in those early miles, but there’s still room for improvement. Advising someone to focus on a negative split has given me renewed perspective on the importance of pacing.

Coaching is a possibility.

I’ve thought about coaching, but I’ve never really contemplated it seriously. My time off this year has shown me that my passion for the sport goes far beyond the personal, as I noted earlier. These feelings, coupled with how much I’ve enjoyed helping out my family members has opened my mind more to the possibility of coaching at some point. When you’re looking at course details and reading reviews of a race you’re not even running so you can guide others, it’s cause for pause– in a good way.