When you train for something like a half-marathon, it always helps to know that there are others—even if they live in Chicago, and you New York—who support you and who are striving to do the very same thing. I first met Liz Spittler, the executive managing editor of Food & Nutrition Magazine, and senior manager of strategic communications at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, when I served as an academy spokesperson in 2005. I’ll never forget the fun we had (and how silly we were) as I posed for her on the floor (literally) for a photo that would appear, on behalf of the Academy, in People. And we’ll always have Prague… (read below for more on that).
Here’s what Liz had to say about her training thus far.
EZ: What inspired you to enter the More Half-Marathon?
LS: I'd like to say it was the glory of challenging myself and attaining goals. Truthfully, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision that I maybe-sort-of regretted afterward. But as we close in on the final month, the energy, camaraderie and anticipation is actually quite exciting and I'm looking forward to it! It helps that it will be in Central Park.
EZ: How would you describe your weekly training?
LS: For me, training MUST be integrated into the context of my daily life. I'm not going to block out an hour to jog along the Chicago lakefront (which is disgraceful since it's literally right outside our home). I just won't get to it. However, I walk to/from work (5 miles total), take stairs instead of lifts or escalators, lug home bags of groceries and scrape layers of paint off door frames (which, in case you've never done that, is really hard!). If I add it all up, this strategy probably takes much more time than if I did just carve out that hour for dedicated training, but ticking off to-do items is the incentive that gets me to follow through.
EZ: How's your training going so far?
LS: February was a bit rough. I had a lot of work-related travel and was also ill. But March has been really good! The warm weather helped, and now that there is still daylight into the evening, I find myself taking longer routes home because it's so nice out. I haven't mapped them to see how much it's increased my distance, but I'm enjoying the spontaneous detours. Also, I like to walk with my friend Jen, who has very long legs, because I have to work to keep up with her. That's really my golden nugget of wisdom: Train with tall people.
EZ: Do you have any specific time or other goal for race day?
LS: This is my first half-marathon and I have no idea what to expect. I know I'll finish but I don't have any specific goal in mind other than to just enjoy the group effort of getting from the start line to the finish line. (Unless halfway through it looks like I could win this thing—then I'll hoof it. No, just kidding.)
EZ: Getting sick after our work trip to Prague in February was definitely a challenge for you when it came to training. How did you handle/overcome that?
LS: After I was sick, the doctor said to stay indoors so I started using the gym in our building to do weights and incline walking. I won't lie—that was boring and I fell out of it. But around that time, I joined Twitter for work and discovered not only my co-conspirator tweeting about her training, but about a gazillion other folks offering ideas to fit training into the day. The conversation may have well been #GoLizGo. It worked!
EZ: Any advice for those who are thinking about doing a half-marathon or similar type of race?