Half Marathon Prep

Paying off my student has been a bit like a marathon, so I decided to sign up for a real one! Well not quite, but a half marathon in February 2018. Running a half marathon has been on my bucket list nearly my whole 20s, so I’ve decided to give it a go before the clock strikes on the BIG 3-0. There are a few reasons why I think tackling this fitness goal will be beneficial to my finances:

Saving money on group fitness classes: As I work from home, I find group fitness to be a good social outlet. To be frank, a lot of times it is not even about socializing per say, but just being out in society with other humans—I’m not a total hermit I swear! Currently, I spend anywhere from $150-200 per month on fitness classes, mainly boot camp and cycle classes. During training, I’ll be running 3 times per week and have the other 4 days to fills with cross-training and yoga. While I won’t give up these group fitness classes completely, I will certainly be cutting down. My aim would be to hover this < $100 of my monthly spending.

More time for Yoga: Although this technically falls into reason #1 above, yoga for me is its own special entity. Because I have been allocating more money towards other types of exercise, my yoga practice has completely fallen by the way side. I’ve been good at attending occasional free yoga classes at my apartment complex, but other than that I’ve been getting stiffer by the minute. However, yoga is so much more than the physical benefits; Mentally, I’ve always felt better when I attend yoga regularly. The funny part is, I tend to fall into it when I’m struggling. My hope is that during training I can reverse this trend and I’ll make it to yoga at least 1-2X per week. The calmness and clarity from yoga (may) give me an extra boost in other areas of my life. I’ve found several free/cheap classes in my area, so I don’t think it will hurt the budget too hard.

Habits, habits, habits: As mentioned above, the training plan I chose has me running 3 days per week. Three days, for like a lot of weeks! My first month has me getting back in the swing of things, basically getting myself used to running again. Let’s just say it’s been nearly a year since I was running consistently. The remaining 16 weeks, I’ll be working my way up in miles and hopefully improving my endurance and ‘turtle’ speed.

The plan is laid out and it’s up to me to put in the time to make it happen. My thought is that having these runs carved out into my schedule ahead of time will provide some structure and discipline for other healthful (& wealthful??) habits. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I know from my past experience that when I’m feeling in my groove health wise, I’m able to focus more on my other habits financial and otherwise. The key to making this part a success may be outlining some actionable goals—e.g. learn more about blogging, food-budget/meal prep, meditation, read more… None of these are concrete, but they are all floaters in my head.

Overcoming Obstacles: If I didn’t make it crystal clear already when mentioning my ‘turtle speed’ and needing 4 + months to get ready for 13.1 miles, I’m no natural runner. But, during my adolescence I had some vague interest in it. You know how sometimes people (adults) tell you things as you are growing up that make you doubt your ability to do things? Yea, that happened to me with running. And honestly, it was no one’s fault but my own for internalizing it for so long. Eventually, I just started. It was painful and hard and I couldn’t go very far, but I did it. I had years where I could run a 5K with some effort and other years where even just 2 miles was f*cking hard. At this point, I’m at a place where running requires a LOT of effort, but not impossible (i.e. slow and steady). I’m also smart enough to realize that with proper training I CAN do it [cue Nike commercial]. At any rate, overcoming this mental/physical obstacle of running my first half marathon, is total motivation for accomplishing other life goals, RE: PAYING OFF MY DEBT.

In turn, I’m seeing all the ++ positives ++ for both my health and finances. I’ll plan to check in on my progress here monthly. This will be less in terms of fitness updates, such as my running speed, but more for its potential impact, or lack thereof, on my other health and financial habits. I’m sure for seasoned runners and/or ‘true’ personal finance people this endeavor is somewhat juvenile, but I’m totally owning where I’m starting from. That’s what being on this debt-free journey is all about!

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