Train Like an Athlete …

… because you are one. Duh!

Every time I lace up my sneakers and hit the sidewalk, trail or treadmill I’m a runner, training hard to excel at my next race. This wasn’t always my thought process though. Ah! My first post-high school race was back in 2009 and it was a dare + royal mess. I signed-up with some family members to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k which was max 6 weeks away. I wasn’t exercising regularly, didn’t follow a training plan, and didn’t even go to the Expo to pick-up my race packet. On race day I was super nervous and to top it all off I didn’t have my race bib because it was locked in the trunk of a car. 😦 Whomp. Whomp. Whomp. Long story short… I pleaded with a gate official at one of the last corrals to let me in the race. I finished the race with out an official time but I didn’t care, because I finished. 🙂 I was sore for the next week and so ended my racing. LOL


Fast forward to 2014 when I got my fitness life in check. I ran the 2014 Shamrock Shuffle and was hooked. I signed up for the Chicago 10K and used the Nike Run App – Coach feature to train. My life has been forever changed. It hit all the things I needed to stick with and complete a training program successfully:

  • what days to run
  • how many miles to run each day
  • what type of run to do (tempo, speed, easy pace…)
  • cross training days
  • nice little green check marks – to show completion 🙂

Since the Nike app doesn’t have a 10k coach I used the beginner half marathon coach for my 10k training and modified slightly. I have learned a lot in the past year when it comes to my training and how I like to train. Below are a few of my must haves for what I deem a successful training program.

Training Plan:

So, hands down my favorite training programs are in the Nike Run App. The coach feature has 5k, 10k, half and marathon training plans all with beginner, intermediate, and advance training schedules. I have used others training plans in the past but I wasn’t able to stick with them. I like to being paperless and that I can have my training plan with me wherever I am. I also, like that the Nike app is interactive and sends me reminders for the next days run. It lets you know when you’ve reached each mile, gives you your splits at the end of each run and provides a nice weekly summary for each week of the training plan. And the motivation from Nike athletes at the end of a run is also a plus. My faves are Sonya Richardson-Ross & Apollo Ono. I feel big time!




weekly summary


I have a few 3, 4 & 5 mile routes around my neighborhood planned out so that I can do up and back for longer distances. I like to know where I’m running before I leave the house. I also study the race routes so I know where aid/water stations are and where certain miles are so that I know the best time to take my supplements.

Where I’m Going to Train:

I wasn’t a weather checker until I started running outside. 🙂 I like to have a few runs in the rain just in case it’s raining on race day. That way I’m prepared. Now that I joined a gym I have no excuse on the weeks that it rains all week. I just hit the treadmill and keep the training going. Rain won’t stop my show.

Cross Training:

I’m not going to lie. I really enjoy cross training and lifting. I love the way my body looks with less cardio and more weights. I’m just saying!!! 😛 But I love the feeling of crossing the finish line on a distance goal that I’ve been training for, for 8-12 weeks. Nonetheless, cross training is key to injury prevention. It’s also a great change of space from running and helps your body build muscle so you run stronger.


I just started adding race supplements to my training this training season for my half marathon. I like Cliff Gel and Nuun tablets for my water. Neither have caffeine, which means it’s a slow release of carbs, and works well with my body during runs. I’m not the biggest fan of protein powder but I do like the pre-made protein shakes for post-workouts now.


Last but not least – I must have my music during my runs. Music helps me keep my pace and pushes me to keep going on longer runs. I have a few different playlists but some of my playlist regulars are:

  • Lecrae – I Know
  • KB – Sideways
  • Mary Mary – Get Up
  • Pharrell – Happy
  • Tini Tempah – Pass Out
  • Swizz Beatz – International Party ft. Alicia Keys
  • Katy Perry – Roar

I hope my training tips are helpful. Happy Training!