Fitness Through the Holidays

We are entering the joyous time of the year when the demands on your time increase and the fitness training slips. You must rely upon some good time management.

The following are useful words for the novice and refreshers for the advanced.

Army Major Kelly Calway, 2008 Army Female Athlete of the Year, former member of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), the 38th Marine Corps Marathon female champion (2:42:16), and a frequent participant at the Army Ten-Miler shared some tips for beginning runners:

  • Set a goal and commit to it. Sign up and pay for a 5k, 10k, or half marathon in the future; depending on your fitness level you may want to seek a race two to six months in the future.
  • Make yourself a plan with sub-goals.
  • Get the RIGHT shoes. Go to a local running store, like Pacers, and get outfitted with the correct pair of shoes for you. Don’t skimp on this step and buy discount shoes because they won’t be as good.
  • Start training! It’s time to do the hard work. Start executing the plan and recording your progress in a book or an app. Try to find a training partner, if you can.
  • Stick with it! The first two weeks are the hardest. Then about two weeks in, you get bored, want to quit, it’s cold, etc. Training is never a perfect execution of the plan, that’s impossible, so remind yourself to stay the course even if you miss a few days due to illness, work, life, etc.
  • Race! You’ve made it to race day! Now get out there and show off all the work that you did! Enjoy the day, give it your all, and be proud of yourself!

A few other pointers:

  • Running is FUN when you get outside and explore different routes. Even I hate running on a treadmill, so get outside and feel the sunshine, run in the mall, or through the forest!
  • Establish a strong core. This is essential to avoid injury, especially as you start out.
  • Do running drills. This will help you become a more efficient runner.
  • Sprinkle in speed work! You won’t improve very much unless you ramp it up a couple of times a week.
  • Don’t let your watch rule your runs! I often toss the GPS and just let myself run free. I encourage everyone to escape from technology for a run. It’s liberating, and you will learn a lot about your capability when you feel your way through runs rather than allowing a watch to tell you how you are feeling.

Caitlyn Tateishi of Washington, 10th place with 1:02:11 at the 2018 Army Ten-Miler, and in 2017 placed 16th with 1:03:46, commented on running and what keeps her pushing hard,

I try to remember that running is something I do, not who I am. A bad time or placing is not a reflection of my worth as a person. That separation for me is very important. Often times things that are out of your control such as weather, work, general life stress can affect your race result and is not a reflection of your effort or your training. This was definitely the case in this year’s ATM with the humidity! I just keep pushing in training towards the next race where hopefully everything comes together perfectly so I can truly run to my potential.

Barb Fallon-Wallace of Alexandria, VA, 2017 and 2018 master winner Army Ten-Miler, said,

Life is a balance for everyone. You just have to make time for the important things in life and those that make you happy. Running isn’t the focus of my life, but it plays an important role. I fit my training in around my family and work. It may not be as much as I want but it seems to be working. Also, flexibility is key to my training. Being flexible with when, where, and what! It is great to see all the service men and women come out and support this race. It is huge for them and you can tell it is a special race. The atmosphere is very patriotic, and I am glad to be part of it.

Kathrine Swizter is an iconic figure in the sport of running, born in Amberg, Germany, and her father was a Major in the U.S. Army. In 1967 she was the first female official finisher at the Boston Marathon. She is an athlete, activist, speaker, board chair and founder of 261 Fearless, Inc., author of Marathon Woman: Running & Walking for Women Over 40, and co-author of 26.2Marathon Stories. 

Switzer shared a few points:

  • Just put on your shoes and go out the door, walking and then jogging a little.
  • Find a buddy who will begin walking or/and jogging with you. Take it slow and make it fun. A buddy is there for you in the cold and dark and won’t keep you waiting.
  • Make it consistent. Going out the door for 15 minutes a day is better than going out once a week for an hour.
  • Having said that, something is always better than nothing.
  • Make a goal and write it down. A local 5K in three to four months’ time is a good goal.
  • Don’t think about losing weight. This is about giving yourself something, not trying to get rid of something. Give yourself the gift of a stress bust, fresh air, time to be alone and contemplate nature, or be with a buddy and just do relaxed talking. Worrying about your body is counterproductive; think of this as a gift that frees you, not burdens you with more obligation.
  • You are never too old, too big or too nonathletic to begin to walk or run.
  • Missed a day or three? Don’t criticize yourself, just start again.

Michael Wardian, who in 2017 ran 7 marathons on 7 continents, commented,

I am driven to continually evolve and I want to see just how far and fast I can go. I want to continue to do incredible things to see if I can and I like to do things that scare me and make me uncomfortable. If I can keep challenging myself, I know I can keep running at the highest level. I learned that I don’t ever want to limit myself. I know that we all can do incredible things and I think not getting in your own way is critical to achievement.

A few days before the 24th Marine Corps Marathon on October 24, 1999, Marine and Olympian Billy Mills, the only American to win Olympic Gold at the 1964 Olympics at 10,000 meters, stated the following, “How dreams come true: find your desire, know yourself, and then comes success. The pursuit of excellence takes you to success. That’s what took me to the Olympics.” He added, “What I took away from the sport is displayed in the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon: unity through diversity.”

Happy Holidays.


About George Banker

George Banker is the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), the second largest 10-mile road race in the Unites States and this year the race will accept 35,000 runners. The responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, designing of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Started August 2003. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. Retired from the U.S. Air Force (Enlisted grade Technical Sergeant) Experience include ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, a freelance photographer and journalist, Senior Writer for the Runner’s Gazette, contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and RunWashington. District of Columbia Road Runners Club (DCRRC) Hall of Fame Inductee for 2006 The former president and meet director for the Mid-Atlantic Corporate Athletic Association Relays (1986-1993). Director for the Washington’s Birthday Marathon Relay (1989-1999), started the Relay. Race consultant, and steering committee member with the following events: Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run (1989), George Washington’s Parkway Classic 5K/10 Miler, Lawyer’s Have Heart 10K, Marine Corps Marathon (Historian - Ad Hoc Publicity Committee) , Navy Half Marathon & 5-Miler, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. State Record Keeper USA Track & Field, 1993 to present. Chair, Trends and Issues Committee, Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) 1993-2000. Member USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. Avid runner, 99 marathons completed and serve in additional capacity as race announcer, media relations, and invited elite runner coordinator for several local area races. Six JFK 50 Miler completed to date. The Marine Corps Marathon in October 2014 will be my 100th marathon and my 31st time running it. Author of “The Marine Corps Marathon A Running Tradition” (1976-2006) September 2007 publish date. Completed 30 MCM’s to date (2013). ( December 2006 MetroSports Athlete of the Month Hall of Fame Inductee 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon Running PRs: Marathon 3:04:32 (’88) Houston-Tenneco, Half-Marathon 1:22:40 (’84) Philadelphia Distance Run, 10-Miles 1:02:10 (’87) Army Ten-Miler, 10K 37:42 (’84) Diabetes Derby, 5K 18:28 (’88) Stanford University, 1600 Meters 5:18 (’87) Gallaudet University. Graduated with an AA in Accounting from Prince George’s Community College with honors, Largo, MD (’76), and a BBA in Accounting from George Washington University, Washington, DC (’84). Educational community involvement: Volunteer speaker, Connection Resource Bank, Division of Family and Community Partnerships, Montgomery County Public Schools (1995- Present)

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