So You’re Thinking About A Marathon: 5 Tips for Pre-Training and Training by Sonya Bridges

Marathon season is back again, everyone’s preparing for their big race. We’ve got KOTR, ING New York Marathon and next year Condura Skyway Marathon, ING Singapore Marathon, then The Bullrunner Dream Marathon batch 3. 

New York Marathon 2011  had to take the back seat due to medical reasons and all the leg work for the business but next month, the baby steps towards enduring the marathon will commence.

Meanwhile, for my fervently training running friends, may this interview with Sonya Bridges, A marathon runner and literacy advocate who is gaining national attention for her efforts in fighting illiteracy and educating others about learning disabilities,  Sonya Bridges also happens to be dyslexic , and turned to running to cope with the emotional trauma of being bullied in school because of her learning disability.

May this post inspire and motivate you more towards your marathon. There’s no such thing as impossible!

At one point or another, the idea of entering a marathon sprints across the mind of a runner.  This can be intimidating territory for many, especially those who either just started running, or who run but don’t consider themselves terribly athletic. When Sonya Bridges was younger, She, like many of us has never imagined running such a long distance. But the idea flitted through her mind a few times, then began to linger until She could no longer ignore its siren call and plunked down money for her first one — sounds familiar? Now, just like how high many of us got into running, she’s hooked!

Here are some pre-training and training tips that worked for Sonya Bridges:

5 Pre- Marathon training tips:

1.     Understand that training for a marathon is very time consuming.  Fitting long runs in of thirteen to twenty miles during the weeks of marathon training is difficult for most people because of busy schedules.  But long runs are necessary to build physical and mental stamina, so get ready to give up some major personal/family/friend time.

2.    Get a clean bill of health before beginning marathon training.  If you’re new to running, see a doctor before beginning a marathon training schedule.

3.    Invest a new pair of running shoes.  Make sure they fit properly.  Find a store that has the ability to put you on a treadmill and analyze your gait. This helps you find the shoes that fit best.

4.    Invest in a GPS.  While not a necessity for marathon training, a GPS provides a heart monitor and it will help reach your distance goals in desired time.      

5.    Sign up for a race ­ If you slap down money and make a reservation, chances are you will complete your training and show up for race day.  Once the money is paid, a true commitment has been made, and the update emails regarding the race event will keep your motivation to train sky-high.

5 Tips for Marathon training:

1.    Investigate the course.   A downloaded copy of the marathon map and the terrain is very beneficial.  If the course is hilly, find hills to run during your training.

2.    Stretch, stretch, and stretch to avoid injury.  Develop a warm-up and stretching routine.  Proper stretching should be done from head-to-toe to avoid injury.    

3.    Watch calorie intake.  Don’t assume marathon training gives permission for feeding frenzies after every run.  The same principle of eating more calories than you burn will cause weight gain still holds true during marathon training.         

4.    Be your own motivator. The mind is a battlefield, so be determined to win over any negative thoughts that might creep in during your training and never lose sight of your goal.    

5.    Understand the difference between soreness and injury.  Never push through pain.  Soreness is expected and even welcomed, but if an injury persists, it should be addressed with medical attention.       

        —- ** —–

Sonya Bridges is the founder of A Family Affair, an organization that promotes literacy awareness nationally. Bridges received her M.Ed and made it halfway through her Ph.D program before an official diagnosis revealed she has dyslexia and ADHD.  She attributes running to healing her emotionally and helping her focus each day.

“Running saved my life,” says Bridges. “It boosted my self-esteem and was an outlet for me to find solace.”

It’s a success story with a rough beginning and a hopeful outcome. While working through her Ph.D. program, Bridges was diagnosed with dyslexia.  Suddenly, all of her academic problems,which started in kindergarten, 30 some-odd years ago started to make sense, and she was inspired to learn everything she could about dyslexia management and treatment. More importantly, it fueled her fire to help others, too.

In 2010, Bridges established A Family Affair, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy awareness and fosters a deeper understanding of dyslexia, recognizing that family support is crucial to success. In addition, the foundation awards scholarships to students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia who wish to attend college or vocational school and to individuals pursuing a degree in dyslexia therapy.

Her efforts are gaining attention in print, online, and on the radio:Bridges’ tips on what parents can do for their dyslexic children has been featured on national websites such as, on the nationally syndicated radio program The Health Show, and in a number of family and parenting magazines across the nation. Recent features include the Laurel-Leader Call and on the University of Michigan’s Dyslexia Help website.

Through A Family Affair, Bridges has supported literacy efforts nationally and has been instrumental in establishing pioneering dyslexic therapy programs in schools interested in meeting the needs of these bright, underserved children.” From the Laurel Leader-Call, September 19, 2011

Throughout it all, Bridges has relied on running, which has helped her to focus immensely, as she also was diagnosed with ADHD. Some marathons, half-marathons and 5Ks later, it has been her one constant, and something she encourages both children and adults alike to try as a way of making life better.



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