One of my New Year's Resolutions was to run a marathon. I've run 10 milers in the past and am currently training for a Half-Marathon. I not sure if I'm ready but since I spent $100 and registered for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, I'm on my way. So expect to see me in exactly 4 months and one day to be running around the beautiful lakes near Uptown, along the Mississippi river and to the capitol of St. Paul. I'm not looking to set a record pace or be at the top of my age group. In fact, I'm hoping to finish within a fairly reasonable amount of time (sub-9.5 min/mile).

Since training for the halfie and in the past for the 10 miler I've spent some time with my own thoughts. Because I know the amount of running in the next few months I presume it will be a ridiculous amount of time, a number that would drive me crazy. Luckily, there are a few tools that have helped my sanity, training and pleasure while on the run. If you ever starting training for a long distance race or find running a bore then I have a few recommendations. A few of them are listed below:

  1. Nike+ - Keep track of pace, time and calories. I upload info to a website and track any improvement. Setup challenges, get training plans or track progress. I'm using the plan they had for the Half & Full Marathons. The best part. It's simplicity: the sensor ($20) fits is in my shoe and connects to my 3GS iPhone and tracks my run. Not too happy that I have to by Nike shoes but it could be worse.
  2. iPhone 4 - Not only can I track my runs and record my training but I can also listen to music or gets phone calls. Yes, it's a little more bulky than an iPod nano or a Garmin Forerunner but I own it already and I don't have to spend any more money. Done and done.
  3. Motorola S9 - Nothing makes a 70 minute run shorter than having your attention directed toward something else (not fully mind you). My favorite distraction is audio, because I can keep the volume level low enough to hear cars or bikers but in a second revert my attention back to what I'm listening to. With these I can control volume or pause without taking out my iPhone and not have to worry about a wire geting tangled up or slapping me constantly like a mini form or torture. Did I mention it is wireless?
  4. Music/Podcasts - While running I listen to one of two things: music or podcasts. If it's not music it's This American Life or The Uncanny X-Cast while running. Not only only are the podcasts free but they are 1-2 hours and completely engaging. If your not a geek I apologize, for me though they seem to make the miles melt away.
  5. Minneapolis' Trails - Minnesota may be the best biking city in the US according to Bicycling Magazine but I think the trails also make it one of the best for running. Though running on pavement may not be ideal but running along side it eases the stress on the shins. If not for two trails to the north and south of my abode I'd have had a lot harder time keeping up with the training. The fact I can walk a half mile in either direction and find a trail that goes miles and miles in either direction is perfect. I'd proudly pay more in taxes!