Olympian Summer Sanders on Training For the Disney Half Marathon Featured

Authors: fitsugar

We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from espnW here on FitSugar!

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summer Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24. Follow her on espnW.com as she shares training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event.

By Summer Sanders

Olympian Summer Sanders on Training For the Disney Half Marathon

I run because it opens me up. It's me time, and every moment I'm out there is a challenge that I have to meet.

It's not easy. It reminds me of when I was swimming — it's freeing, it relieves my stress and it gives me focus. Those good feelings are not tied to one sport. They are part of athletes' universal language.

Running also opens up my creativity.

Why I am Running

I always have my smartphone on me, which is crucial when I run. I think of all kinds of ideas while I'm out there. I write them down in the notes section of my phone. It's just like working through feelings in your dreams or writing down your thoughts before you go to bed at night.

I also get back in the pool all the time. It's so normal for me. If I go for a 40-minute run, I'll get in the pool afterward for another 20 minutes. I use swimming like people use yoga — it complements my training and allows me to continue to run as often as I want. I stop at the wall and stretch. I love having swimming in my back pocket.

How I overcome certain training road blocks

I also have a girlfriend yoga night. Twice a month, we do sweaty, hot Vinyasa yoga and then go to dinner. I look forward to that night — to the workout and time with my friends; it makes working out more social, just like it was in college.

Keep reading for more.

I feel the way everyone else does in the winter, but we can't let it stop our training.

When it's cold and dark outside, we all want to curl up in bed. I say, stick with it. Give yourself a chance by getting out of bed, even if you feel tired. Take that step to get up, and then reevaluate how tired you really are. You can back off on your pace if you're feeling exhausted, go shorter or slower. You can even move your workout inside to avoid the elements. You'll surprise yourself. You'll feel awake and refreshed after you get out the door and complete that first mile. Sometimes all it takes is getting started.

Get a running start to your day

Don't start going down the path of skipping workouts or slacking off. It will only make you feel worse — more stressed, less prepared. The more you give in, the easier it will be to keep caving.

Training with my girlfriends lifts me

Once you've earned some extra sleep, save that for a special morning and relish it. You'll sleep better and have another reason to get out the door next time.

Stick to the positive cycle you've begun and then remember how good it feels.

Tips on how to choose a race

espnW — connecting female sports fans to the sports they love and follow.

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