This week we have the honor to have the Ironman Visually Impaired World Record holder Erich Manser as a guest blogger. He shares with us some of his early struggles and what he has learned becoming the athlete that he is today.
Early Running Days
I've come to realize an important thing about myself: I'm not quite the same if I don't get my run in.
It wasn't always this way. Twenty years ago, I was 80 pounds heavier, sleeping late, eating fast food, and living, uh, poorly. Eventually realizing how bad this felt, I attempted a few "false start" at bringing health & fitness into my life. I'd go out and hobble a mile or so, for perhaps 2 or 3 days in a row, and then miss the next week or two. It wasn't until I found myself working at a job with an on-site fitness center that I managed to really get in a groove, making fitness a consistent part of my routine. And then, there was no going back.
Growing & Learning
Before long, those short, overweight slogs had evolved in to marathon training, finishing my first 26.2 mile experience at the Cape Cod Marathon in 2006 with a time of 3:31:28 (remains my PR today). Now, preparing for the 2019 Boston Marathon, which will be my 20th marathon (10th in Boston), I realize a few humble suggestions I can offer:
1. Be Safe - from avoiding injury, to avoiding hazards out on the roads, your first priority should be safety, preserve your ability to engage in this activity (RUSeen Reflective wear is a huge part of my safety strategy!)
2. Prepare for ups & downs - literally on the roads, but also more generally - You'll experience hi's & low's consistently, don't be discouraged, any healthy running day is a good day
3. Aim for consistency - If I miss a day, I may feel out of sorts, but it's not the end of the world. There's always tomorrow. Get out there again tomorrow.
4. You are your main competition - The best gauge you have for how far you've come is where you were before. Push from within yourself, and offer kindness and support to others out there - we're all in this together!
While these are far from the only takeaways I've gotten from my active lifestyle - of which the benefits are far too numerous to mention - I do consider these 4 to be especially key to adopting and sustaining an ongoing, healthy fitness routine. In my experience, as in running itself, if I go out too fast, it gets very difficult to maintain. The key to finding a balanced formula that works for you is to ease in sensibly, find your comfortable cadence, seek steady growth, and the gains are sure to follow.
Safety is fundamental, too, as it can literally make or break your very ability to keep running. I absolutely LOVE my RUSEEN reflective vests for this very reason!
You don't need eyesight to have vision
Ironman Visually Impaired World Record holder 10:42:59