I joined Health Warrior in January of 2016 after a decade working in the music industry – namely designing and marketing everyone’s favorite little instrument: the Hawaiian ukulele.  This was a job that would take me to visit the islands regularly, and Hawaii has become a place I know quite well.  Though I am Virginia born and raised my time visiting America’s 50th state had a huge influence on me, and I often find myself daydreaming plans for my next 9,000 mile round trip back to my second home.

For the last few years I have been taking a fairly casual approach to fitness, lacking the inspiration or drive to set or achieve real goals and with no specific focus on any one activity.  After a few short months spent with the incredible individuals that make up the team at Health Warrior, I suddenly found myself inspired to set some serious fitness goals for 2016 and beyond.  So, I thought of a plan that would unite this new found drive with my love for that little chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific:  I would run the 2016 Honolulu Marathon.

The Honolulu Marathon, in its 44th year in 2016, is America’s fourth largest marathon.  This year over 30,000 runners took the 26.2 mile trek through downtown Honolulu, ascending the front of Diamond Head crater at dawn, circling the base of Koko Head, and then ending the race at Queen Kapiolani Park in the far end of the infamous Waikiki tourist district.  Truly an international affair, Japan Airlines is the title sponsor and over half of the runners will make the trip from Japan to take part.  It’s a one of a kind race not only because of the location, but it’s unique mix of cultures and runners of all backgrounds and skill levels.

Pretty cool goal for a first marathon, don’t you think?  Months of training and talking about this race (likely far too much, apologies family and friends!) would set my eye dead on the prize:  a mid-December trip to paradise, and a chance to push myself harder than ever before.

Regarding training – I have a few key points that I would like to share with the would-be marathoner or anyone looking to update their routine:

Set your schedule

Just about everyone knows about Hal Higdon’s training method for marathon prep, and I agree that this is a straight-forward and reliable approach to training.  Pro tip: there are tools online which will automatically map out your daily runs on your Google Calendar, an extra level of accountability and an automatic reminder of your daily miles.

Stretch

I had great success with Phil Wharton’s Active Isolated Flexibility method.  Regular stretches and yoga are great, but this is an approach meant specifically for runners and is very easy to learn, give it a try!

Supplementation

Even with months of training, the miles begin to add up quickly and can take a toll on your body.  Though it’s designed for weight lifters, I found that Animal Flex was the perfect mix of vitamins and supplements to help your body recover and adapt to the stress of road running.

Pre

Health Warrior Chia Seeds and good coffee are my keys to a successful run.  Pre-workouts and other serious stimulants would often leave me too jittery to pace myself for a longer distance jaunt and eating much more than seeds will likely sit like a brick in your stomach.  Simple!

During

I can’t recommend Nuun products enough.  Everything your body needs to stay hydrated and keep pumping out the miles – eliminating the need to drink too much water or eat too much during the race.  When you need it, I found that Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bar or a Bobo’s Oat Bar were great snacks to bring along for the ride.

Post/Recovery

I’ve found that Bulletproof Collagen Protein has helped immensely with quick repair of my body’s soft tissue, which I would often pair with a Temple Turmeric shot to help ease any inflammation after a run.  These tools were key in helping me run on the daily.

So that’s it!  A brief look into one of America’s largest, and most beautiful marathons.  Whether you are looking for a reason to visit Hawaii, run your first marathon, or just want a break from the average race – I simply can not recommend this experience enough.  I’ve found running to be a friendly, approachable community – one that is even more enjoyable when it includes that extra little bit of aloha!  I hope to see you there for next year’s race!