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By Transamerica / Sep 28, 2016

Training With Heart: Episode Two

23140_thpbcsth0916_chase_training_with_heart Tomorrow Chasers are Transamerica employees signed up to run their first half marathon at the Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon – 13.1 miles – in Denver on October 16. The team will start at the back of the pack, and for every runner they pass, Transamerica will donate a dollar to the American Heart Association.

As they train, the Tomorrow Chasers are discovering common lessons about the mental side of running. Read their inspirational stories about why they’re running and what they’ve learned: 

VANESSA DIAZ, Vice President Market Insights

When we last spoke with Vanessa, she had suffered an injury during her first week of training. Unfortunately, those issues continued to plague her. But our sole female Tomorrow Chaser is taking to heart the lessons learned.

After seeing a physical therapist, Vanessa discovered she has an alignment issue. It’s a vague diagnosis, but a common one for women who run. Trying to heal while sticking to her training plan is creating challenges as well as opportunities to learn about her personal running journey.

Vanessa has stuck to her plan, but she has learned it’s OK to give herself permission to take time off when she needs to. And with the physical challenges, Vanessa learned she can’t afford to skip valuable aspects of training, such as stretching and physical therapy.

Vanessa also learned running is as much about mental toughness as it is about physical endurance. With the help of running partners and advice from experienced runners, she has pushed herself mentally. While she initially thought she could just wing it and get through the race, Vanessa learned she must plan, use her body wisely, and run thoughtfully. 

NATHAN LOWTHER, Assistant Vice President – Variable Annuities

We last found Nathan running in Hawaii. Not a bad place to tackle the beginning of a training program. The hills of Kona helped him conquer new physical challenges, and the results are already showing.

Nathan started training knowing he wanted to shed some weight. Spurred by his father’s history of heart disease, Nathan set out to live a healthier lifestyle and motivate others to do the same. Since starting, Nathan has lost 15 pounds. While getting back into running has been harder than he expected, he learned that by finding the right motivation to stay focused on his plan, he can accomplish more than he thought.

And it’s working. For the past 10 years, Nathan’s blood pressure has been in the prehypertension range.  His father’s heart attacks concerned Nathan and his family. Now, his blood pressure is back in a normal range. By taking care of his heart, Nathan is on course toward a healthier, longer life.

Looking ahead, Nathan expects to feel better every day. As his miles have increased, so has his focus on his overall health. He’s improved his diet, focused on portion control, and stayed better hydrated. His anxiety about race day is down, and his confidence is up. 

ANDREW MACQUEEN, Assistant Director

As Andrew started increasing his mileage, he questioned his ability to reach the distances he needed. Even breaking the five-mile mark was still in question. Setting out on a long run, he wondered about conquering the eight miles on his training schedule, a significant increase. To hit the milestone, he would have to overcome doubt and push his body. Success: Andrew hit eight miles and pushed even farther, breaking 10 miles.

Andrew said halfway through the run his cardio felt good, but his legs were tired. That’s when mental toughness kicked in. He summoned an image of his daughter – who battled a heart defect as a child – as inspiration. When he got to the eighth mile, he felt a power within. He hit nine miles. His feet started to burn, and his legs were telling him it was time to stop, but he was not done. With an extra push, he conquered a 10th mile.

Andrew has newfound confidence. He has learned that by pushing his body a little at a time, he can make his desired gains. He has also discovered running is a powerful stress reliever. When he gets home exhausted from work, he laces up his running shoes, gets his training miles in, and comes home relaxed and ready to enjoy time with family.

BOBBY MOTHERSHED, Internal 401(k) Sales Consultant

Bobby’s biggest challenge was getting past “the wall,” a point where he didn’t think he could go any farther. He has been running up to six miles and has pushed the imaginary wall out to mile five. His stamina is improving, and he feels stronger with every training activity.

Bobby has learned to adapt his training plan. After the first three weeks, he wanted to do more than the plan called for, and he felt ready, physically and mentally, to push harder. He’s added cross training, and when his plan calls for a rest day, he still participates in an activity, usually cycling.

His plan is working. Bobby has not experienced any major pain or soreness and feels his strength and endurance improving. He enjoys scenic runs, putting himself in environments where he can zone out from the physical stress he is placing on his body.

Bobby’s biggest discovery has been how music motivates him. When he started training, he used punk rock music to pump up and distract him. But he recently found classical music keeps his mind and body relaxed.

Bobby is counting down the days to the race. As he gets stronger and running comes more naturally, he is eager to see what that day will bring and what he will bring to the race.

Ready to learn more?
Training With Heart: Episode One
Transamerica and the American Heart Association Rock (‘n’ Roll) Denver
7 Signs of Heart Failure
Staying Healthy at Work Can Help You – and Your Job – Save Money