A blog by runners. For runners.

Women's Health's RUN 10 FEED 10 Atlanta Action Hero

In this blog post, Women's Health's RUN 10 FEED 10 Chicago Action Hero Jessica Laiti shares how she got started running, and why she's excited about the upcoming race.

WalkJogRun: Why did you decide to sign up for the RUN 10 FEED 10 event?

Jessica Laiti: I signed up for RUN 10 FEED 10 because I am intrigued by hunger as an issue in our society. The program supports the FEED Foundation; and although the foundation has a global focus, this program allow the funds to stay local. In Georgia, nearly 28% of children are food insecure. Additionally, Georgia has the 2nd highest rate of childhood obesity, at 40%. Many low income families find it cheaper to eat fast food than to eat healthfully. RUN 10 FEED 10 combines physical activity with access to healthy food. With the power of the Women's Health brand, the program has the potential to truly make a difference in our community.

WalkJogRun: Which event are you participating in (location)?

Jessica Laiti: Although I live just outside of Atlanta, I ran the RUN 10 FEED 10 Denver race on September 29. A work commitment is keeping me from running Atlanta, so I decided to explore a new city while catching up with a friend who lives in Denver! She and I ran our first 10k together 10 years ago!

WalkJogRun: What's it like running in Atlanta?

Jessica Laiti: Atlanta is a beautiful city, full of hills and humidity. There are lots of sidewalks and parks throughout the city, and many beautiful homes to admire. When I was training for my first half marathon, my running partner and I would map out new runs each week. We learned our way on foot so well that in many areas, I know the cracks and dips in the sidewalks better than the ones in the road. Running made me fall in love with the city of Atlanta, and harbor a deeper love for my own neighborhood in Johns Creek.

WalkJogRun: How did you get started running?

Jessica Laiti: My first experience with running was as conditioning for rowing in high school. We ran a mile each day as a warm up and gradually built up to 6 miles.

WalkJogRun: Are you a morning runner or an evening runner?

Jessica Laiti: I consider myself a “whenever I can run” runner! Running in the morning is a great way to start the day, but it's often difficult to drag myself out of bed. Running in the evening is my favorite way to decompress from a stressful day. I strive to become more of a morning runner, so that my run is done and I can't make any excuses later in the day.

WalkJogRun: Have you ever run a 10k before?

Jessica Laiti: I sure have! My first 10k was the AJC Peachtree Road Race in 2002. I've run a number of races since then, including 6 half marathons and 1 full.

WalkJogRun: Did you start with a 5k before moving up to a 10k?

Jessica Laiti: I did not start with a 5k before my first 10k. But, I think a 5k is the perfect race distance for beginners. They give you a sense of what race days are like. The best way for me to build up distance is with one “long run” per week. I usually run this on Saturday or Sunday, with a friend. The distance is 2-3 miles farther than our longest run during the week and we run at a pace where we can chat the whole time. We gradually increase that distance each week. For example, our long runs for 5 weeks would look something like: 5 miles, 6 miles, 7 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles.

WalkJogRun: How has your training been going so far?

Jessica Laiti: This fall, I've tried something new for me: abolishing my training plan! After 5 years of ambitious running plans, I've decided to give myself a little bit of a break. My running has been much more low key and enjoyable. Plus, I've allowed myself to add in some cross-training. My neighborhood is super hilly and I love to go on runs with my dog. He gets excited and jumps around every time you ask him, “do you want to go running?”

WalkJogRun: What's something you've learned since starting your training that could help other runners?

Jessica Laiti: Running is never easy. It's helpful to build accountability for your training, by either running with a friend or group or by using social media tools like walkjogrun.net or dailymile.

WalkJogRun: Do you enjoy any other sports or cross training?

Jessica Laiti: Running is my bread and butter. But, I also enjoy road biking, spin class and Pilates.

WalkJogRun: What are you excited for the most about the Women's Health Run 10 Feed 10?

Jessica Laiti: I'm excited about the opportunity to make a difference and to share the gift of running with others!

WalkJogRun: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Jessica Laiti: Anyone can run a 10k. When I first started running in high school, I couldn't run a mile. During college, I lost much of my fitness. So when I decided to run a half marathon, it was difficult to feel like I was starting all over. One mile was a challenge again. But if you're patient with yourself, listen to your body and put in the work, you can do anything. I haven't always been athletic, but running has taught me that I'm capable of much more than I ever believed. The sense of accomplishment when you take care of yourself is something that no one else can do for you, nor take away from you.

This blog post is brought to you by Women's Health. For more information, please visit RUN10FEED10.com.