First Half Marathon, eh?
That’s super exciting! What made you decide to do it? Just for funzies? Or are you joining our nutty club of runners who have gotten to the point we think about things like “9 miles away? I could totally run that”.
Yes, runners are weirdos. We claim the weirdo gene.
I’ll admit that when I started running I hated it. True story. I thought that I had become a crazy person. However, I had made the commitment to run a half and I was going to do it. If you stick around long enough, you will see how competitive I am with myself. Here’s what I mean, if I think I can’t do it, I love to prove myself wrong.
Okay! Here we go, 11 Things to Know before Running Your First Half Marathon
- Training plans are non-negotiable. This is something that I wish I had done for my first half which was 4 years ago. I poked around the internet and mashed together things that I thought might work and to be honest, I struggled big time. You have to have a plan in place and know where you’re headed! To be honest, I wish I had hired a running coach. I am not saying that because I am a running coach and offer training plans, I say that because I have personally seen how running coaches time and again help runners meet and exceed their goals. I’ve done it and my peers have done it as well. If you’re iffy on a training plan, you can grab my eBook here for just $12 called From Walker to Marathoner.
- Set a goal for yourself. Think outside the box on this one because a goal doesn’t necessarily mean time. Since this is your first half marathon I actually recommend that your goal be something other than time because you don’t have a time to compare to. Example – instead of a goal of time, maybe set a goal of I will run 10 of the 13 miles using a type of run/walk method.
- Put the comparison game out of your mind. This is so hard, believe me, I promise I do understand the comparison game of comparing yourself to other runners. Just don’t do it. You don’t know their life and they don’t know yours. The fact you’re out there and working towards a goal is awesome! There’s nothing to compare; you do you because I mean lets be real, you are pretty fantastic.
- Good shoes are a must. This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people I’ve come across that will buy new shoes right before a race. Yikes! If you think that your shoes will be too worn out before race day, go ahead and grab some new shoes at least a month to six weeks before the race to give you a chance to break them in. Not sure what shoes to get? I’ve been running for years and been through the different brands and styles and Reebok Harmony Road is hands down my all-time favorite. You can grab a pair here! I have these exact shoes right now and I love love love them. You can see below my feet wearing the Harmony Road’s. So comfortable and so light, they’re just perfect for running.
- Think local for your first half. I recommend a local race for your first half and the reason for this is so that you can know the race route and train accordingly! My very first half marathon was a course that was full of hills. Had I not trained properly according to the race course, then it would have made for a very difficult race! Hill running is vital for runners of all levels but it has to be done and incorporated into your training plan properly! The Ultimate Guide to Running Hills is a post I wrote specifically about hill running. Go check it out and Pin it so you have easy access for when you’re ready!
- Hydate, Run, Hydrate, Repeat process. I know that carrying a water bottle in your hand for a long run is obnoxious… Been there, done that. Thankfully a brilliant inventor came up with this little jewel. It carries your water for you and keeps your hands free. You can also hide water bottles along your route before you start so you have your self made aid stations along the way! Please be sure to go BACK and pick up your trash. Let’s be responsible y’all.
- Plan your diet accordingly. REMEMBER that "diet" does NOT mean the latest diet fad you see on who knows where. Diet means what you eat on the daily, what do you daily consume to fuel your body? My mama always said "honey, garbage in, garbage out" which basically means, if you eat garbage, you will have garbage energy and garbage fuel. Now, I'm not a nutritionist or anything like that but I do know from personal experience and being a coach that I have to have more high quality calories when my miles increase. You have to make the decision on how many calories to increase based on your personal needs and current diet regime or get in contact with a nutritionist who can help you meal plan should you need very specific diet needs.
- Take good care of your sore muscles. You're going to be sore and that's okay! It's how you handle your sore muscles that makes all the difference. This one actually can tie into #6 because your hydration can help with your sore muscles as well.
- Support systems are vital. Support systems could mean having a running buddy or it could mean finding a running club and training with them. Yes, there are such things as running clubs and they are great communities of people!
- Choose your clothes ahead of time and train in those clothes for a few of your long runs to make sure they aren’t going to rub your skin raw somewhere. I partner with Just Strong Clothing and their clothes are absolutely incredible. Plus I love their message and purpose of empowering women. They also offer my readers a discount! Use Discount Code AGEORGE10 at checkout!
- Have Fun. No, I'm not being corny. Remember that this is something you want to do! This is a celebration of yourself, your spirit, and your drive to better yourself. You're not doing this to punish yourself (and if you are.... then that's another issue that I'm not qualified to address). Although I will say, your workouts should never be a punishment to your body, it should be a celebration of what your body can do! This is an amazing process as you push yourself and discover everything your body is capable of.
Let's get to Training!
I know that was a lot of information but don’t stress! I’ll break it down for you really quickly.
Remember, there’s more to this than finding a random training plan online. Find a plan by someone who knows exactly what they're doing.
Running a half marathon is a huge deal and take a lot of work! Keep a good attitude and don’t compare yourself to veteran marathoners who run many half marathons a year. Focus on you and your training and you will be just fine.
I want to reiterate one more time the importance of good clothing and good shoes for a half marathon. The last thing you want is to have raw places rubbed on your skin because your clothes were not of high quality and softness. I’ve been there and done that, and it is not a good time nursing those raw places that are in the most inconvenient of places. You will love Just Strong Clothing with your discount (AGEORGE10) and the Reebok Harmony Road!
Remember this, even if this is the only half marathon you ever do. You can mark it off your bucket list and move on with the next fitness goal that you have! OR you can be fully crazy and do a full marathon!
Here’s the bottom line, sister. You can do this, but it will take hard work and dedication; once you’ve made your decision to do it, go for it. Don’t look back and question your decision, run free and cross that finish line with confidence. Whether it’s a sub two hour half or a 4+ hour half, you’ve accomplished a goal.
And that, sister, is a win!
*Be Sure To Pin For Later!