My First Half Marathon: 6 Half Marathon Tips From Someone Who’s Run 13.1

I’ve been running since 2009. My first 5ks were in South Korea. I love running, I do. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s my mellow, my calm and quite frankly, my best jam when it comes to exercise.

Truth be told, I wasn’t super prepared for my first half marathon. In fact, most people don’t know this, but, I hadn’t trained a full two weeks before the actual race. “How could you?!” You might ask, well, I really battled with the training length. I signed up in November 2016 and had so many months of training, I got bored and it got COLD. I go in hibernation mode in the winter.

My first half marathon — DC Rock n Roll — it was 24 degrees and super windy. Mile 6 was really difficult for me. It was UP THE CRAZIEST HILL. There was a real point when I felt physically sick, it took everything I had to get myself to the top. By mile 10, I was super exhausted. At that point it’s all will power. Especially for me during mile 12 when I had to truly push myself to the finish. The volunteers were awesome along the way.  Strangers were too, especially those who handed out cups of  Guinness along the way.  Crossing the finish line was the greatest feeling in the world. 3:16:49 is my official time.  The next day, I wore my race medal to brunch. The day after that I wore it to work. I was so proud of myself and still am! I can’t wait to do another half marathon! These moments make or break a person, but real runners always come back to what they love.

The race was on Saturday and I didn’t full 100% recover until Wednesday. I started exercising 13 days after the race and now I’m preparing for a 10 miler on May 28th. This time, it’s all about preparation. After you’ve done 13.1, you feel like you can do anything! My goals are to run 6 miles in an hour and to decrease my half marathon time from 3:16 to 3 hours and then keep it going down from there.

6 Half Marathon Tips From Someone Who’s Run 13.1 

  1. Sign up for the race at least four months in advance. Use the time to find a training schedule you’d like and will actually abide by. Make sure it allows you to mix things up, or you’ll get bored like I did. Maybe start your training for less weeks than I had mine. My plan came from halfmarathons.net.
  2. Tell someone you signed up for the race. Through that comes a ton of support, from people you know and you don’t. You don’t have to do everything alone. I tend to run alone all the time. I’ve done group runs in the past and never liked them. I still struggle with people who talk during races. I like to vibe out and just find calm. To each there own!
  3. Stick to the plan and always think positively! Post it on social media, you’ll find a ton of people are also avid runners who have been in your shoes.
  4. Remember that rest day IS important.  If you’re anything like me, rest is a difficult concept to understand. I think it’s in my nature to not be still. To fight the sit, take a slow walk in your neighborhood for an hour, go to the gym, jam out to music and walk it out on the treadmill or go home and clean something. Anything to take your mind off of “rest”. By that time, you’ll be tired and ready for bed.
  5. Take the Metro. I ended up paying $33 for a Lyft that went a few blocks only to get stuck in major traffic. All the roads were closed for the race. The course went in a ton of different neighborhoods throughout D.C., so make sure to take the Metro or subway in your city to get to the start line. It’s much less hassle and costs much less than a cab or ride share service.
  6. Have fun! The start line is going to be crazy, full of runners who are just as excited as you. You might even have to pee! Get to the start at least 15 minutes before the race if you want or make it 8 minutes before like I did. I hate feeling like my stomach is flipping, so I take the time out of it, jump around to a great song and go.
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