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Nov 19, 2015

13.1 Tips for a Surviving Your First Half Marathon

I completed my first half marathon this fall. It's something that I started planning for around 9 months out so I had plenty of time to train, get excited, and get nervous. As someone who was never been into distance running it was totally new territory. I learned quite a bit and here is a little sliver of that wisdom for anyone looking to run their first race...
(1) Select the right race... My search for a half marathon began with a Google search for "flattest half marathon on the west coast". It was a solid strategy.

(2) ...at the right time of year.
 My race was in mid-October and I'm so thankful it wasn't any later than that. When the days started getting shorter it was getting harder and harder to fit runs in the daylight.

(3) Look at a training program, but don't live by it. Stay on track, but every body and everyone's schedule is different. You do you.  

(4) Invest in an ad-free music streaming service and in making a killer running playlist.  It's going to be your soundtrack for the next few months so it's worth it. Don't add all your favorite tunes at once, that way you still get new variety throughout your training.
Need a few suggestions?
Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis, Work B***h by Britney Spears, and Can't Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are a good place to start.

(5) Invest in the right pair of shoes...
I went and got fitted for a pair of running shoes at Road Runner when I got serious about training. It made a huge difference. I was wearing shoes for people who pronate and I don't actually pronate (obviously I bought them just because I liked the colors).

(6) ...and know when to replace them.
Most sources say to get a new pair of running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. The best advice I heard though was get a new pair when you feel like you need them. Unfortunately the week of the race I had flash backs of having a bit more skip in my step, but no time to break them in a new pair.

(7) Try to have changes in your routine inspire you rather than derail you.
During my training I was traveling a week per month to New York and had a ton of fun weekend trips planned. It would have been easy to let travel be an excuse to skip my routine, but I actually found enjoyment in having new environments to run in.

(8) Pockets can become your new best friend.
Pockets are always a friend, but as a workout class fanatic I never realized how amazing they are in active wear. For short runs a pocket was just what I needed. For longer runs at the end of my training you better believe I rocked that fanny.

(9) GU is the best worst dessert you'll ever have.
There is nothing like jazzing up mile 8 with the grossest thing you'll ever love eating!

(10) Find a running path that inspires you. Mine -------------->

(11) Let your emotions run you.
I definitely had miles where Eminem blasted through my headphones and I ran through anything that had happened that day at work. I also had miles where I found my inspiration by being thankful to be healthy and for having the freedom to spend my time running.

(12) Be prepared for the elements.
On race day there was a 30% chance it was already raining. I read this article when I saw the forecast which helped me feel prepared (and also gave me a good laugh).

(13) Have a cheerleader and be a cheerleader. It made a big difference to have support at the finish line and I'm looking forward to returning the favor soon.

(13.1) And lastly, in the worlds of Christopher Robin, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem”

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