Making the decision to run your first 1/2 Marathon race is a big deal. Here is your ultimate beginner guide with all the do’s and don’ts to running your first 1/2 Marathon.
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So you’re half crazy and decided to run your first half marathon? Welcome to the dark side! But seriously, are you ready for this ride? It will be exhausting, possibly a bit painful, but also it will be so very rewarding.
I have heard some people say (before actually doing it) that running a half marathon is easy… If someone says that to you, one of two things is happening: 1. they are literally a lifetime runner and they have never had the same struggles that we mere mortals have OR 2. They’re lying. Period. Kay? Kay.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s move on to what’s really important. The do’s and don’ts of running your first half marathon. Which, in actuality, most of these can be applied to those of us that have run several half marathons.
Let’s start with the don’ts and get the ‘negative’ out of the way!
- DON’T think that you can run 8 miles a week and all of the sudden run 13 on race day. It will not happen unless you are Hercules or Athena the Greek Warrior goddess.
- DON’T start training without a plan and schedule in place. Check out my blog the Ultimate Guide to Running Hills where I talk about the training plan I used to run my first half marathon.
- DON’T compare yourself to other runners. This is so hard, believe me, I promise I do understand the comparison game. Just don’t do it. You don’t know their life and they don’t know yours. There are two communities in the fitness world that I have never felt more welcoming and non judgmental. That is the running community and Crossfit community. 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.
- DON’T forget your water. Yes, 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. Grab one on Amazon that strikes your attention and you’ll be all set. (keep in mind that the smaller the belt, the less it will bounce while you run so consider that when choosing! Start with the below and click around from there!) Also be sure to check out my Favorite Things page (by clicking here) to check out my three favorite pieces of running gear!
- DO choose a local race if possible for your very first half. 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!
- DO increase your caloric intake. This does not mean to eat ice cream out of the tub at night! However, with running high miles you need more dense calories which means complex carbs, good fats, and protein. Need some tips for fueling yourself for the race? Check out Runner’s World “How to Fuel for a Half Marathon”. They’re my favorite running magazine and have so many great articles.
- DO 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. In case you missed my blog with my top two secrets for taking care of your sore muscles, here is the link!
- DO find a support system. 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!
- DO have fun. Believe it or not this is not only a fun process but an extremely rewarding one. Why not have fun along the journey? You won’t get it ‘right’ the first time. Whatever that even means! You WILL surprise yourself and you will be proud of yourself.
Time to Run!
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! I personally have not done one yet but more to come on that process :).
In September I will be obtaining my RRCA Coaching Certification! What this means for you is that I will soon be able to help provide training plans and we can train for these things together!
To my e-mail list to know first when I’ve passed my certification exam so we can start training together!
Be on the lookout for races in your area! Heading into the fall season that’s when lots and lots of races happen. Click here to go to USATF to search for races in your area!
Let me hear your story! Comment or send me an e-mail!