Last year, I set out a goal that I was going to run in a half-marathon. The only problem was, I had never run more than 3 miles before. And, after breaking two bones in my back when I was younger, I didn’t think it was possible. But, I set this goal and I was determined to achieve it. The words “half-marathon” are intimidating to most who haven’t run long distances before. But, don’t worry! I was in the same position and it is a scary idea to imagine running 13.1 miles.
But, in 5 short months, I went from running 3 miles at the most, to finishing a half-marathon in decent time.
So, here are a few tips for those who may not be “runners” but want to complete a half-marathon.
First: Find a training program that works for you. Pinterest, and many running or fitness websites have training programs from beginners to experienced half-marathon runners. Find the one that best suits your needs and get your training started. Typically, half-marathon trainings can be anywhere between 4-6 months depending on how experienced you are with running and training.
Second: Take your time with your training. Do not dive straight in and try to push yourself from the beginning. Stick to your training program you choose. Days and weeks your mileage may increase by a little bit, and this is truly the best way to train. You get accustomed to running a certain distance each week, and then the next you push yourself slightly more, and from there you eventually reach the end of your training program, and a great distance covered.
Third: Depending on what half marathon you sign up for, your training may vary. I ran in the REVEL Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, which is all downhill. So, my training required running downhill. This is essential to train on the type of course you will be running in because it will get you in the best shape to run, and you will be accustomed to the type of course. It will make your half marathon experience much more enjoyable.
Fourth: Recovery after runs is essential. If you are a rookie runner like I was, during training my body was not used to these long distances, so stretching and recovering after my runs each day was so important. It allowed my legs and the rest of my body to relax, and not tighten up for my run the next day. Since the training is so demanding, you need your legs to be ready to go every day when you go running.
Fifth: Do not give up! I think this is the most important tip because half of the battle with preparing to run is mental, and the other half is physical. There were plenty of times when I wanted to stop and give up, but once you push past your mental weakness, you realize you CAN do this, and accomplish what you set out to do.
Here is a link to all the half marathons this year throughout Utah, so you can get signed up, and get training! http://www.halfmarathons.net/race-calendar-utah/