Running Towards Your First Half Marathon: The Training How To's

Your feet slap the sidewalk and your sides ache for air. For rest. But you keep going. 

As a runner, it's hard to know when to keep going and when to quit. Some days you never stop counting your steps, and other days you feel like you can conquer the world. Learning discipline is hard (especially when Netflix is calling), but is an essential part of your growth as a human being. Most of our current discipline is geared towards school- so why not switch it up and try to be more disciplined in your exercise routine? Runners World Magazine says that training for a marathon can actually help you prepare for your future career, because "persistence and dedication don't apply only to distance running; those traits are also assets when launching a business, managing employees, or looking for a job in a sluggish economy". The idea of running a half (or full) marathon is daunting, I'll admit, but over the past few months I've been working on my own training plan to get ready for the Salt Lake City Marathon. With only a couple weeks left of training, I decided to sit down and write some of my thoughts and tips for those wanting to get into running.

1.) Realize the Challenge

Running is not an easy sport. It's high impact and works your body in ways you don't usually move. When I first started running in high school, it wasn't easy. And it still isn't. Convincing yourself to actually get up and run around the block or on the treadmill takes an incredible amount of personal perseverance. I've never been extremely fast- I'm a pretty "average" runner in terms of time, and those numerical values can seem pretty disheartening. One of the best things my cross country coach ever told me was that running was all in your head. "When I get tired and want to stop, I have to mentally cheer myself on and keep thinking positively. It actually helps you run faster." Thanks Coach Campbell. The struggle is real, but constant, positive reinforcement helps you realize just how much you can do. 

2.) Find a Good Workout Plan (Buddy Highly Suggested)

Ahh the Internet. You never fail us with endless supplies of cat videos, homework help, and contradictory fitness strategies. Finding a plan that you can actually stick to is hard, so I recommend reading lots of sources and figuring out what your end goal is. Do you want to complete a personal record or simply cross the finish line? No matter what your circumstance, there WILL be a workout guide for you. Listen to your body, and seek professional advice from athletes, trainers, or doctors if necessary. Running with friends can motivate you to actually stick to your goals, and gives you a common goal. Rest days are important too, so you can spend some quality time with your new running buddy off the track as well!

3.) Find Ways to Motivate Yourself

This is going to be hard. Exercise is never easy, and all things take time and practice. Motivation from friends, family, or other athletes is critical in order to keep going. Pushing through challenges determines what kind of person you are- and training even when you don't want to get out of bed helps you become more confident in yourself. “Runners who are consistent with good habits have the most success,” says Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist, sports nutritionist, coach, and author of The Marathon Method. Some people try and run marathons without training at all (you don't have to be an expert to know this can be a really bad idea). This method doesn't help you in the long term, as you've only exhausted your body for a short time. Short, consistent runs over a longer period of time are healthier for your body and mind. So stop reading this article and get out there!

It's scary, but running is all about facing your fears. And once you've faced them, there's nothing you can't do. 


Photo Cred: 1, 2, 3