Running is a huge passion of mine. Specifically running races! I have found a love for hitting the pavement and doing road races in many different cities. There’s no greater feeling than finishing a road race and crossing the finishing line.
I ran my first half marathon when I was in my first year at college. Me and a friend ran it together and it was a blast! I remember my family came in town for it and everything—they’ve always loved being able to watch these races. Ever since then, I kept participating in road races. Running has always been a huge release for me mentally, so I continued to do this as a way to train my mind and body. There’s something super special about dedicating the time to follow a training plan and see it all come together. More than likely you’ll experience a lot of things during the training that will make you question why you signed up in the first place: you’ll travel and have training runs to fit in, potentially get sick throughout training, achy muscles and soreness, not want to get up and hit the pavement a morning or two and so on. But all of these things are what makes this experience and tests you throughout it all.
I know signing up for your first half marathon can seem daunting at first! Maybe the thought of 13.1 miles feels like forever or committing to a training plan seems like a big thing to take on with everything else you have going on. I know all these feelings! Signing up for your first race is HUGE though and you should be so proud of yourself for taking that step in deciding you’d like to accomplish one. I thought I’d share a few tips that will make you make you excited to make that next step in running your first half marathon!
1) Find a new city to go to! Traveling for races is so fun. Not only does it get you to a new city to explore, but it’s fun to make a trip out of the whole experience. There are some really great races that are put on and make the run itself seem like a breeze! While every city has its own races it puts on (just Google half marathons in your town), if you have the opportunity to travel for it then I would definitely recommend! A few that I’ve heard are great ones are New York City half marathon, Seawheeze Half & Walt Disney World half (or full! ;))
2) Rally a friend to do it with you. This has been one of my favorite things about doing these races. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, parent or boyfriend, girlfriend—having someone alongside the training with you not only is great for accountability but makes the whole experience that much better. You know how when you have a commitment with a friend you’re less likely to cancel the plan!? It’s the same for your runs or really any workout! I’ve done many races where I’ve signed up with friends and we travel together to the event. It’s so fun! My brother and I trained for the New York City marathon together and having him along for training really helped me push through the hard times.
3) Get a training plan. I’m sure there are more official training plans, but for the first half marathon and full marathon, I literally just Googled ‘half marathon training plans.’ I found a plan to worked for me and my schedule. There are so many different things out there that say how many days you should be running, what you should do for cross training and how many miles your training plan should get to in order to run a good race. I know Nuun Hydration did a training plan, but I would also recommend looking on websites like Runners World, Women’s Health, etc. Once I found a plan, I wrote it all in my planner! This not only helps me stay accountable to the training but gives me a good idea of what each week will look like so I can plan around!
4) Gather all the right essentials to get you started. We all love getting new workout clothes right!? The same goes for new running shoes and everything you need to get prepared for the start of your training. Whenever I sign up for a race, I get excited to get a new running shoe or running tank! I would recommend getting fitted for your first running shoe. It has been a game changer for me when training and the best thing to do before you embark on the training plan itself. There are many running stores that do this and one of my favorites in Austin is Fleet Feet. They’ll find the right shoe for every aspect of your foot which will come in handy when you start to hit the pavement. A few of my other favorite running gear are Lululemon Fast and Free Tight, Racerback tank top, Shorts. I love having my watch to track my runs and use this one! I’ve ran in a few different shoes but my favorites are the Brooks Levitate and Under Armour HOVR . Other things that I like to have on hand before runs are headphones,
5) Look into running groups in your city! Running groups have been great for me throughout training for races! It’s cool to find people in your city that may be training for the same race you are too! Before finding the race you want to run, maybe look and see if a running group in your town are training together for any of them. It’s a great way to make friends too and has been great for me in moving to new cities and connecting with like minded people! Many times you can find these running groups at local running stores. This is something else that i’ll use the lovely Google to help me find too!
6) Plan to incorporate cross training & recovery: A lot of times signing up for a race can feel overwhelming because you may feel like you need to give up other workouts that you enjoy. That’s definitely not the case! I love to incorporate different group fitness classes, yoga & strength training in my training plans. Plus, I think it helps you not get burnt out from running all the time! Oh, and you may want to get a foam roller because it will become your new best friend 🙂
7) Write down your “why”. This should really be at the top of the list because I think it’s going to be what drives you throughout the training process. Maybe your “why” is to try something new, run further than you ever have before or do something you never thought you could. Whatever it is, I encourage you to write it down before you make the commitment to training. There will be many days throughout training that you’ll want to come back to this when it starts to get hard or when you start to question WHY you decided to sign up.
8) Have fun!! Don’t forget this one! Making the step to sign up for your first half marathon is huge! You should be so produce of yourself for making that commitment to yourself.
I hope you find these tips are helpful to you as you decide to sign up for your first half marathon. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out! I would love to be a part of the journey with you.
until next time...