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.
In addition to these tips of dos and don’ts for running your first half marathon, I have my top three tips for running a half marathon without stopping to walk at the end of this post!
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.
- 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. This ties in with point number one where you can just go out and start running. You have to have a plan in place and know where you’re headed. I’m a certified running coach and I have instantly downloadable half marathon training plans available here.
- 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. 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 buy new shoes right before the race. This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people I’ve come across that will buy new shoes right before a race. Yikes! If you think that your shoes will be too worn out before race day, go ahead and grab some new shoes at least a month to six weeks before the race to give you a chance to break them in. Not sure what shoes to get? I’ve been running for years and been through the different brands and styles and Reebok Harmony Road is hands down my all-time favorite. You can grab a pair here! I have these exact shoes right now and I love love love them. You can see below my feet wearing the Harmony Road’s. So comfortable and so light, they’re just perfect for running.
Now for the DO’S!
- 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 remember 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.
- DO increase your caloric intake. Now, I’m not a nutritionist or anything like that but I do know from personal experience and being a coach that I have to have more high quality calories when my miles increase. You have to make the decision on how many based on your personal needs and current diet regime or get in contact with a nutritionist who can help you meal plan should you need very specific diet needs. If you sort of know what you’re doing but still 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.
- 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!
Time to Run!
I know that was a lot of information but don’t stress! I’ll break it down for you really quickly.
Remember, there’s more to this than finding a random training plan online. Make sure you can trust the source and someone with a running coach certification is definitely a trustworthy source!
Running a half marathon is a huge deal and takes a lot of work! Keep a good attitude and don’t compare yourself to veteran marathoners who run many half marathons a year. Focus on you and your training and you will be just fine.
I want to reiterate one more time the importance of good clothing and good shoes for a half marathon. The last thing you want is to have raw places rubbed on your skin because your clothes were not of high quality and softness. I’ve been there and done that, and it is not a good time nursing those raw places that are in the most inconvenient of places. You will love Just Strong Clothing with your discount (AGEORGE10) and the Reebok Harmony Road!
Here’s the bottom line, sister. You can do this, but it will take hard work and dedication; once you’ve made your decision to do it, go for it. Don’t look back and question your decision, run free and cross that finish line with confidence. Whether it’s a sub two hour half or a 4+ hour half, you’ve accomplished a goal.
And that, sister, is a win!
*Don’t forget to pin this to your running board for easy access later!