I’m less than one week out from my half marathon! Training for 13.1 is no easy feat as it takes dedication, focus, and diligent training. Plus coordination! Planning out your runs to coordinate with an already jam packed schedule can be a challenge within itself. You also have to be much more conscious of what you’re eating to both fuel your runs and recover your muscles. Then there is foam rolling… and the list goes on.
All that to say, outdoor running will always be my favorite physical activity and it’s worth all the above and I find it all FUN!
Since this will be my fourth half marathon, I wanted to share a few tips in case you’re considering running one, but don’t know where to start. A few of you have messaged me on Instagram saying that you’ve signed up and are training, so this post may help you too!
13.1 miles can sound intimidating, but YOU CAN DO IT. You don’t need to be a super athlete. I run 9 minute miles and have a goal to get up to 8:30. I’m not a superhuman like my sweet husband who runs at 7 minute speed 😆
But guess what? I don’t compare myself to him or any other runners. Anytime I get my butt out for a run, I’m proud of myself whether I PR’d or not.
Joining the half marathon club takes you being in tune with your body, fueling it and following a training plain. Here are a few of my tips for half marathon training!
Note: I am not a doctor, so please consult yours. I am sharing my own experiences and what has worked best for me 🙂
HALF MARATHON TRAINING TIPS
Nothing makes me more determined to log my miles than being signed up for a race. Once I’m registered, I won’t miss a mile in my training plan.
Before signing up, consider the location, timing and your experience when selecting your first race.
Find a local race by googling “2019 Massachusetts half marathon” or find the dream race in another state that makes you get inspired! For the second, just know that it’ll add in the variable of travel, so plan accordingly!
As far as timing and experience, consider this when booking your half marathon. You don’t want to sign up for a race in a month if you’ve never ran double digits (yet!).
Are you an avid runner or are you working up accomplishing your first two mile run? Both are great, just know your experience and be realistic with the half marathon date.
2.PICK A TRAINING PLAN
There are so many different approaches to half marathon training out there. I have always used Hal Higdon’s training schedules and feel as if I am set up for success day-of. Here is the 12 week beginner half marathon training schedule.
This round, I used the Intermediate plan, but S and I both used the Beginner prior to this race.
Peloton just released a 26.2 training plan and I’ve been asked if I am using this since I’m training for an October Marathon and am an avid Peloton rider. I’ve honestly just had my eyes set on my half marathon so after this is completed, I’m sure I’ll add in some interactive runs from Peloton’s program, but for milage and days, I’ll be sticking to Hal Hidgon’s marathon training program.
3.FIND THE RIGHT SNEAKERS
Running is awesome for many reason, one being that the barrier to join in is low. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to start. You don’t need to travel to a fancy gym. You simply throw on shorts, grab your shoes and step out your door.
That said, if you’re signing up for a half marathon you will be pounding a lot of pavement. In order to protect your body from potential injuries now and in the future and to get the most out of the time you’re spending on training, invest in a great pair of running sneakers. The right pair is different depending on your running stance, foot and more. I live by Brooks. S lives by Saucony.
What works for one person, won’t work for another due to our unique bodies. Head to your local running store so they can help find the right pair for your body! If you can’t find one, Brooks does have a great online shoe fit quiz.
4.FIND YOUR RACE DAY OUTFIT + FOOD
Anything you are wearing or consuming day-of should be tested long before race day to ensure you don’t experience chaffing, unnecessary blisters or annoyances.
Here is a checklist of everything to test –
Clothes: Shirt, bottoms, socks, shoes, fitness watch, hair tie, headband, sunglasses, running water bottles and/or running belt
Tech: phone location, running app
Food: supplements, pre-workout and any food pre-run
Beauty: SPF, hair style
You don’t want to drink from a mid-half marathon Gatorade station if you haven’t tested your belly and bladder with it beforehand. Just like you don’t want to test out a new pair of socks that may be too thin and cause a blister at mile 4. And you don’t want to eat a bagel with cream cheese if you’ve only been running on half a banana and toast.
Just test each piece out through your training to ensure a smooth race! Focusing on gathering each sooner than later is key.
These are my all time favorite running leggings for long runs because they do not budge, have great compression and have pockets on the thigh and zipper on the back. They are TIGHT, hence the name, but that my preference so that I don’t have to pull them up at all. I actually went down one size. I’m wearing them in the first photo of this blog post.
I wear these leggings on shorter runs because they aren’t as tight, stay in place and are super buttery. They feel like second skin. I also size down in these and enjoy that they have pockets on the thigh for my phone.
5.NAIL DOWN YOUR SUPPLEMENTS
When running for a long period of time, your body will start to deplete in energy and nutrients. You need to replenish your H20, electrolytes and caffeine and/or carbs so runners use supplements in the form of gu or sport beans.
For any run longer than 1 hour, it’s suggested to take in around 100 calories/25 carbs every 45 minutes. So at one hour, I’ll take my supplement. Then again every 45 minutes. Some people need it every 30. That’s why you test this out on your long runs to see what you need and which are good for you.
I hate gu due to the texture, but I need to fuel my body so I’ve found that this natural one is the best to stomach! I love that my energy is coming from chia seeds rather than a bunch of junk. I also like these sport beans.
If your supplement has caffeine in it, it’s suggested that you rotate every other so your tummy doesn’t get irritated.
Just like you would with your running outfit, test out the supplements on your long training runs to ensure they work for you and your belly!
6. FUEL YOUR BODY
Every body is different and I suggest researching what is best for your pre run and post run fuel!
Personally, one day a week before a long run I have a ‘high carb’ day where I’ll add in some extra brown rice, whole wheat and/or sweet potatoes into my lunch and dinner. This will be my leg’s source of energy the next day! When I don’t focus on carbs the day before a long run, I notice a difference in my performance.
Then post run I refuel within 30 minutes with a 3:1 protein to carb ratio. This step replenishes and feeds your muscles and allows you to not feel sore the next day.
For protein sources, I stick to grilled free range chicken, egg whites, steamed greens [kale, spinach, broccoli], collagen peptides, vegan organic protein powder and YQ or Two Good Yogurts with hemp or chia seeds.
To do all of the above, I have had my macros calculated to understand what I need to fuel my body with protein, carbs and fats. If you want to do this as well, I suggest Madeline from Madeline Moves.
7. KNOW YOUR GOAL
My first half marathon goal was simple… DON’T WALK AND FINISH! You don’t need to add pressure with crazy goals.
With each half marathon you complete, add a new goal. For example, I have a pace goal for this race. That said, I know this course has intense sun and hills, so I won’t beat myself up if I’m running slower than I trained. When my pace goal isn’t on track due to weather or health, I always go back to the foundation – DON’T STOP RUNNING AND FINISH!
8. FIND INSPIRATION
Some days you won’t feel like running. I have them, but I don’t steer away from my training plan and still need to run. And you know what? By the time my feet hit the pavement I’m happy I’m there.
When this happens, I search for inspiration and for me it’s always reading or listening to Robin Arzon. You may know her as the VP of Fitness Programs at Peloton, but she’s also an ultra marathoner and complete bad ass who makes zero excuses for mediocracy.
My favorite Robin quote that I live by is:
“I’m not afraid of failing. I’m afraid of mediocracy” – Robin Arzon
I think this quote perfectly summarizes how my dad raised me. If you choose to commit to something, give it your 110% diligence and best efforts. If you’re not going to five it your all, don’t bother committing. No time for half assing. Between this quote, listening to her speak or reading an article interview, I’m ready to lace up!
Find your source of inspiration and save it for a day you don’t feel like hitting the pavement.
I hope this post is helpful for anyone training for their first half marathon!
Oh and below are two pictures from my first half marathon in 2013 right when I graduated college 🙂 Right after picking up my bib and then right after finishing!
Sign up for your first road race. Know that you can do it. Leave me any questions you have in the comments below! Xo Mindy