I’ve been thinking about this all week. I am currently training for one, and I have to say it’s been a bit of a struggle. This will only be my second one and my first was right in the middle of my marathon training schedule. It couldn’t have been easier. I had already run farther than 13.1 miles, so I knew I could do it. It was summer time, so while the temperatures were hot, early morning runs were easy. Now, even midday, the ice and snow keep me in doors most of the time, and training in the treadmill is not the same. As I am sitting here typing this, with my race a month from tomorrow, I must admit I’m freaking out!
So, rather than focus on my neuroses (I have many), I am going to talk about why I love the half marathon distance and why I think anyone can run (or walk) one.
First, I’m going to refer to Amy’s post about the distance. To quote her: “It’s the perfect distance for most runners and especially us slower runners. It’s not too long that we need to plan for the entire day away and its not so short that it is obvious how slow we are running.” I am a slow runner. I do alright in the 5k, because that distance is short enough that many walkers also participate, but when it comes to running a 10k vs. a half marathon, I would choose a half any day of the week.
Second, with it being the perfect distance, it requires a lot less time to train for a half marathon, as compared with a marathon. And, once you start training for the half, you might just realize that the full is not so far out of reach. But if you decide not to do that, a half marathon is still a huge accomplishment (and enough to impress any non-runner).
And finally, if you are training for a marathon, it is something you are going to do anyway, so you might as well do it with other people, get a cool t-shirt and add one more race to your belt (or bulletin board in my case…I have every bib from every race I’ve ever run).
And now for my list of dos and don’ts:
- It’s really easy to get a little lazy in training (especially if you’ve run one before and know how forgiving it can be). Don’t do it.
- As with any race, most of us will run a bit faster (race pace). If all you’ve ever done are the shorter distances, you may not realize how damaging starting to fast can be. Know yourself and your limits. I have finally learned that I have to start at a pretty slow pace for the first two miles, let the crowd run ahead, and then I can hit my groove. This makes for a much better run.
- Train the way you are going to run. Look at the course and what time of day you’ll be running. Try to match this as closely as possible. My first experience was so nice because I had trained on terrain very similar to the race terrain and my training runs started at about 6 am on Saturdays. This meant, mentally, I was confident.
- Enjoy it!!! That’s my favorite part about the half marathon distance. You can enjoy it (at least when you are well trained…talk to me in a month and I may be singing a different tune)
And here are some of my favorite posts from my favorite runners about their half marathon experiences (the first three are all running the Canyonlands Half Marathon with me and I’m so excited!).
- Anne’s first half and one of her favorite items.
- Jen’s post with musings about past and future runs.
- Cropstar’s post about some of the joys of running.
- Beth had this to say about her first half:
First, and at this point in my life, MOST IMPORTANTLY I ran a half marathon yesterday. I know many of you are runners, but I AM NOT and have never wanted to be. However, I have four children, which means I have been prego for 3 years of my life. I love being pregnant (up until 8 mo.) but it is HARD on your body to stretch to abnormal sizes and then go back and pretend it never happened. SO. . . . . I started running. I just gave a lot of background info that was not needed! Anyway, I did it with my good friend, Tia, and her sister-in-law, Mindee. All I have to say is, we pretty much just ROCKED!!! It was SOOO much easier than I thought, and gets me excited for more in the future. (I didn’t have my camera, so once I get a picture I will post our victory shot.)