Running has always been my first love since a young age but I only recently ran my first half marathon and I would suggest everyone to do it at least once. Half marathons are slightly shorter and thus easier to prepare but it’s no walk in the park either.
In case you are still not sure here are some reason I why I loved my first half marathon and so will you.
It’s tough yet manageable
Yes I agree half marathons don’t yet have the appeal or hype of a marathon but like I mentioned above these tend to be shorter and thus are manageable. You won’t be spending 8-10 months simply training.
While a half marathon does require its share of blood and sweat it won’t consume your life. Training 2-3 hours in a day should be good enough even for newbies.
It prepared me for a full marathon
Not running a full marathon yet is probably the best decision you could make since it’s not only time consuming but requires tons of effort on your part and putting too much effort too soon can leave you injury prone and exhausted.
Continuous training for half marathon will ultimately prepare you for the big race since it makes the transition from 13 to 20 miles easier. Increase both speed and distance as your muscle strength and lung capacity increase.
Faster recovery and less injury chances
A runner’s worst nightmare is an injury and most injuries happen not on race day but during the course of training amongst which over-training remains the biggest factor but since you won’t be logging the same amount of miles chances of a long term injury reduces significantly.
Also recovery is an important aspect for every runner and recovery is going to be much faster from a 13 mile race than a 26 mile marathon.
I had plenty of race options
Believe it or not in the last 5-6 years the number of half marathons taking place has increased significantly and is soon going to be one of the most popular race forms amongst runners. In the US you can find one on pretty much every weekend. So stop looking for silly excuses and sign up for one today itself.
It’s a party
Well if you love to party then this is exactly the race you want to be in. What most of you may not know is that at the end of each half marathon is a party waiting. These post-race parties with the high beat music are best way to recover.
Some of these races also offer free post-race wine tasting, now doesn’t that sound ideal? I am sure that’s motivating enough to get off the couch and get training.
Love running in marathons? Well then I have some great news for you. Spring is the season of runners and I am sure there are both experienced and newbie runners gearing up and trust me it’s going to get serious this year too.
Marathons whether half or full are tough and the most important aspect remains timing. Apart from that training right is also important and to help you get it all right I am going to tell you exactly what you should be avoiding.
Leaving out race day diet
On the race day you need to get everything right including your nutrition and while you can practice timing, speed etc. a mistake we often make is not practicing nutrition which later creates issues such as cramps, unwanted bathroom breaks etc.
You need to practice it for weeks. Keep trying new stuff to find out what works best. Each flavor, drink, food, etc. will react differently with the body under different weather conditions and thus experimentation during training is a must.
Not pacing correctly
Your entire marathon depends on one thing and that’s pacing yourself right but often runners simply suck at it. Being too quick too early or being slow out of the blocks can both hamper your overall body strength and speed.
Continuous practice is the only solution. You can also use running apps and trackers for more accurate info.
Maintaining the same diet
Your regular diet simply won’t cut it anymore. You’re a runner now and during a marathon you’re likely to be running longer which means your body will take longer to recover. Recovery mainly depends on rest and diet and thus constant monitoring of your intake and calories burnt are important.
Avoid junk food and increase your intake of healthy calories. Provide the body with proper fueling to cope with the runs and recover faster.
Setting wrong goals
This is a mistake I find almost amongst all newbies. Your goals are the basis for your preparation and thus it’s important they remain realistic. It cannot be based on a fixed time or number. Such goals are a recipe for failure as it often leads to injuries.
You timing goals should be based on your physical and mental fitness levels. Apart from that you’ll need good tools such a tracker or a pedometer.
Giving up too soon
You’re not going to have one bad day of training. There are going to be plenty but the important part is to not panic and walk away just yet. Avoid over thinking as it can often lead to over training.
Keep in mind that even pros have bad days. All you need to do is examine the cause and fix it. Each bad training session is a lesson you need to learn from. Fuel well, sleep enough and if needed don’t mind taking it easy.