Thinking of Perhaps Running a Half Marathon? Yes, I Can!
Not meaning to plagiarize Sammy Davis Jr. ‘s autobiography title (Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.), but if you are wondering if you have the ability to successfully finish a half marathon, don’t doubt yourself for a second.
A half marathon is 13.1 miles. It may seem like a daunting amount to run if you are currently struggling with achieving six miles on a run at the moment, but people have been achieving the impossible since time began. After all, it was only a little over 50 years ago that people thought running a four-minute mile was impossible. Think about it. You have no time limit on your half marathon! You are only really competing against yourself.
However, with all of that said, you can’t just hop out of bed the morning of the race and expect to run the half marathon without proper preparation. According to the 2016 National Runner Survey, the half marathon is the most popular race and one of the many reasons is because of the achievable distance. Still, it requires training and planning to be able to accomplish the run for most.
Train Like a Pro
Even if you are just starting to become serious about running and feel you are a novice, if you prepare like a professional, you can run a half marathon. In fact, if you prepare like a professional, it won’t be long before you tackle a full marathon. Here are the tips you should follow to make running a half marathon a reality.
Bring a Partner Along for the Adventure
People throw in the towel and cancel on themselves all the time. For instance, they skip going to the gym because they believe it only affects them. But if you have a partner waiting at the gym to train with you, you are more likely to go. Nobody feels good about disappointing a friend or loved one.
When you start to seriously train for the half marathon, choose a friend to accompany you on this adventure. It will be something the two of you share for the rest of your life. The right running buddy will hold you accountable during the process and keep you on track.
Put a Training Routine in Place
If you consider yourself a novice or intermediate runner, find a training routine that you can use in preparation for the half marathon. As an example, if you are currently only running a mile or two a couple of times a week, you need to begin ramping up the mileage.
A good idea would be to start the training routine about 15 weeks out from the race. Anything less may be pushing it. It may seem like Rocky is only working out for about five minutes in all of those montages during his films, but in real life, no snappy music and clever edits are going to get you through a half marathon if you don’t put in the time.
Work Up to It
Rather than choose a half marathon as your first official race, start small and then grow from there. A 5k is 3.1 miles and a 10k is 6.2 miles. You can work these races right into your training. As you grow as a runner, it is almost like you are a warrior and conquering your next battle. Conquer these races in order and go from there. Who knows? You may even get up into the marathon distance.
“You Can’t Out-Train a Bad Diet”
Most people use this saying in relation to wanting to lose weight. But it can also be said for training for a running race. If you are not eating the right foods, you won’t be able to run five miles effectively, let alone 13.1 miles. Have you ever tried running right after a less than healthy meal? I always say, if you can feel the food moving around in your stomach, then you probably ate something you shouldn’t have.
So what should be in your diet? You definitely need protein. Protein will help you keep the muscle mass you currently have if you are consuming enough of it. Carbs are important for energy, too. Bananas, oats, peanut butter, and yogurt would all be good choices for your diet. On the other hand, don’t touch all of the fried foods or overly processed fatty foods either. And it will be amazing to see what just drinking water will do for your body when you leave all the soda on the shelf.
Keep a Diary
Men might want to call it a journal instead of a diary, but in any case, keep records of your training. Write down your miles every day and how long it took to run them. Record the weather conditions, the clothes you are wearing, the shoes, and even what you had to eat that day leading up to the run. You might just stumble upon the perfect combination which will lead you to improving your running time.
Most runners are a superstitious lot, but that doesn’t mean certain things don’t work in your favor. As an example, I used the dirtiest and most worn down pair of running shoes for the longest time in races because I usually placed in the top ten percent when I wore them. The sole was so thin from use that I could feel virtually every pebble I stepped on. Still, I did well in them!
Don’t Carry the World on Your Shoulders
Having the goal of running a half marathon can be accomplished whether you are just beginning in the sport or just trying to extend yourself from the 10k distance. And while you should be approaching this venture seriously, don’t overdo it. If you can’t run the whole thing and have to stop and walk for a bit, that is perfectly fine. You can complete a half marathon successfully. Your first attempt might not be award-winning, but very few people are great at things the first time around. What matters is that you finish the race and hold your head high in the process.