Hello divas! I hope that your week has gotten off to a great start. Mine has been busy but not too bad. Today I am going to talk about one of my loves in life – running. Or more specifically my love for half marathons. Running has helped me so much in my life to both get into shape and have better physical health as well as help with my emotional and mental health as well. If you read the blog, you also know that I love half marathons and they are my favorite distance and that it can be something just about everyone can do (see why you should run a half). But once you have decided to run one, it can be difficult to figure out where to start to get you to the finish line. So here are 5 tips to successfully run your first half marathon.
Get a good pair of running shoes – You will need a good pair of shoes made just for running. This will cost you a bit of money but it will be worth it. You will want to go to a store where you can be fitted for these shoes. When I first decided this was what I wanted to do, I think I spent an hour in my local running store trying on shoes. The salesperson will also be able to tell you if there is anything in your stride that you need to be aware of. For instance, I have mild overpronation so I need to wear compression sleeves to limit shin splints, have occasional plantar faciatis issues so I have to stretch and roll my foot after every run and I have to buy stability shoes to help limit the overpronation.
Start Slow – You should never just jump into a half marathon. It requires weeks of training to prepare your body for the 13.1 miles. If you have never run a day in your life, start with training for a 5K or 10K and work your way up. This will limit the stress on your body and injuries.
Find a training plan – There are literally thousands of training plans out there. You will want to find one that works for you. I used Jeff Galloway’s plan for my first half. I loved that Jeff follows the run/walk method. I have been known to have shin splints and achilles issues from time to time in my life so the run/walk method allows me to run longer distances while limiting injuries. Hal Higdon is also a very popular training plan. There are also many apps out there that will lead you through a training plan.
Train for Distance – Do not train for a time finish the first time out, especially if you are a relative beginner runner. You will want to make sure you get your long, easy runs in as it trains your body for the distances involved in these races. You will, however, want to make sure that you are training to finish under the race time limit (usually between 3.5 and 4 hours). A good training plan will help with this.
Fuel for your run and Recover Well- You will need to stay hydrated and keep your energy up while you are running your long runs. The race will have water stops but I usually run with some water or my Beachbody Performance Hydrate with me as well. I also bring some mid-race fuel with me. There are so many options out there that you will want to try out different options before the race to see how your body reacts with the fuel. I use Huma Chia Gels while out on a run. Huma uses all natural ingredients and are caffeine free so that they seem to sit in the stomach really well. Once the run is over, I drink a sports drink as soon as possible and put some food back in my stomach. Post run food could include a banana, a protein bar, or some peanut butter crackers. The important thing is to replace your electrolytes and have some carbs and protein.
The most important piece of advice is to HAVE FUN. You will feel an amazing amount of accomplishment once you have reached your goal of completing the race and you will meet so many fun and interesting people along the way. It truly is a life-changing experience.
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