Running Your First Half Marathon: Training Tips and Advice
I was recently asked if I had any suggestions for a fitness enthusiast training for her first half-marathon. Here’s an outline of what made my first endurance race such an irreplaceable and glorious experience. The 13.2 mile event holds a special place in my heart. The 2004 Chicago Half Marathon was the gateway to what has since become my lifestyle as an endurance athlete.
- CONGRATULATIONS! Give yourself enough TIME. Allow a minimum of 12 weeks to adhere to a strict schedule. It isn’t really difficult; it simply requires discipline. If you don’t allow your muscles and bones ample time to adapt to endurance running, you run the risk of injury or mental demoralization.
- Have FUN & enjoy the PROCESS. I also recommend finding a local group to train with. This will prevent you from getting bored on the treadmill, and it will also make you accountable. It’s harder to skip your run when people are expecting you to show up. Reap the benefits of group energy.
- Follow a TRAINING SCHEDULE. I recommend Hal Higdon’s Training Programs (http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51131/Half-Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program). If this is your first time, use Novice I. As you improve, move onto his more advanced programs. I’ve used these simple, yet effective programs for years, and consistently placed in the top three of my age group.
- Invite your FRIENDS & FAMILY. Are you bubbling over with excitement? Good! You should be. This IS a big deal, and it’s okay for you to want everyone else to share in your joy and enthusiasm. Don’t waste another minute. Send out your save-the-date notes now, because this will be the last time the majority of your friends and family will be willing to get up at the crack of dawn to stand around and wait to see you pass by for two seconds. Thank them all profusely for coming, and ask them to take lots of pictures.
I hope this helps. Best wishes in all of your endeavors. Dream Big~Train Hard~Push Yourself~Be Inspired.