YOU GUYS! It happened! I ran my first half marathon! WHAT? I can hardly believe it! It was exhausting and fun and everything between! I have had so many people ask me about how I trained for it so I'm just going to do a quick recap on training and how race day went!
First of all, the first race I picked out was in January. Well, if you've looked at a calendar lately, it's April. Oops! But seriously, I kept putting it off because I would get behind in training. Finally I pulled the trigger and signed up for a race so I couldn't put it off anymore. I started training on January 22nd and in all honesty, the only thing that kept me going those first few weeks was that I had already payed for my race. Ha! Whatever works, right?
I followed the Hal Higdon training schedule. I had heard about this from many different people and decided to give it a shot! It has training plans for beginners, intermediates, and advanced runners. I (obviously) chose the beginner plan and you can find that here! All of the programs are 12 weeks!
Now I will say, if you're wanting to RUN the entire time (even though taking breaks to walk is fine!) then I would say you should be able to run 3 to 4 miles pretty easily before starting the plan. That is where you begin at week one and it helps if you're comfortable running those distances from the beginning! See my post HERE if you're new to running and need help getting started!
Now I'm not going to lie, I did NOT enjoy the first six weeks of training. Yes, that's half of the training. Not only was it cold, but I was struggling with an annoying case of plantar fasciitis which made my arches feel like they were on FIRE. I was so close to quitting, but I had the best accountability spurring me on! I would say that is the biggest piece in being able to stick to a training plan. Have a friend that is pushing you on along the way!
I took a few days off my schedule to rest my feet and then jumped back in on week seven to run seven miles and let me tell you, it felt amazing! I think that just shows you have to listen to your body sometimes and take a break. The next few weeks were really encouraging and finally got me excited for the race again! If you're feeling discouraged while training for something or don't feel like you can finish, I promise you can! Take care of your body! Take your rest days! Get yourself a friend to push you! It will all be worth it when you meet your goal!
So after all of that training, race day was finally here! And after beautiful weather all week it was 49 degrees and POURING rain. You guys, it was SO cold in the rain, but there is nothing like awful weather to make you want to finish a race even faster! It rained the first 11 out of 13.1 miles and by mile 8.5 I felt frozen solid, but I made myself keep going!
I had two goals going into the race. 1. To run the entire time without walking and 2. To run the race in under two hours. Both of those goals may be easy for those that are big runners, but those goals were a big stretch for me! I was beyond proud when I was able to accomplish both! There is no way that I could have done that if I hadn't stuck to my training plan so even when it feels annoying or you're not in the mood, just get out there and do it! You'll never regret a workout after you finish!
Here are some common questions I have been getting with straight forward answers for those wondering!
Q: What shoes do you run in?
A: I usually switch off between Asics and Brooks running shoes depending on how my feet are doing. I switched to these Asics at week 7 when my arches started acting up. They have been AMAZING and I highly recommend them. Bonus... they are pretty "normal" looking for running shoes and that's a big win in my book.
Q: Did you lose weight while training?
A: I didn't go into the training to lose weight, but hey, losing a couple pounds wouldn't have hurt! In truth, I actually GAINED a couple pounds over the 12 weeks of training. Everyone keeps telling me it's all the muscle I gained, but I'm pretty sure it's all the food I ate after long race days haha. Training made me SO hungry!
Q: What do you listen to while you run?
A: I like to listen to podcasts on "leisure" runs, but for this training it was all music all the way. It just really helped pump me up to keep going! I listened to everything from the latest pop hits on the radio, to "Eye of the Tiger", to my favorite worship songs at the moment. I loved the mix of everything on those long runs!
Q: How far did you run leading up to the race?
A: The most I ran was 10 miles leading up to the race and I ran it one week before race day. I think it was a great amount and definitely prepared me for the race!
All in all it was a great day and I am so glad I did it! However, I am so glad it's over too! Ha! I'm not sure if I'll ever do one again, so for now I'm just going to bask in this accomplishment! It's been on my bucket list for awhile and I can finally check it off! If you've been thinking about signing up for a race, do it! I'll be cheering you on!