Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer nor fitness expert. I highly recommend you talk to your doctor before starting a running program if you have any concerns. I am just a mom who wants to share five simple ways to complete your first half marathon.
Pick A Run - Set the date. Write it on the calendar. I chose a race in Louisiana because my nephew and cousins ran it last year and loved it. I also knew I would have family at the finish line so I chose the Zydeco Half. For me, I picked a date that gave me 3-4 months to train. If you are new to running and you're busy, it may take time to get a program/routine going.
Get Fitted For Shoes - With the race date set, go get some good shoes! I asked all the running pros, and they suggest 3 months ahead of the race, get your new kicks. I headed to Ground Up and tried on multiple pairs before I found the fit for me. I also used these shoes only for running and wore my older favorites for at-home workouts or strength training.
Start Planning - I loosely followed this Hal Higdon plan because some weekday runs did not allow for long distances. I wrote down a long run on each weekend since I had more time to run and the hubs was home. Another friend also suggested running 13 miles a week so I incorporated this idea into my planning. If I ran 6 on a Saturday, I completed the other 7 some way during the week.
Find A Running Buddy - Honestly, this is my #1 tip for running your first half. Sign up with a friend or set up long run dates. My friend Kim and I met five different weekends to run the long ones. We had the same pace, and it gave us plenty of time to catch up, motivate, and counsel each other. The brunches we did after weren't too bad either.
For race day, I had my cousin by my side. She ran with me the whole race, stopped when I did, and pushed me to finish in my goal time (which was 2:30 - I finished in 2:26!). There is NO way I could have finished this milestone without her.
CELEBRATE - Cry. High five a stranger. Raise a glass. Share your joy. You just ran 13 miles. Moms, this runner's high is no joke and add in your littles at the finish line - it's truly amazing. The run gave me hope and proved that after hardship, I can do hard things. I can survive hard things.
For more great tips for running your first half, these posts can help:
Running Tips for the Beginner - Always A New Day
My Half Marathon Experience - Seven Graces
Half Marathon Training Tips - Momma To Go
If you have questions or other tips to share, please do. My next run is scheduled for December. Any takers? :)