In just 10 short weeks, my friends and I will be taking on the Airbnb NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon. Now every race is special to me in its own unique way but this one is alittle extra special.. It is the first time most of them will be completing a half marathon and I could not be more excited for them!!! These girls have inspired me to sit back and remember what it is really all about.. Here's a look at some training tips I have put together for anyone thinking of running their first 13.1:
1. Step one always is just Sign Up
Its as easy as that.. the first thing I always tell newer runners who are on the fence about running their first race is just sign up, swipe that card then you have to commit
2. Gear Up: Alittle retail therapy can help any scaries..
You want to act the part, you gotta look the part..
But be aware: purchasing new stuff is always fun, but that’s if you don’t get sticker shocked.. Running can be expensive so don’t go crazy however, there are a few quality items you should invest in:
Shoes: make sure they are the right fit for you. Go to any specialty-running store and ask for a gait assessment to best support your stride. When it comes to racing, you do not want to buy for looks.
Clothes: avoid cotton clothing, purchase dry fit or synthetic fabrics to absorb moisture away from your skin and avoid chafing (ouch!)
Garmin: Garmin is not totally mandated but helps track your miles and pace easier then holding your phone. Garmin’s can be expensive so if you are not sure if you will make a habit out of this, Nike training or map my run apps on your phone work just fine.
Headphones: a must! Headphones will help to turn off your mind saying you can’t and turn on the beat that will move you through your pace.
3. Find a plan that works for you
And get ready to work work work work work
Especially to your long runs. Chances are your main goal is to simply just finish so endurance work is more vital then speed work. So don’t forget to get those weekly long runs in!
5. Get Support
There is also nothing more supportive then seeing your loved ones in the crowd that day.. especially if theyre holding up funny signs:
Explain to your family, friends, and/or significant other how important this is to you and get used to the excuse “I can’t I have to run..” Your loved ones are your biggest fans, they will understand and celebrate all the hard work you put in.
6. Embrace Your Pace
Don’t expect to break any records right off the bat, pacing yourself through training is key. Start out slow, only pushing yourself when your body feels it’s time.
7. Think: Quality over Quantity
Running lots of miles each week is one way to prepare for a half marathon, but lots of miles can increase our chance of injury. Stick to 4 runs per week, a quality mid-week tempo run and a weekend long run. Give your body a chance to respond to the shock it is going through.
8. Cross Train
Don’t worry you don’t have to give up your weekly cardio party at soulcycle.. Any kind of non-running, aerobic based cross-training in combination with light resistance training on your off days are proven strengthen your runs and optimize your performance. Try cycling, swimming, elliptical, row machine or even power walking on your off days. Light resistance training, primarily targeting core, upper body, and lower body, will help to strengthen your body to resist fatigue.
You will need to drink more water then ever before. Keep a bottle or glass of water in sight at all times and learn how to drink on the run.. that’s right learn how to sip and stride because drinking from a cup while running is waaay harder then it looks.
Before your long runs, you should carb load a day or two in advance. Eat easily digesting carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, quinoa or sweet potatoes. These foods can help your body store extra glycogen which you can draw on for quick fuel during the run.
When it comes to sports gels and gummies.. you may or may not need them to sustain your energy throughout the whole 13.1. Make sure you test out what you will eat and any supplements you may use on race day. It is important to know that what you eat will not disturb your stomach and will fuel you well through the race.
10. Rest + Recover
Rest is just as important as a run workout. Your body needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days will tax your body's ability to recover and make you more prone to injury. Be sure to listen to your body and enjoy your scheduled rest days.
11. Research the Course
Ease your mind a bit by looking at the course map to see where all the water stations will be and the elevation map so you know what you're getting yourself into.
12. Mind over Matter
The body achieves what the mind believes. Running is all a mental game, don’t let your mind play tricks on you.. if you believe it, you can achieve it!
13. Impress Yourself
The runner's high is real..
It is amazing what your body is doing.. be sure to honor and celebrate your success!
.1 HAVE FUN!!!
Below is the program I used for my first half marathon: