Half Marathon Training Tips!

 

Rock and Roll Half
I’m on the far right… this is before we started! I was so exhausted I didn’t get a picture after we finished!

 

I have been meaning to write this post for a little while now, but for some reason I feel like I have less time now that the kiddos are back in school! How is that possible?! With one in half day preschool, another in full day kindergarten and a baby still at home I feel we spend a ton of time in the car running from one thing to the next. Our life is in a constant state of chaos, which I’m assuming is pretty standard for moms of multiple littles. Ahh and we are just getting started with after school activities and sports, I cannot imagine how much time we will spend in the car over the next ten years?! Guess I will need to come up with lots of car friendly recipes!!

OOk on to the real point of this post! A few weeks ago I ran my 4th Half Marathon, high five for me! Now, I never really considered myself a runner. I was a competitive swimmer for what seems like forever.  Starting as a young child and continuing through college.  And for most swimmers running can be considered a cruel form of torture.  It wasn’t until I finished my swimming career that I really had the opportunity to run for fun.  Actually, I don’t know if I really started running for pure enjoyment. I think it was more of a way to fill the competitive void that was missing when I stopped swimming. And it grew into something that I truly love to do and that is both a physical and mental outlet for me.

I am the type of person that enjoys running without music! Shocking I know but I enjoy the quite and the time alone with my thoughts. I also enjoy the commitment and dedication that training for a race entails.  Over the past 7 years or so I have run a handful of races.  Sticking with a running routine is always easier for me when I have a goal that I’m working towards.  I try to sign up for races as often as I can fit it into to our hectic schedule!  As moms it is hard to find the time to do things for ourselves, but if something is important enough you will find the time to do it!  My heath and fitness have become a top priority for me, I think ever more so not that I am a mother. I cannot be the best mom that I can be if I am not fit, healthy  and able to keep up with these three monsters.

Finding a solid training plan and giving yourself enough time to train is essential.  And I’m not going to lie I did not do either one of these things this time! I decided a little late to sign up for the race.  Only giving myself a little less than 8 weeks to train. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if I had been running consistently, but with a new baby and two other kiddos my running was few and far between. My second downfall this time was I didn’t follow a solid plan, well I guess I didn’t really follow a plan at all! Big mistake! Running by feel was not the best choice and looking back I wish I had a little more structure. Mainly because I tried to run too much too soon and think I may have burned myself out a little.

The only way for me to get in my runs was to get up in the wee hours of the morning and run before my hubby had to leave for work.  Now this was nice because I got my runs done and over with early and I could  partake in some quite time, which let’s be freaking honest I do not get the rest of the day! I was able to train about 4-5 times a week and got up to running 13 miles for my longest run. The last three weeks or so of training got a little hairy because school started and my presence at home in the morning was essential.  So my runs got cut short at times and were a little more rushed than I would have liked.  Come race day the weather was super humid  which did not help me at all! I was able to finish in 2 hours and 3 minutes. Far from my fastest but with all things considered I am just happy to have finished and ran the whole thing!

I felt pretty awful physically at the end of this race, the humidity really got to me! I remember telling my husband I will never do another one shortly after I finished! But here I am a few weeks out and I am already planning my next race. It’s an amazing feeling to have your family cheering you on as you cross the finish line!  And I think it’s great for children to see their parents work hard and accomplish something! My oldest daughter is already telling me she can’t wait to run a race with me, so awesome!

Alamo 13.1
After Half Number 2… 6 months post baby 2!
  1. Pick a race! Pick a race far enough out that gives you enough time to adequately train! There are so many fun ones out there so do a little research! It also helps to sign up with a friend. Even if you aren’t able to train together you still have someone there for support. I ran this race with a friend and the daily texts about how our training was going was a huge motivator!
  2. Decide on a training plan. Depending on your race length, the amount of time you have to train and the time until your race there are endless options out there! A simple google search will yield thousands of result! For me a 16 week training plan running 4-5 days of week has made me feel the most prepared!
  3. Stick with a schedule! Plan out the days you are going to run and make an “appointment” for your run each day! Thinking of it that way helps me to stick with my schedule. Finding the time isn’t always easy, and I have to get up at the crack of dawn most of the time to get my runs in but it is important to me to keep my commitment to myself.
  4. Stay hydrated and eat enough to fuel yourself! Follow your body cues and eat when you are hungry. Training for a race is a whole lot of cardio, more than you may be use to! So you will be burning lots of calories! Be sure to fill up on healthy proteins, carbs and fats… real for real food and not processed junk! And keep refilling your water bottles… all day long!
  5. Have fun! Don’t get all caught up in the stress of training! Take it one day at a time and do your best to enjoy each run! You will not feel your best everyday, if fact some days will be really awful and you will not feel like running at all. Some days you will hate running, but believe me you will always feel better after your run is done for the day!

 

Illuminations Half Marathon
Half Number 3, pushing these crazies the whole time!

 

Ok there are just a few of my tips for training for you best race! Maybe next time I will follow my own advice! Hopefully this helps you all who are looking to train for your first race. Isn’t there some saying about how the first step is always the hardest? If you have been contemplating of running a race, weather it be a 1 mile, 5 k or a full marathon the first step is to sign up! Then take it day by day and run by run from there! Good luck fellow runners!!

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