Congratulations! You’ve mustered up the courage to tackle your first half marathon! Or maybe a friend convinced you to do it while you weren’t really paying attention, “Yeah, sure, Susan. Sounds like a great idea. Uh huh.” There’s no looking back now, so let’s explore exactly what you need to know, and exactly what you need to do to run those 21.1 kilometers!
Before you pull up your running shorts and lace up your running shoes, consider that training for a half marathon takes some time. Running and fitness experts recommend starting training a few months before the big day, so if it’s tomorrow, tell Susan to eat a sock. You’re going to need to build yourself a running schedule, and there are plenty online that will help you prepare based on your fitness level and the date of the marathon.
Obviously you’ll need to be running on a frequent basis in order to be ready for your half marathon, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect other training. Cross-training is doing other exercises that will help you get fit and stay there. You can choose swimming, cycling, playing tennis or squash. Whatever sport you choose, it will benefit your entire body which will eventually help you during your marathon.
Don’t become one of those people who believe they’re entitled to eat whatever junk they want just because they work out a lot. Think of pouring Coca-Cola into your car engine. Yeah, it tastes good, but it ‘aint gonna make your car move. The same goes for your body. Fuel your body with healthy foods and make sure not to eat too much on the day of the race. There’s nothing worse than running a half marathon with a belly that feels fuller than a turkey at Thanksgiving.
Once you get into the rhythm of running every week before the actual marathon it might seem difficult to give yourself rest days. Your body actually really needs some days off to recover, and this is especially true the day before the big event. You can go for short, slow runs on your “off days”, but the day before you hit your 21.1 km half marathon should be kept for rest and hydration.
Now that you’ve truly prepped yourself for the big day, all you need is a little bit of love. Lies, you need lots of love! And just to be clear, by love we mean support. Get your friends, your family, your elderly neighbor and her cat to come cheer you on as you push your personal limits. Their cheering and support is like an extra tank of motivation, and trust me, you’re going to need it!