First Half Marathon: Preparation

runnerTomorrow is the day. And I know I haven’t talked much about it here because I haven’t been talking much here (y’all remember my month long hiatus, yes?), but I’m running my first half marathon with my little sister tomorrow. She’s making me do it.

A little history: The truth is, we’ve been training for several weeks and we are ready for this. Neither of us have done it before so it’ll be fun a bonding experience. When we talked last night, we both said “one more long run and then we don’t have to do those anymore”. I think she’d agree that we’re both the type runners that occasionally go out and run for exercise. She has played ultimate Frisbee for 8-9 years and so the girl knows how to run. I’ve sprinked running in with my boot camp/Tone It Up/ Fitness Blender type workouts when I really need a good “sweat”.  I may do 3-5 miles,  maybe 2x week. I’d done a 10k (6.2 miles), and that was the extent of my distance running. But then we signed up for this and started training.

runner2Preparing for my First Half: 5 things I’ve learned through training:

1. Running is way more mental than physical. For me anyways. When I’m gearing up for any run longer than 5 miles, it takes a little mental prep. So that means, picking which day I’ll run, choosing my route, and then leaving the house. Sometimes as you’d suspect, leaving the house can be the hardest part. But for me, it’s helped to plan and to tell myself “you’re about to be running nonstop for a long time. Nothing will stop that”.

2. Anticipate Pain Annoyance: This probably differs for everyone. For me, running miles 1-5 are typical. They’re when I find my pace. I get a good stride and rhythm and when I get around 4, I’m feeling good. I’m warmed up, moving at a good pace. Miles 6-8 aren’t terrible for those same reasons. It’s around 9-13 when things begin to ache. My hips ache. Then my knees ache as a result. Then I’ve got an old foot injury (torn tendon) that will always hurt.  So just anticipating it, listening to my body, and knowing that it’ll be done soon all helps. If it’s super painful, I’ll slow down or even walk for a minute.

3. Recovery: This is hard for a Thanksgiving Day race. But yeah, it’s huge. I spend the whole day of and day(s) after a race stretching, doing yoga, foam rolling, ice-ing and elevating. Oh and hydrating.  Like I said, this’ll be hard for a holiday, but I still plan to do a ton of stretching. It it was like my last long training run (that ended up being the full distance of the race), it’s taken me about a week and a half to not feel knee and hip pain. So recovery is huge, make it a priority.

4. Hydration: Probably a no-brainer, but yeah, I drink a ton of water a day or two before. Not so much on the day of my long runs (mostly because I don’t want to have to pee), plus I typically start my runs early in the am.

5. Have a good Playlist: I can’t say enough about Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha, Beyonce and Rihanna, oh and maybe a little N’SYNC. These people are my running fuel. And each time I hear “Fighter” by Christina, not gunna lie, I pick up my pace. And it’s just fun to hear “Bye, Bye, Bye” pop up on the playlist. Oh, if that’s not your style, the Pandora station “Hip Hop BBQ” (Thanks Danielle) is pretty amazing as well. Old 90’s rap hits are great for running, and also hysterical to listen to.

Okay runners, what are your tips for today in preparation for the half and tips for tomorrow (before, during and after)? Leave tips in the comments below!

Pictures from here and here

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