It’s hard to believe it’s been over 5 years since I ran my first half marathon. I still vividly remember making the decision to sign up. The longest race I had done at that point of my life was a leisurely 5k run so the jump from 3.1 miles to 13.1 miles seemed awfully daunting. But I was ready for a new goal and a new challenge, so I forged ahead (and talked a co-worker into doing it with me).
I’ve learned a lot in the last five years and am a much smarter runner than I was back in 2006. That said, I miss the wonder and amazement I felt after completing that first half marathon. I miss the excitement I felt at the starting line of my first half, back in June of 2006. So in addition to the list of advice that will follow, my biggest tip is to enjoy the experience and to appreciate what your body is able to do on race day. Instead of focusing on your time, focus on how far you have come since the first day you started your half marathon training program! And enjoy the race and finish with a big smile on your face!
Here some other tips…
1. Resist the urge to start too fast. There is a lot of nervous energy at the beginning of a race and it is easy to get caught up in what others are doing. You know your body and what it is capable – force yourself to maintain a pace that is sustainable for the whole race. It’s better to have excess energy at the end so you can pick up the pace in those final miles!
2. Hydrate! In the days leading up to the race, drink lots and lots of water. Avoid carbonated beverages. Don’t consume alcohol. Avoid anything that could cause you to feel dehydrated on race day!
3. Find your inspiration. Put together a fun playlist for your iPod or think of a mantra to repeat when you are feeling the pain of those miles. When I ran my marathons, I wrote down a family member or friend’s name next to each mile on the pace bracelet – and I then dedicated each mile to that person.
4. Your goal is to finish. When you are racing at a new distance, your goal should be to finish. As tempting as it is, do no compare yourself to others! This is not easy to do. Regardless of what the clock says when you finish - be proud of the fact that you finished!
I wish you the best of luck, my friend! I will be cheering for you from afar!
Thank you so much Lisa for sharing these tips!
If any one else has a running tip or a good song they enjoy running to please let me know!