What I’ve learned while training for my first half marathon

What I’ve learned while training for my first half marathon
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Every year for my birthday, I like to end one year and welcome the next with either a trip or some sort of challenge to celebrate. This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself and I plan to run my first half marathon.


I’ve run 5ks here and there, but a half marathon has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Wanting to stay close to home and somewhat near my birthday, I decided to sign up for the Thunder Road half marathon.

The Thunder Road race offers participants options to run either the 5k, half marathon, or marathon races. I’ve done the 5k race previously and thought it would be the perfect race for my birthday challenge.

A self-proclaimed novice runner, I’ve started a training plan in the hopes of training smart for the race. As I’ve been in training for almost two months now, I’ve learned a few things along the way.

(1) Proper gear is important.

Be kind to yourself and get fitted for proper shoes. I went to Run for Your Life to be fitted for running shoes. After being fitted, I realized I had been wearing running shoes a half size too small.


(2) Get out of your head.

When I have too much on my mind I am easily distracted and that usually translates into a horrible run. When I focus on my breathing, my music, or my surroundings I tend to have a better run.


(3) Run. Rest. Repeat.

Don’t over do it, but don’t sell yourself short either. Also, buy a foam roller.

(4) Mix up your routine.

I’ve found that I’m a better runner when I cross-train and don’t focus solely on running. Yoga and strength training seem to work well for me.

(5) Watch your step.

Basically keep your eyes open for obstacles in your way such as uneven pavement or dog poop. I’m amazed at how many people don’t clean up after their dog, or maybe there is one dog that has a digestive problem running amok in Charlotte. I’m more inclined to think it’s the former.

(6) Get out of the way for strollers.

I’ve learned that strollers have the right a way (whether they actually do or not) and runners need to get out of the way or potentially be run down. It’s like playing chicken and knowing that you’re going to lose. Just move to the side.

(7) Music or podcasts are essential.

I have a few friends that can run without music, but I’m not one of those people. I have to have music so I zone out during my run. My playlist runs the gamut between rap and rock, to country and show tunes.


(8) Nutrition is important.

You need the proper fuel to train and that means getting the right foods and staying hydrated.

(9) Ask for help/ask questions.

I’ve reached out to more experienced friends for suggestions on everything from frequency of running, breathing, shoes, etc. Accepting help and advice is tough for me as I try to do everything myself (I’m stubborn). Sometimes it is better to be the student.

(10) You are capable of so much more than you think.

Running is both mental and physical. Every time you lace up your shoes, you go out with the goal to do better than you did on your the previous run.

I’ll be the first to admit I have a love-hate relationship with running. With that being said, I’m excited about challenging myself. My goal, for now, is just to finish the race. I’m excited to see what the outcome of my training will be in November.

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