Just before the turn of the new year I decided on what was then the craziest thing I had ever decided to do. I signed up to run a half marathon. This seemed crazy because the longest distance I had previously run was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.1 miles. My confidence in my ability to accompilsh this goal was also on the low side because of my girls. They are awesome but there isn’t much time in my days not wrapped up in them in some way. When was I going to have the time to train? Eventually I crossed the finish line in my first half-marathon. I say first because I’m in the middle of training for my second half-marathon. Luckily I’ve learned a few things from training for these races.
7 Half Marathon Training Tips
1. Pick a training program and stick to it. Take a bit of time to look through books in the library or search the web, but devote some time before you start your journey to pick the right path.
2. Keep your ability, skill level and free time in mind when picking a training schedule.
3. Get fitted for a good pair of running shoes. Your feet will thank you.
4. Nail down a schedule. Work with your family’s calendar to figure out where your training sessions fit. I mapped out a schedule that included runs on the treadmill at the gym between school pick-up and dinner, early morning runs in our neighborhood, runs with the baby in the jogging stroller, and long runs on Sundays when my husband could keep the girls busy. It might take some work but find the time slots and then set your workouts in stone. It’s easier on you and your family when everyone knows what to expect and plan for. It also keeps you accountable.
5. Be flexible. I know I just preached the importance of setting a schedule and sticking to and I stand by that one hundred-percent. But sometimes kids get sick or parent-teacher conferences pop up or you suddenly have the biggest work deadline of all time. When life gets in the way think of the obsacles as things to run around not things to stop you. Change up your days for that week or heck take a day off. One day off won’t hurt you.
6. Reward yourself. Small rewards are a good way to keep yourself motivated. A small treat or trinket might make all the difference when you reach those tough weeks. For my first half I rewarded myself with a new color of Sharpie each week. A friend of mine rewarded herself with a post long-run coffee. The rules and rewards are up to you, but be sure to give yourself a little extra love. You deserve it for all the time and effort you’re putting in.
7. Don’t forget to smile. Yes, this sort of training is a lot of work but it is a lot of fun too, and a smile will make the miles feel easier.
How do you fit workouts in your busy schedule? Have you ever run a long distance race?