I have been wanting to train for a half marathon for forever. I’ve started, I’ve stopped, I’ve thought about it, I stopped thinking about it. For a while, I think I only wanted to do it because it was “trendy.” Well, rule #1 you’ll probably never be able to do something if it’s for someone else but yourself.
I started training for my half about a month ago, and I will be brutally honest: it. is. freaking. rough. The humidity, the hills, the heat = triple threat against building endurance and adding mileage. Even with all of these factors trying to stop me from running, I have seen HUGE improvements since I started training a little while ago.
Here are a few tips that have helped me stick to my half-marathon training routine:
1. Weekly Preparation
Running is totally mental. I’m still trying to overcome some mental roadblocks, but every week it gets easier. I’ve found that if I plan my week ahead and consciously know how much I need to run or cross train every day then I am more mentally prepared to run X amount of miles each day of the week. Prepare your week accordingly. If I have plans after work I try and run in the mornings and vice versa. Don’t make excuses and say you can’t find the time to run. If you have an hour to spare to watch a show or scroll through Insta, you have time to fit in a run.
2. Invest in Good Running Shoes
I’ve been running 12-15 miles per week in my Nike Frees. I didn’t really think it was a problem until my feet started hurting and I started talking to some real runners. When you’re running constantly you want to make sure you have supportive shoes made for running long distances. Good shoes can help you avoid foot injuries and can make for an overall running experience. I’ve only done a few runs in my new shoes but it’s already a step in the right direction, and my feet feel so much better!
If you’re in the Raleigh area, go to Fleet Feet – they took 45 minutes with me trying to find the best running shoe that best fit me according to my walk, foot, and comfort level.
3. Find a few Running Buddies
Over the years I’ve learned that the only person you can rely on is yourself when it comes to working out or running or really anything. I’m doing this half marathon all on my own and I take pride that I’m not relying on others to get me on my feet; however, the occasional running buddy has made all the difference. A couple of times a week I run with a friend or go to a nearby running club. Because of my competitive nature, I find running with others helps me push my limits and makes it more of a social thing. It helps to have others to run with to change things up!
4. Pick a Playlist for Your First Half Marathon
I need all the best pump up jams that have fast tempos to keep me motivated, especially when running up those rolling Raleigh hills. Good fast music, for me, has made all the difference. It literally blocks out the hurt, the heavy breathing, and straining leg muscles and good music really helps me take it up a notch.
5. Drink A LOT of Water
Keeping hydrated is key for running longer distances. I wear out way faster if I don’t drink my 6 water bottles a day before an evening jog. In fact, a few weeks ago I went to a run club with some co-workers after work and ended up having to call Brady to come pick me up mid-run because I felt like I was going to pass out any minute. That day I had only drunk like one water bottle of water earlier that morning, and man did my body feel the difference. Never doing that again!
6. Choose a Destination Race
As mentioned before I’ve always wanted to do a half marathon but for me, it was hard to find the motivation to actually stick to the training and get past week 2. A huge motivator for me for running this half is because I’ve chosen a race in a place I’ve always wanted to visit – Nantucket! It’s a good enough excuse to go there and it’s definitely keeping my head in the game to keep up with training.
7. Find a Cheerleader
Brady has been one of my biggest supporters since I’ve started training. Some days when running seems too hard, Brady always finds a way to encourage me to get out the door. He’s never pushy, he just knows exactly what to say, “Cassie if you go don’t go today you’ll regret it tomorrow,” or, “I’ll even run with you tonight if you want!” (Ps Brady doesn’t believe in running, so that’s huge that he would even think of going with me!) Having a strong support system makes a big difference because on the days I don’t believe in myself, someone out there (Brady) still does.
8. Change up your Route
If you know me, I need a change in my life to keep things fresh. This totally applies to running too. Changing up my route has kept things exciting on my run and has helped my legs become stronger because different terrain = different muscles.
Have any of you run any long distance races? If so, what are your tips for me? I could use all the help I can get!!