Hey everyone! Happy 4th of July! I’m taking a short trip up to Santa Barbara with Kyle for a friend’s party and won’t be able to post for a couple of days. I’m so excited that Beth from Mangoes and Miles accepted when I asked her to write a guest post! She’s an AWESOME blogger and has such a unique and enjoyable writing style and takes amazing pictures to boot. I look forward to reading her posts immensely every day! Head on over to her blog if you don’t follow her already, I promise you’ll love her as much as I do!
Hey guys! I’m Beth from Mangoes and Miles, where I talk about food, running, my adorable puppy, and my (dreadfully boring) life in general. I’m a daily
stalker reader of Christine’s blog—I love her upbeat attitude, her California adventures, and she and Kyle are just the cutest things. (Amirite?)
So when Christine asked me to write a guest post, I was the happiest little clam. She’s been wanting to run a half marathon for a while now, but hasn’t quite mustered the courage. I’m hoping that I can nudge her a little in the right direction through this post.
In March of this year, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I’m not really sure why; I didn’t really like running prior to it (although I did it every now and then for kicks and giggles), but I wanted to give myself a performance-based workout goal to motivate me to get off my butt and do something.
I trained diligently above and beyond what my schedule called for the first seven and a half weeks of my training, and then I didn’t run at all the last two and a half weeks…and I almost didn’t even run my half. I was tired, overtrained, and burnt out.
Thankfully, I did finish, I enjoyed myself immensely (though I was cursing myself at mile 9), and it made me realize how much I truly love running. (I’m now registered for two more halves and planning on my first marathon in May next year!)
But there were a few things that I wish I knew before I started training, and I’m here today to share them with you so that you don’t end up like me.
1. Build up some kind of endurance base before you start training.
When I first started training, I had only been running about 2 miles every other week. Not exactly in the best shape. Attempting to move from that to the training weekly mileage was a strugglefest.
Most plans start with the weekly mileage in the teens, and it’s very, very hard to do that week after week (and keep building on that!) if you haven’t trained your body for it. (Yes, you may need to train your body to train.)
2. Stick to your plan.
I never thought a two mile run was a “real” run. And I wanted to push my long runs, so I would add a mile here and there on those. Those extra miles quickly added up, and ended in plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the heel) and a few hip injuries.
Once you decide on a training plan, stick to it. It’ll be really tempting to try to push your mileage one, two, three miles every run, but don’t. Adding too many miles too quickly will lead to overuse injuries, and possibly even sideline you for your race—and that would just be a bummer.
3. Get decent shoes—or even better, get fitted for shoes.
The one thing I think is an absolute necessity for any runner is a good pair of shoes. Any quality running store will analyze your gait and fit you for free. I started off running in Nike Free 3.0’s, which, while they have their uses, are not meant for long distance running.
Trust me on this one, the investment you make now will pay off later when your feet and legs are happy and well-supported.
4. Every run doesn’t have to be at breakneck speed.
Until very recently, I always had the mentality that I would need to run faster than the day before, and if I didn’t, it was a terrible run. But, just like adding miles too quickly, this can easily lead to burn out and injuries.
Your body needs rest. It can’t function at its maximum effort, day in and day out, for weeks on end without any sacrifices.
Now, almost all of my runs are at a comfortable pace, enough that I have to work to maintain it, but not to the point where I’m breathing heavily—or even audibly. Not only does my body feel much better, but I enjoy my runs a lot more, too. And then when it comes to speedwork days? I end up running much faster than I ever thought I could.
5. A little anxiety is natural.
Full confession: part of the reason I didn’t want to run my race anymore was because I didn’t know if I could finish. What if I didn’t? What would my parents, my friends, think of me?
The truth is, if you’ve put in the work, you will finish. Even if you have to walk. (I had to walk. There’s no shame in it.)
So get your butt out there, get your runs in, believe in yourself, and have the time of your life. The feeling of crossing that finish line after 13.1 hard-fought miles is so incomparable to anything I’ve ever felt before. It’s so worth every hard run, every moment of self-doubt, every early morning. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything else.