How to Train for a Half Marathon!
Training for a half marathon was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done! I went from considering myself NOT a runner in the least to slowly building up my tolerance and running a full half! And now I have done three!
As Spring slowly but surely approaches I am starting to think about training again and wanted to share with you some of my tips and also programs I use!
- Get your mind right! So much of training for a half or full is mental. If you tell yourself you can't do it..the likelihood is that you won't be able to. Training can get boring or hard at times but making sure you are committed to the process and believe in yourself will make it so much better!
- Find one that sounds fun! Whether its in your hometown or a beautiful destination far away pick one you are excited to train for and focus on that. I loved exploring Dallas on our half marathons and look forward to doing the same with Austin!
- Find a buddy! I have trained with and without people and for me it was so much easier to do it with my sister than alone! You get to talk and the time goes by so much faster! It also helps that you have the accountability to do the run even if the weather sucks or your tired. I loved how close we got and how we got to experience the process together. Doing it by myself was a lot harder because honestly I just got bored and lonely haha. For some I know running is therapeutic and they like to be alone with their thoughts but it isn't so much like that for me....especially as you start getting into 9 or 10 mile runs. So if you can do it with a friend, I strongly recommend that!
- Make sure you do strength training on your off days! Running burns lots of calories but it also burns away muscle. To keep muscle on your body and to help make running easier make sure you are lifting weights between your run days. I didn't do this my first run and did for my second two and I felt like it helped!
- Find a good program! The two I have used are Nike Training and Hal Higdon. Both give you simple schedules to follow but I liked that Nike had an app so I felt like I was checking it off and logging in. You can start as a beginner, moderate or advanced so it fits every style of runner. The most important thing is that you can run 3 miles or so comfortably. On our first race, we couldn't do that so we actually trained for a 5k before our half marathon training started so it would be an easier transition!
- Find a good playlist or podcast! This is a game changer! Again I am not someone who likes to run to silence so this was a huge part of my training process! If you want to know some of my favorite podcasts check out this blog post! Spotify has a good Cardio playlist as well as a Tempo Running playlist that are always easy and motivating!
- Pay attention to your body! Training for a half or full can be rough if you are starting out. Your body might ache, you might be insatiable, and have to go potty unexpectedly on long runs. You learn all of this as you train. I had to switch tennis shoes (I love Asics) because my feet were killing me. I don't eat before any of my runs because it messes with my stomach. I don't eat anything on long runs because of that either. But I know people that have to eat before any run. So just try different things and see how your body feels!
- Get the right training gear! Make sure you have amazing and supportive shoes for starters. From there everything else is optional! I always had a handheld water bottle that strapped in, belt for my phone and breathable running clothes.
- Fuel properly! This is hard because you are always so hungrryyyy haha. But this is not an excuse to eat everything in site. You want to eat lots of healthy protein, fats and carbs so that your body refuels and heals properly. This will keep your energy up and allow you to get better results if part of your reasoning is for fat loss.
- Have fun with it! Running an distance is awesome and training for something like a half or full is a huge deal! Be proud of yourself and even treat yourself to a little something when you finish! Some days you will have good running days and others you won't. Just be kind to yourself and remember that sometimes it's just about the journey and finishing, not being the best. If you want to improve do another, but if this is your first, just have fun with it!!
Here are a few products I used when training for my half marathons!