13.1

Well, I did it. All the training and hard work definitely paid off. 13.1. It was amazing, when it was over with.

On April 22, I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud, MN. I stayed in St. Cloud the night before to avoid having a drive in the morning before the race. The evening before, I indulged in some pasta from the Olive Garden. Any excuse to eat carbs is completely okay with me.

The morning of, I ate a peanut butter and jelly, English muffin, some eggs, a yogurt and banana. I also drank plenty of water and was sure to get a lot of sleep. I ended up wearing running leggings that tied on the top so they didn’t move during the run, an Under Armour tank top and a running light zip-up jacket. I had Brooks running shoes on as well. 18033301_10155627064796874_6654001974034216975_n

As a rookie marathon runner, I figured out before the start–that you want to line up at your projected finish marker, since you will be running at a similar pace as those people.

So, once I decided where I wanted to finish (I choose the 2.5 hour marker), with hopes that I could finish around that time. Once the run started, I was feeling good. There were so many people lined up along the route, with encouraging signs and were cheering as people ran by.

For the first 5 miles, I didn’t have any pain and was running at a great pace. I was using the Map My Run app on my phone, so I knew where my pace was at each mile and what my split pace was. I was keeping up with the starter marker, and I was feeling good.

At mile 6, I started getting some cramps in my stomach and my lower back started hurting. Now before the 13.1, my longest run that I trained for was 10 miles long. When you are at 6 miles, 10 doesn’t seem that far off. When you’re going all the way to 13.1, you’re not even half way there at 6.

After reaching mile 8, my stomach and back started to feel better. There were a lot of people I was keeping pace with, and we just kept going. Once you get to 10 miles, your legs just aren’t all the way “there” anymore. My legs just kept going, although my body was very exhausted.

The last few miles were exciting, but it became hard to concentrate on anything else besides “I’m almost done, it’s almost over. Just a little longer.” The last mile was by far the best. My pace had fallen a bit at mile 11, but I was still doing better than I had originally hoped.

That last mile I gave it my all. My app I was using however, was off from the measured distance the run had calculated. So when I thought I was about done, I still had what felt like forever to go. I started to sprint, which was a great idea–but I did it too early. Knowing I was so close (may .3 of a mile out now) away from the finish line, I just couldn’t give up. I ended up making it over that finish line and just wanting to crash.

It was amazing. I felt so great. I did it. I just ran 13.1 miles, and I did it well under my goal of 2.5 hours. My final time across the finish line was 2:11:10.

My body wasn’t hurting significantly besides my lower back. I took pain pills before the run and when I finished, and the pain went away within 5 hours or so. The evening of the run, I was feeling great and was amazed at how well my body handled it. By the end of the night, I realized I may have injured myself a little more than I had hoped.

My foot had endured a lot of pain and seemed to be getting worse the more I was on it. For the rest of the weekend, I continued to ice my foot and try to rest it as much as possible. It has been about 2 1/2 weeks now, and my foot is still hurting. Unfortunately, I think I may have a slight fracture that is going to continue to need time and rest to fully heal.

I was all ready to sign up for the Tough Mudder which takes place in July, but I may be looking at the Tough Mudder 2018 to ensure my foot heals properly. All in all, I a so glad I tried a half marathon and it has inspired me to do more challenges, like the Tough Mudder.

My overall advice from my experience is to listen to your body. Goals are amazing to reach and it’s exciting to finish what you started out for, but be careful. If you’re in pain, your body is telling you it’s too much. Don’t hurt yourself in the process. Your body is a beautiful thing.

 

Training For A Half Marathon

I hate running. Okay no, I like running. But I hate running long distances. For once though, I want to complete a half marathon. For now, just one. To say I did it. Never running over 5 miles at one time however, freaks me out that I won’t be able to do it. Running a half marathon has always been something I wanted to accomplish at some point in my life. With a little encouragement from a special someone that recently entered my life, training has started.

This is the training schedule that I am going to give a go. For a beginner, it looks like a great place to start. If you are giving a half marathon a try for the first time as well, check out this training plan and let me know how you like it!

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BEFORE STARTING TO TRAIN FOR A HALF MARATHON, you need to possess a basic fitness level. But assuming no major problems, most healthy people can train themselves to complete a 13.1-mile race. This free guide will tell you how. Much more information is contained in my book, Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training, scheduled for publication by Human Kinetics this spring.

The following schedule assumes you have the ability to run 3 miles, three to four times a week. If that seems difficult, consider a shorter distance for your first race.

The terms used in the training schedule are somewhat obvious, but let me explain what I mean anyway.

Pace: Don’t worry about how fast you run your regular workouts. Run at a comfortable pace, a conversational pace. If you can’t do that, you’re running too fast. (For those wearing heart rate monitors, your target zone should be between 65 and 75 percent of your maximum pulse rate.)

Distance: The training schedule dictates workouts at distances, from 3 to 10 miles. Don’t worry about running precisely those distances, but you should come close. Pick a course through the neighborhood, or in some scenic area. In deciding where to train, talk to other runners. GPS watches make measuring courses easy.

Rest: Rest is as important a part of your training as the runs. You will be able to run the long runs on the weekend better if you rest before, and rest after.

Long Runs: The key to half marathon training is the long run, progressively increasing in distance each weekend. Over a period of 12 weeks, your longest run will increase from 3 to 10 miles. Then, after a brief taper, you jump to 13.1. The schedule below suggests doing your long runs on Sundays, but you can do them Saturdays, or any other convenient day,

Cross-Train: On the schedule below, this is identified simply as “cross.” What form of cross-training? Aerobic exercises work best. It could be swimming, cycling, walking (see below), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or even some combination that could include strength training.  Cross train on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays. Cross-training days should be considered easy days that allow you to recover from the running you do the rest of the week.

Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise that a lot of runners overlook in their training. I don’t specify walking breaks, but feel free to walk during your running workouts any time you feel tired. Be aware that I also offer a separate half marathon training program for those who plan to walk all the way.

Strength Training: If you never have lifted weights before, now might not be the best time to start. Wait until after completing this program. If you are an experienced lifter, continue, although you may want to cut back somewhat as the mileage builds near the end. Tuesdays and Thursdays after your run would be good days on which to lift.

Racing: Consider doing a couple of races to familiarize yourself with the sport. I have suggested a 5-K race at the end of Week 6 and a 10-K race at the end of Week 9. If you can’t find races at those distances on the weeks suggested, feel free to modify the schedule.

Juggling: Don’t be afraid to juggle the workouts from day to day and week to week. Be consistent with your training, and the overall details won’t matter.

Running 13.1 miles is not easy. If it were easy, there would be little challenge to an event such as the half marathon. Whether you plan your half as a singular accomplishment or as a stepping stone to the even more challenging full marathon, crossing the finish line will give you a feeling of great accomplishment. Good luck with your training.

WEEK MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
1 Rest 3 m run 2 m run or cross 3 m run Rest 30 min cross 4 m run
2 Rest 3 m run 2 m run or cross 3 m run Rest 30 min cross 4 m run
3 Rest 3.5 m run 2 m run or cross 3.5 m run Rest 40 min cross 5 m run
4 Rest 3.5 m run 2 m run or cross 3.5 m run Rest 40 min cross 5 m run
5 Rest 4 m run 2 m run or cross 4 m run Rest 40 min cross 6 m run
6 Rest 4 m run 2 m run or cross 4 m run Rest or easy run Rest 5-K Race
7 Rest 4.5 m run 3 m run or cross 4.5 m run Rest 50 min cross 7 m run
8 Rest 4.5 m run 3 m run or cross 4.5 m run Rest 50 min cross 8 m run
9 Rest 5 m run 3 m run or cross 5 m run Rest or easy run Rest 10-K Race
10 Rest 5 m run 3 m run or cross 5 m run Rest 60 min cross 9 m run
11 Rest 5 m run 3 m run or cross 5 m run Rest 60 min cross 10 m run
12 Rest 4 m run 3 m run or cross 2 m run Rest Rest Half Marathon

View the full training article here.