“Mile 10” Siri told me. I breathed out a BIG sign of relief. Only 3.1 more miles until I am done. That is just around 8 more songs until I hit the finish line, right?! After a few minutes of my feet pounding on the concrete, I saw the 8 mile marker. You can imagine the look on my sweaty, red face; was my tracker really off by two miles?
Despite my literal setback, I kept pushing forward; I had no choice! I had a few rookie mistakes throughout this race and noted what to fix before my next race.
- Race with Support I ran this whole race alone. After completing my freshman year at UW-Madison, I felt a need to prove to myself that I haven’t been a victim of the “freshman fifteen” and didn’t lose my high school athleticism. My parents came to cheer me on and my friends sent texts that gave life to me (and my legs approx. at mile 10).
- HYDRATE! Possibly the most important lesson. The average person sweats about a LITER (give or take) per hour! Avoid muscle cramps, dizziness, and irritability by hitting the H2O days before race day.
- Carb load, Carb load, and Eat Energy Chews 1,400 calories. That is around how much a runner can burn after 13.1. This is the perfect excuse to ditch a low calorie dinner for a big bowl of noodles or Chicago’s finest pizza. To keep my glucose levels up throughout the race, I had Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. I would highly recommend the pink lemonade flavor.
- Sleeping is Relative Waking up a half hour to an hour earlier to train isn’t the end of the world. Pinky swear.
- Cross Training is Vital The training schedule included “strength” and “stretch”. This is not a joke… Running 7 days a week for varying, but long distances is a recipe for joint pain. Weave yoga into your routine to give your legs a break and protect yourself from injury. CorePower is my favorite yoga studio!
- Take a Break While you should cross train, you also need to allow your body to have a day off.
- Don’t be too Hard on Yourself Some bodies are built perfectly for running and others are not. I’d say I am the latter. Setting a “seven minute” mile time may not be realistic. Learn how your body feels during training and remember that the fact that you’re running a half marathon is enough to celebrate!
- Run in supportive running shoe I used orthotics for additional support for my flat feet.
- Don’t Focus on the Miles After the Siri mishap, I learned to not focus on how many miles are left. Counting miles will make the race feel like a chore.
- Be Patient You can’t and shouldn’t try to run a half marathon for the first time in the beginning of training; Usain Bolt wasn’t built in a day!
- Make a Plan I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Program and penciled into my schedule when I would train and what I type of training I would do.
- Peek at the Course Route This allows you to know where the water station, Porta Potties, and aid stations will be. You can also expect and pin point when there will be elevation.
- Have FUN!! Two hours of running is taxing on your body and mind. A negative mindset will stretch those two hours (just like Siri’s mile tease) and decrease your chances of hitting the path again. Make a playlist for motivation and treat yourself to a delicious brunch after!