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half-marathon-training1Training for a Half Marathon.

As somone who couldn't jog a half mile without stopping to walk and wheeze, I was determined to be a runner. I wanted to learn how to run mile upon mile with this easy stride not only to increase my athleticism, but to put my body outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to run because it was my nemesis, and I knew it was going to be mentally painful and physically strenuous.

Running is for athletes. People who run are strong, healthy and toned. I accepted my challenge, and at the end of summer 2011, I decided there was no better way to achieve my goal than with half marathon training for a race in Malibu, California.

Half Marathon Training & Setting Goals

If you’re a newbie who's ready to lace up your tennis shoes and hit the pavement, start by setting goals. Registering for a race and telling all my friends and family that running was my latest mission ensured that I had no choice but to just do it. Whether you want to run to feel the high of an accomplishment or shed a few pounds, running with goals in place is the best way to start.

Before training for a half marathon, the following activities and goals are excellent ways to commit to the sport:

  • Sign up for a charitable 5K or 10K to experience the excitement of a running event
  • Reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes or fun running gear after tackling a certain number of miles per week
  • Schedule running dates with friends or join a local running club; Lululemon, Nike and Road Runner Sports stores as well as MeetUp.com offer running groups where you can get your miles in while socializing with other runners
  • Make a fresh playlist with upbeat tunes that keep you motivated; the Huffington Post provides monthly updated playlists using Spotify
  • Create a motivational and inspirational running Pinterest board; include running quotes, healthy recipes using superfood ingredients and tips for running, stretching and injury prevention

Once I chose a half marathon to train for, I started training 10 weeks before the race using a half marathon training schedule by MarathonRookie.com. Both the first and second time I trained for a half marathon, I struggled to complete three miles and would mentally murmur profanities before, during and after my run. Forge ahead with your training because, eventually, at six miles your body will adjust to long distance running. When you’ve accomplished eight miles, you’ll be amazed at your built-up endurance and stamina. 

Race Day & Well-Deserved Victory

My experience training for and running a half marathon taught me about how perseverance through painful moments can transform into a sense of calmness and comfort that inspires you to continue to put one foot in front of the other. Learning to run is a lesson about the power of mantras, commitment and the inner strength to push beyond your limits. Once your head's in the sport, your legs and feet just naturally follow as each mile is completed.

Leading up to the day of the race, reserve time to rest and load up on carbs the night before. Also, don’t forget to enjoy the actual experience of running your first half marathon. Reflect on all your hard work and remember that you’ve earned that sweet victory as your feet cross the finish line.

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