I’ve now completed 10 half marathons.  Each one has taught me very important things, about myself and about life…

Photo Jun 04, 6 55 40 PM

My first half marathon, April 12, 2014, Eisenhower Half Marathon.  I learned that 13.1 miles is a damn long way to run.

My second half marathon, October 18, 2014, Kansas City Half Marathon.  I learned that Kansas City is super hilly.  And beautiful.

My third half marathon, April 11, 2015, Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  I learned that running with a sinus infection and bronchitis is not fun.

My fourth half marathon, May 16, 2015, Scout Strong Half Marathon.  I learned that not all half marathons are created equal. Some are never to be repeated.

My fifth half marathon, June 6, 2015, Hospital Hill Half Marathon.  I learned that I prefer fall half marathons to late spring/summer half marathons.

My sixth half marathon, October 17, 2015, Kansas City Half Marathon.  I learned that I can push past my comfort zone.

My seventh half marathon, November 15, 2015, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  I learned that this race is overrated, and Vegas is smelly.

My eighth half marathon, April 9, 2016, Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  I learned exactly how amazing the running community in KC is.  How amazing? SO VERY AMAZING!

My ninth half marathon, May 14, 2016, Running with the Cows Half Marathon.  I learned that having someone to look forward to on the course, my special people, can help get me through a rough race.

My tenth half marathon, June 4, 2016, Hospital Hill Half Marathon.  I learned that no matter what, relentless forward progress will get me through each and every race.

Be who you want to be

Half Marathon Tips

The KC Half Marathon is right around the corner! 2 days!  I’ve completed a handful of half marathons so far, so for today’s Thursday’s Things, I want to share some tips I’ve learned, and some tips I’ve heard that I’m going to utilize this weekend.

Photo Oct 18, 10 18 28 AM

KC Half Marathon, October 2014.  My second half marathon.

My #1 main goal for a half marathon, any half marathon, is to finish! My #2 goal is to run the whole thing without walking.  So far, I’m 5 for 5 on my #1 goal, and 0 for 5 on my #2 goal! I feel like I’m in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, and am going into the KC Half Marathon with high hopes, but I’m not putting pressure on myself.  I want to go out there, have fun, enjoy the beautiful October weather, and run with thousands of my running buddies!

Start slow.  Don’t start out too quickly.  It is nearly impossible to “bank time.” Usually, you run too quickly, positive split, and run out of energy in the tank.  It is hard for me to slow down at the beginning, because the excitement of starting a half marathon and tons of people around makes me want to run faster.  Use that garmin and make sure you start slowly!

Photo Oct 30, 8 44 58 PM

Hydrate before and during the race.  The days and weeks leading up to a half marathon (or any lengthy race) are very important.  I pride myself on drinking lots of water and staying well-hydrated, but in the weeks, and especially in the few days before my race, I up my water intake even more.  And during the race, it is important to drink, and fuel, for that matter, BEFORE you are thirsty, and BEFORE you feel like you need fuel.  In the past several weeks, I’ve been using fuel on long runs to know what my body can handle (more on this in another post later) and to practice my water and fuel intake.

Nothing new on race day. Nothing at all should be new on race day.  No new shoes, no new outfits, no new fuels.  Don’t eat something weird or new before the race, don’t try running with (or without) music if you’re not used to it.  Race morning needs to be as routine and boring as possible.  Race morning is not the time to try out a new sports bra or a new pair of running shoes.

Get some good sleep.  And be nice to your body in the week leading up to and the week (or two) after the race.  Sleep, and being rested, is very important, but really, who sleeps well the night before a race? I sure don’t!  Research has shown that a good night’s rest two nights before the race is more important than the night before.  Be nice to your body, don’t do any crazy new workouts the week before a race.  Respect at least a bit of taper; slow your times down and/or run less mileage the week to 10 days before the race.  This allows your body and legs be rested for race day.

Photo Oct 13, 1 23 19 PM

Always use the bathroom before the race. Always a good idea to use the bathroom or port-a-potty at least once before the race starts.  I have a nervous tummy, and use the bathroom approximately 240957 times before a race.  Don’t pass up that opportunity, because you don’t always know if there will be a spot to stop on the race course when you might need one, and who wants the time to keep ticking while you’re doing your business?

HAVE FUN! Remember, most importantly of all, running is supposed to be fun! You’re racing for fun!  Unless you’re an elite athlete, where running is your career, the rest of us mortals are running for fun!

Now, there are hundreds of tips, tricks, and things to remember for training, racing, fueling, running, etc.  I only highlighted a few that I find very important, and want to remember, going into my sixth half marathon this weekend.  If you have a tip for me or the readers, please leave a comment!

For those running or racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK!