Running Your First Half Marathon
You’ve put in the training, you’re standing at the starting line, what can you look forward to over the next 13.1 miles?
What is it like to run a half marathon?
Half marathons are a great distance to run. It’s long enough to force you into a training plan, but half marathons don’t consume your life like a full marathon does. I’m here to share my experience running a half marathon for the first time.
The Starting Line
You will be nervous. There will be hundreds of runners around you. Depending on the time of year, it’s probably cold. You will try to stretch, but the crowd around you makes it difficult. Enjoy the moment, listen to the National Anthem and wait for the gun to go off. You’re about to run a half marathon!
Half Marathon Miles 1-4
You are probably feeling good, especially if you are well trained and took it easy the week before the race. You’ll probably run a little faster than you’re used to, due to the excitement around you. Try to hold back a little though, you still have 9 miles to go and you don’t want to burn out too quickly. Try to take in some fluid at the first aid station. I also like to take a Gu around mile 4.
Half Marathon Miles 5-9
You will get into your groove during these middle miles. Settle in and find a comfortably hard pace. Try to enjoy the experience and know that you are accomplishing something great! Depending on the weather, you should continue to hit up the aid stations. I also like to take another Gu around mile 8.
Half Marathon Miles 10-12
It’s funny, no matter the distance, it always become a mental battle the last couple of miles of a race. If you’ve pushed the pace, you may start to feel really tired. This will be where you want to give up, or start walking. If walking isn’t in your race plan, resist the temptation. At this point in the race, try to stick it out and don’t slow down. Take another Gu around mile 11.
Half Marathon Mile 13
Your victory lap! It’s time to really push the pace and leave it all out there. You will be tired, but the end is in sight. If you’ve held back at all, you’ll want to see how much you have left in the tank. My goal is to always finish a race knowing I could not have pushed myself any harder.
You finished a half marathon!
Be proud of yourself, you just ran a half marathon! Get that medal, eat those pretzels, and drink that beer. Don’t forget to post your bad-ass selfie on Facebook, you earned it!