13.1 Miles Later: 5 Things I Learned from Training for a Half Marathon

On July 16th, 2017, I ran my first half marathon; a long road of hard work leading to a 13.1 mile run around the beautiful city of Chicago. (since then I’ve been on a runners high leaving me wanting more. Before I decided to take this journey I could barely run two miles, it was definitely a workout that I avoided at all cost, so needless to say I had no clue how to start except of course run.

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  1. Buy the right shoes
  2. This is the first thing I learned, and I’ll save you the foot ache. I kept putting off buying new shoes for a “treat yourself day” but it soon turned into a necessity for success. At the beginning of my training I was running in 2 year old Nike free runs that fit my feet just right. I ran 4 miles in my free runs and my feet began to swell up, it was awful. It’s important to keep in mind that your shoes are an investment and spend what you need too [my wallet and I cried a little too].My tips for buying news shoes: go a half to a full size up, whatever makes you feel comfortable. REMEMBER:YOUR FEET WILL SWELL UP.
  3. –Go to a professional and get fitted; I went to Fleet Feet, and the lady who worked analyzed how I walked and ran and found the perfect fit for me.
  4. –Don’t settle; as a college student spending the amount of money I did on my shoes can hurt for a few days, but you can’t run if you don’t care of your feet, so spend the extra few dollars for a fitting shoe that’ll last.
  5. I personally run in Brooks Ravenna 8IMG_2021IMG_2017 2.It is going to take time to figure out what works best for you
  6. To be honest, I feel like I still don’t know what exactly works for me when it comes to having a running plan and what/when I should eat. For a long time, I was struggling to prep for my runs—when should I run, what should I eat before my run, how long before my run, should I eat anything at all, should I take energy supplements, and the list goes on and on. Eventually, I took a deep breath and detached myself from that stress and just tried new things every week. Some techniques worked better one week than the other, some did not work at all. As much as I wanted to hear the perfect piece of advice from all my former running friends, I had to realize that did not exist because different things work for different people. We are all built differently and have completely different body types. Its most important to see listen and understand what your body needs, everyday is different so look within and do what works best for you on that particular day.
  7. IMG_13083. Do not center your life around your plan, center your plan around your life
  8. This lesson is one I learned the hard way, and I want to help prevent the burnout I went through multiple times throughout my training. Things do not always go exactly as planned. Unexpected things happen, and life gets in the way. I would constantly be upset with myself if I did not run or cross train one day. I found myself a few weeks off schedule, and training to catch up within a week. It wasn’t until an unexpected family emergency that I told myself I needed to slow down, take a breath and not be so hard on myself. Even at that moment, it was hard for me to come to the realization that my body is stronger than I think and I can keep it up. I ran my seven-mile-long slow distance run two weeks after my six miler, and my body could keep up. Running is definitely a mental sport, and I did not truly understand that until my training. I had missed so many runs, but guess what? I still ran all 13.1 miles and I survived!IMG_0862
  9. 4. Are you being lazy or coming up with a legit excuse?
  10. This lesson ties together with number 3. I am currently a full-time student, I have a part-time internship, a job, somewhat of a social life, and oh that fun activity others seem to do, sleep. Sometimes I did not physically have time to run, other times, I found myself awake at 6:30 am telling myself the night before I was going to run, but I was laying in bed thinking of excuses of why I shouldn’t run that day. In these times I had to check in with myself and my body. I had to remember why I started training in the first place. Then I asked myself how did I feel today, was I tired, was I sore, or was I just being lazy? Those days that I was unsure about running are the days I had the best runs and felt amazing. So, listen to your body, remember why you started and make the best out of your day [that may mean running 6 miles or taking a rest day]IMG_1202.JPG
  11. 5. Put the computer down and go RUNI found myself meticulously searching websites, videos, and blog post for all the tips and tricks on how to make the best of this half marathon for longer than I’d like to admit.. I’m sure we are all guilty of doing this, but the fact is that it will not help you become a stronger runner. Go out and run, cross train, eat the right foods, sleep, drink plenty of water, get into a routine, remember how far you have come, and that will help you become a stronger runner.

    Thank you to all my friends and family who supported me throughout my training. I am planning on running my next really soon!IMG_1413.JPG

  12. What are your best running tips? Share them in the comments below!
  13. See you at the finish line,
  14. Anais


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