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Since I completed my first half marathon with very little training, I figured I’d press the redo button and complete my second half marathon with proper training. I realized that part of my problem was the mental aspect of running the distance of 13.1 miles. That’s further than 5Ks and 10Ks that I am more accustomed to, but it’s been a goal of mine for a long time to complete a half marathon. But I was never a runner, I played non-contact sports (doctor’s orders), and running was on the list of things I was not allowed to do. Getting past the medical issues, I finally wanted to get to a healthy place with myself. I also wanted to get to and obtain a healthy weight and with running I could get there in 2018. I was running 3-4 times a week, and cross training at home to keep my body healthy and as injury free as possible. I fell off the horse but am determined to get back to the healthy weight this year (leading into next year and beyond), and running will help me get there.
One of the challenges that I still face is the constant negativity I bring down on myself. Being a plus sized woman, running isn’t easy. I do the run/walk method; seeing how slow my pace is (17:00 mins) to what my pace was (11:00 mins) when I was running consistently is also frustrating. It’s not easy knowing how fast you once were compared to what you are now, especially not letting that stop you from going out and running. So, I’ve made sure I tell myself, that even though I am slower now, I will get back to that pace one day especially if I stick to consistently running. It’s not easy, but anything that is worth having is never easy. Running is not easy for me, but it’s something I know will help me get to a healthy place in my life, and when I was running consistently, I loved running. I ran in various races (with CA being my number one fan) and that is how I got him into racing as well. A couple that runs together, stays together, except he’s much faster than I am.
Running is a much as physical challenge as a mental one. You must be able to get out of your own head and push past the cant’s, the don’ts, and the unsure feelings. You can do anything you put your mind to, especially with proper training and eating habits. Like I said, I already completed a half marathon without proper training and I’m doing it for the second time with proper training so I can be more prepared when I toe the line at the start. I am sharing the 5 ways to successfully (also see: properly) train for your first half marathon below.
- Train Slowly- This especially goes for people who’ve either just started running or have only run a few miles. Training can never be rushed, they have long training plans for a reason. Your body needs to adapt to the workout you’re putting it through. Going from 0-60 only works in a car, not on your body. With the proper training plan, you build up your miles slowly, starting out with a 6-8 miles week building up to a 20-30 miles week. This goes hand in hand with #2.
- Pick a Plan That Fits Your Needs- So you know you want to train slowly, but how do you pick your plan? If you’re not a runner you can pick a run/walk plan, where you run intervals the entire time switching from walking to running at a certain time. If you run already and need to build up your miles you can go for a straight running plan that will build up your miles to 13.1. Runkeeper has a variety of plans for many different race distances and can help you get to 13.1 safely and/or run a faster half marathon going for a PR.
- Be Prepared- Running long distances requires the proper fueling and equipment. Shoes, clothes, water bottles, accessories, energy gels, and even period protection. There’s a meme saying, “Running is cheaper than therapy” with different amounts listed for everything you need for running properly. Running distances means you need to hydrate and replenish your electrolytes, so carrying a water bottle or having a hydration belt are key, also having energy gels or something similar. They help replenish your lost electrolytes when you are running. Proper attire, that means a good sports bra, shorts or capris (preferably compression), socks, and proper fitting sneakers (this is HUGE). Proper period protection is also high on my list, because mother nature, does not care if you’re training for something or just wanting to make a better version of yourself, she’ll come down and rain on that parade of yours and you want to make sure you have everything you need. This is where U by Kotex® products come in, it’s amazing. They have liners with Dual Flex zones, Ultra-Thin pads that have a unique shape for exercise, and my favorite, compact tampons that come with a plastic FITPAK*. Having the best protection when I’m either running or workout in the gym is crucial because no one wants a leak while you’re getting your sweat on. Find Your FITNESS* and get a FREE SAMPLE at UbyKotex.com!
- Stretch- This is essential to keeping injuries at bay. Stretching before and after your run will keep your joints and muscles lose especially before you run. It doesn’t need to be a long stretch session, 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after is perfect. Stretch your quads, hamstrings, calves, then make sure your upper body is loose, stretch arms over your head, side to side. Even when I’m in a rush I always stretch at least once, usually before running as I’m prone to shin splints which occur when your calves aren’t loosened up.
- Cross Train- I’ve heard and read that cross training helps your muscles not become accustomed to only one motion. You can workout at the gym lifting weights like I do, ride the bike, elliptical, or even swim! It gives your running muscles a break and you can essentially help your running become easier when you’re cross training. Plus, it keeps your body active on the days you are not running. Most training plans call for 3 or 4 days of running with 1 or 2 days for cross training and at least one day off.
Running or even just waking up in the morning can be a daunting task when having your period and knowing that you need to get that training run in can be hard to push past. Because Mother Nature doesn’t stop for training days. PMS can make it difficult to want to work out and on the days, when your flow is heavy, makes for days you want to stay in. I have had some days where I truly wanted to not work out but I knew I’d feel better once I was done. Something about working out and getting the blood pumping eased my PMS symptoms and help me power through the rest of my day. Even if I am slower on my runs when I’m on my period, I know that I am logging the miles which essentially is the most crucial part of training. Logging those miles on your body, getting it ready to do the entire 13.1 miles in whatever time goal you have for yourself. On the days, you have PMS or your period, take it easy, make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard, and treat yourself after you train.
What helps you get past the days where your head is screaming to go back to bed? Or when you’re on your run and your head is telling you this is too hard let’s go back. What helps you push past everything that could possibly limit you? Share with me below!
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