Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Heather’s ‘How to Run a Half Marathon’

by heather

Back when I was in college/high school I enjoyed running. But since having kids it’s been hard to get in the habit. Once I’m in the habit, it’s fun again. It’s just getting there that’s hard. You just have to start and get moving. So I signed up for a half marathon. This was my first race that was longer than a 5K and when I signed up I had not done any running since before I was pregnant with Miss Cindy Lou Who (so about 14 months). Here’s what I did to get my booty in gear.

1. Find an enthusiastic friend or family member who likes to run and is going to check up on you about this thing. Peer pressure baby. For me it was my MIL. She convinced 7/10 family members to do run this trail.

Time to Party

2. Sign up for an event that is fun. I signed up or for The Dirty Hurty in Santa Clara/Ivins, Utah in March and the Disneyland 2012 Half Marathon in September. At this point I have a distinct goal and deadline to do it. Both of these races offer something interesting to look at. I also have invested some money into it with registration fees, so that’s extra incentive.

Here was what the view looked like for most of the race. Lovely, no?

3. Buy some new running gear. You’ll feel cuter, athletic and more motivated to go running. And again, you’ve invested money, so you want to get use out of it. (I found mine on sale at Target.)

Crossing the creek in the Dirty Hurty

4. Buy some good running shoes. Go to a specialty running store. Yes, you may be able to find shoes cheaper in a department store or online, but running stores provide a valuable service. Their employees will observe the way you walk and run to determine what kind of shoe is best for you. You can’t get that online. Then you can try on numerous pairs of shoes to really tell which shoe is right for you. Expect to pay around $100. I promise that it is money well spent. Once I did this, running became significantly less painful. I really wish I had forked out the money earlier. Plus the running store guys can give you great tips to improve your form. Most importantly wearing good running shoes can prevent injuries, which can end up costing you more than a good pair of shoes.

Ignore the pasty white ankles.

5. Gradually build up to your goal. I signed up eight weeks before the race and started by running one mile at a time a few times a week. When that was less painful I notched it up to one and a half miles. Then two miles, three miles, etc. My plan was to get to the full 13.1 before race day, but between sick kids, me getting sick, my husband going out of town, the weather and life in general, it didn’t happen. When I wasn’t able to run I tried to do yoga, so I was getting some exercise in. I have heardthat if you can run for two hours straight you can run a half marathon. Or if you can easily run eight miles, you can run a half marathon. The week before the race I had gotten up to five and a half miles. I finished the race and didn’t die, but it would have been easier and my time would have been better if I had trained more for it.

Dirty Hurty Trail

6. Make sure you drink enough water. This is pretty much Heather’s go-to soap box. If you want to be healthy you need to drink enough water. Drink enough before and after race day and the entire time that you train. If your urine isn’t clear at least one time the day before the race you aren’t drinking enough.

7. Take it easy the week of the race. At this point you’re not going to make phenomenal improvement and you don’t want to wear yourself out before the race. Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.

At the end of the race. :)

Things I don’t recommend

1. Forgetting to stretch. I was too busy complaining about how cold it was that early in the morning to even think about stretching.

2. Taking caffeine gels for the first time during a race. I didn’t try one, but I’ve heard that some people don’t react well to them and you don’t want to discover that during the race. And if you do take an energy gel, take it with a lot of water.

3. Talking yourself out of this or any other goal because it’s difficult. You’re tough. Don’t let your fears get in the way. You have survived small children. You can do this. If you feel like pushing yourself too hard and too fast isn’t advisable for you health condition, pick a race that isn’t timed. Or start with a 5 or 10K. Just start moving. You’ll feel accomplished and it’s good for you!


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