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Learn : Half Marathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an intermediate runner and I for a lot of reasons -- fitness, weight control, competition, and stress relief to name a few. I decided to run a half marathon because my girlfriend ran a 5K and said I would have loved it, so I started training for the next event. I was unsure until the week before whether I would be running the half marathon or the 10K but I was training for the half to cover all the bases.

Training:

I had one month to go from a long run of 10K to being able to finish a 21K run, so I added 3K to my long run every week, scaled back my shorter runs in an attempt to avoid injury, and started really watching what I ate and drank. I ate lots of "good" carbs and protein while training and lots of starchy carbs for the 3 days before the race, with nearly a gallon of water a day. I also made sure I had proper sleep habits of at least 8 hours and 2 days rest before the run as well. During my training I averaged 20 miles per week.

The best advice I received while training was to watch, with the added mileage, that I didn't injure myself. I had also read in a runner's magazine that hitting the hills hard would help speed me up, confirming for me what I was already doing in my regular runs. I would breeze along nice and easy until I hit a hill and I would attack it, running up as fast as I thought I could maintain until the top.

Race Day:

The 2007 Fiddler's Run Half Marathon was better than expected. It was my first race so I was unsure what to expect. I had been having some shin pain the previous two long runs in training and was terrified that they would return on race day, so I started out slow and easy. After a half an hour with no discomfort at all, I started to open up a little bit and gradually started to hit my stride and start passing some of the other participants. That was a great feeling.

I had initially wanted to finish the run without stopping and finish under 2 hours but once I started passing people I wanted to keep passing people. My ace in the hole was the hills on the course. Most people seemed to slow down when they came to the hills, even the long gradual inclines, so this is where I gained most of my ground. My training route took me up some of the steeper and longer hills which I aggressively attacked, so I was on familiar ground here. Only one of the hills on the race was challenging and that made me work harder for it.

It felt great to be running MY race and the time flew by. I checked my watch at 1:08:00 and was surprised by how much time had actually passed. It felt like minutes!! My finish time was 1:52:55, so I had come in under the 2 hours I had hoped for. All in all, it was a great day, an awesome run and an experience I'll not soon forget.

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I kept stretching my calves, took a full week off from running, and that's about it.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
It's the only supplement I've ever used. It seems pretty good to me.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Don't try training for it in a month. It was not only hard on me physically, but the mental strain was terrible as well. Constantly worried about an injury is no way to train. I was over-training and it seemed like work and that's not how I wanted to remember running. This was supposed to be FUN. That being said, like the Nike guys say - "Just Do It" - plan for it, train for it and then run it. Set small goals that you can accomplish quickly and safely to keep your enthusiasm high for achieving the larger goal!

Plans to Run Another:

plan on running a full marathon next. I would love to qualify for Boston, but I won't with my current time so I have a lot of work ahead to get to that goal.

For my next race, I'll make sure to give myself a proper amount of time to train.

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