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Learn : Half Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself a beginner runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a half-marathon because I enjoy running and had not competed in a half -marathon before. The training for a half-marathon doesn't have to be as all-consuming as it is for a marathon, so I thought I would be able to handle the training commitment.

Training:

I trained for 3 months following the Runner's World three day a week training program, for the most part. Unfortunately, I became quite sick during the middle of the program and wasn't able to run for a couple of weeks. After that, I just ran what I could to try and get ready. In sum, my training for the race was inconsistent, at best. During my training I averaged 15-20 miles per week.

The training program I used incorporated spped workouts which I enjoyed. I hadn't done any speed work before in my training, so it was a nice change of pace. I think it helped, but because I became sick, I don't think I ever saw the real benefits of the speed work. I will incorporate speed work in my training going forward.

Race Day:

The 2006 Sioux Falls Half Marathon was worse than expected. I knew going into the race that I was in it just to finish it. Before I became sick during the middle of the training, I had a time goal in mind of 2:00, but after I became sick, I knew I had to let that goal pass and just aim to finish the race. I truly was not fully prepared for this distance.

Race day started off perfectly. My friend and I showed up at the cold start line with little time to spare. I liked that because at my pace, I don't need any warm-up and I didn't want to wait around in the cold weather any longer than necessary. The weather was actually perfect for running, just not for waiting. It was about 55 degrees with an intermittent mist, but never enough to get you wet.

The first 8 miles of the race went very well. I was pleased with my effort, and things were looking good, better than expected. But, then my performance dropped and the last 5 miles went poorly. I just wasn't able to perform up to my ability (which isn't much) because of my inconsistent training. I really struggled to finished, took several walk breaks over the last five miles and, generally, finished with little enthusiasm.

While my aim was mainly to finish, I guess my real goal was more specifically to finish with a good effort. I wouldn't classify my race as a good effort for me. It was all I could do that day, but I think it was a bad day for me, and for that reason I would say I didn't meet my goal.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. I really didn't do much at all to help my recovery. I walked a few laps on a warm indoor track, did some stretching and tried to rehydrate, but I really didn't focus too much on recovering. I felt some soreness in my quads the next day, but that went away pretty quickly. Recovery for me was good.

Running Gear Recommendations:

ASICS GT 2110 Running Shoes
Great fit from the very first run.
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Body Glide
Even in a half marathon, chafing can be a problem, but with body glide, it won't be.
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Powdered Sports Recovery Drink
I prefer Gatorade, but whatever recovery drink you prefer, I recommend buying it in powdered form. You can save a lot of money and fine tune your mix (stronger or weaker) to suit your tastes.
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Search on Amazon.com

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

You might say that this was an unsuccessful half marathon for me. And, you'd probably be right. I was slow by any measure of the word. But, it can also be seen as a success because the peak of my training was severely disrupted, and I was able to persevere, modify my goals and finish the race.

So my words of encouragement are: Don't be discouraged if your training is interrupted. Modify your plan. Modify your goals. But don't give up. You can still complete the race.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to run another half marathon because I enjoy running, and I enjoy the challenges associated with a marathon and half marathon. I get a good sense of satisfaction from finishing one, even one like this where I wasn't particularly happy with my performance. It's still a long distance to run, no matter how long it takes you to do it. I need to keep meeting that challenge. For my next half marathon, I'll I will do my best to stick with a consistent training plan. I couldn't really control getting sick, but consistency is the key.

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