Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I Learned Training for a Half Marathon

In January, I set a goal that made me question my sanity but I trained hard for 5 months and I killed it!  Along the way I definitely learned some things about running, training plans, and myself, so I thought I'd share.

Go to a running store and get legit shoes.  I started out my training in random shoes and after a month of running only a few miles at a time, I had intense hip pain that I'd never felt before.  I was really scared that I was seriously injured, I was limping around at work!  Once I went out and dropped some money on new kicks (and took some time off) the pain went away completely.

Follow your training plan, but listen to your body.  When I created my training plan, I thought I was going to be running 4 times a week.  At first I couldn't fit 4 runs into my schedule but when I finally did, I ended up with super sore shins.  I decided that 3 times a week was my sweet spot as long as I didn't skip any of my long runs.  Towards the end of my training I twisted my knee and only ran twice a week, because I wanted to save myself for my weekend long runs.  In the end it all worked out!  I'm glad I listened to my body and was able to overcome my potential injuries!

Sweat wicking clothes actually make a difference.  Before training, I never understood why anybody needed special clothes to run in.  And then I tried to do a few runs in regular t-shirts and the ending result was a super wet heavy t-shirt that just felt gross.  Go to stores like Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Target, and Old Navy and you can get great deals on gear.

You won't feel winded, but your legs will ache.  I always thought long distance running would involve huffing and puffing and side stitches, but that wasn't the case.  After a few miles, you really do get in the groove and you feel like you could run forever.  Until your legs start to ache, like really badly.  Once I got close to double digits I experienced a lot of hip tightness and my knees really hurt.  I'm sure this is different for different people, but I was not a fan.

Find a running buddy or a group!  I was pretty nervous before my first group run.  Would they be too fast?  Would I hold them back?  Would I fit in?  All of my concerns quickly vanished after the first run and the group has been an amazing resource for me during my training.  My long runs would've been much more difficult without the support.  If you find a good buddy to chat with the miles just fly by!

Everyone will say "Wow, that's great... I can't even run a mile."  I know that I've always been an athlete, but I never thought I'd ever be able to run a half marathon!  I always want to tell people that they are capable of so much more than they think!

Thank you so much for all your amazing comments throughout my training!  All the support has meant so much to me and I couldn't have done it without you guys :D


  1. Great tips! I never could find a running group when I was training for my half-marathons, and I always regretted it-- I ran a LOT of lonely long runs!

  2. You totally rocked and we're all a little bolder and a little more blessed because of your inspiration/motivation :) Way to go! PS We have some AMAZING trails out here- you should come visit/run here sometime soon :)

  3. I'm so proud of you Amber! And these are all VERY good tips! I am slowly getting back to my running - my stupid broken leg still troubles me almost a year later but I am not giving up. I was never an athlete as a young person and I feel like I need to conquer that as I get older.
    Shelby and I are doing the Sunshine Foundation Walk, Run & Bark this Saturday. Its at Tyler State Park - a beautiful run for an fantastic cause!
    Now that you have finished your half the key is to KEEP GOING!!!!!

  4. such great tips! i felt the same way about running clothes at first, too! they definitely make SUCH a difference though!

  5. Great tips! I really agree with the tip about having a training plan but also listening to your body! It's such an important balance to keep in mind. Congrats again!

  6. Awesome! You should absolutely feel so proud of yourself. 13.1 miles is a LONG way to run! And I absolutely agree with you on all, but especially #'s 1, 4, & 5. I used to just buy whichever "sneakers" were on sale at a department store, but going to a running store, and having them watch me, and recommend several to try, and then actually spend the big bucks on the shoes really made a difference. Also, I can run & run & run (slowly, and with a buddy to chat my head off), and it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything too hard, but if I get on a bike in a spin class? Fuhgettabout!

  7. I'm going to echo what you said in your post ... I can't even run a mile (an athlete I am NOT!), and so I am beyond impressed that you were able to finish a half marathon. Major kudos to you!! :)


Every comment makes me smile, so keep 'em coming!

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