I always say I’m “not a runner” even though I run pretty often. When I think of a runner I imagine a cross country athlete that runs every single day… that’s not me. At the same time I love a good run and last year I wanted to challenge myself. I was already in good running shape and I thought a half marathon would be the perfect thing to challenge me and motivate me to run more consistently! I wanted to complete my half marathon before I started coaching Track in March so I found a half at the end of February that would give me seven weeks to prepare.
Before my first half marathon the furthest I had ever run at one time was 7 miles.
My Training Plan
I did some research and decided to use Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Guides. What I loved about his guides is that he has them for novice runners all the way though advanced! They are all full 12 week plans and non of them were too complicated to understand. Also, they are FREE! I have some running experience so I ended up following the 12 week Novice 2 plan. I had to jump in at week 6 of the Novice 2 plan since I only had seven weeks before race day! The link below will take you two all of Hal Higdon’s Half marathon Training Guides so you can find the level that works best for you!
This link is the specific plan that I followed starting at week 6:
My training went really well! I listened to my body and adjusted the schedule as needed. If I was too sore for my longer run, I added in a rest day. If I needed to shift my shorter runs forward or back a day due to my work, or personal schedule, I did it! I just made sure that I got in every run every week even if it wasn’t perfectly on schedule. I also tested out what and when I wanted to eat on my long run days to see what would work on race day. I made sure after every long run that I made time to stretch and foam roll. That made a HUGE difference in my recovery.
I was training through the end of winter and at the beginning we still had snow on the ground so I had to do my first long (9 mile) run on the treadmill! I got some great tips though! Adjust your speed and incline every half mile and stretch halfway thought your treadmill run. It makes a world of difference! As I went though training I broke through new barriers EVERY SINGLE WEEK! Every week I was running a little further than I had ever run before in my entire life! During my last 12 mile run I imagined myself crossing the finish line and all my hard work paying off and it brought tears to my eyes. That was an amazing feeling and got me excited about race day!
Finally the day arrived! It was race day. I had been preparing for almost two months and I had a goal in mind. I wanted to complete my half marathon in under two hours without walking at all. I showed up at the starting area and my sister jumped out of nowhere with a sign that read “On a scale of 1-10 you’re a 13.1!” Her and my brother in law had driven across the state to surprise me and support me on race day! My Parents and husband were there and my best friend came to the race as well! I felt SO LOVED! I knew I had put in the work and now was my time to shine!
During the race a few things happened.
- I got so excited at the start of the race with all the runners and people cheering that I was breathing awkward and gave myself a side ache that lasted from mile 2 – 3.5. That was HORRIBLE! I just kept running and tried to breath as normally as possible until it passed.
- I SUCKED at drinking water while running. I ended up spilling all over myself and burping up air.
- There were WAY more hills then I expected. About 6 hills all together.
Despite all of these things I felt awesome during my run and I hit BOTH of my goals! These were my split times:
I ended up finishing in 1:53 and I didn’t walk AT ALL. I also ran negative splits for the majority of the race! It was amazing to work so hard and reach my goals. When I came through the finish line I couldn’t feel my legs and I was crying because I was so overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it and that my entire family was there to share it with me.
If you are thinking about signing up for a race that is outside of your comfort zone I say GO FOR IT! You will be amazed at what you are capable of and the process of challenging yourself is SO REWARDING!