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Tips for new runners

So I have less than four days until I run my first half marathon. I have been training for about 10 weeks now. I started training able to barely run 2 miles. Today I did 9.5. It was crazy to look back at where I came from in ten short weeks! (I owe many thanks to my hubby for pushing me and believing in me). My first several runs I did interval training where I would walk a few minutes and run a few minutes. I never imagined being at a place where I could actually run 13 miles. I still feel squeamish about it!

Training is a funny thing. In the thick of it, I felt like I was making little to no progress. There were days I was flat out exhausted, days where I felt awful, and days where I felt good! 10 weeks of running throws funny curve balls at you. So far here is a little summary of all the different encounters I have had with training.

Ran in the rain (that was an interesting and fun time)
Ran around a lake infested with mosquitoes (I hated that run)
Ran with knee pain, hip pain, and muscle spasms
Ran with a jogging stroller on a street with no ramps along sidewalk (talk about lifting weights while running!)
Ran in heat
Ran in freezing cold, sometimes with snow still on sidewalks
Ran inside the gym
Ran at parks, along streets, and even to Target!
Ran hungry
Ran with a full belly
Ran with no music 🙁
Ran with a great playlist
Ran with horrible, ill-fitted shoes
Ran with fantastic shoes

You get the point, right? Training is a great way to get used to anything, so that on race day nothing is new. And if something is new, I will learn how to deal. I remember when I started running I would get really bent out of shape if I forget my sunglasses or dressed too warm. Now I can deal with pretty much any annoyance. It still annoys me, but I can press on. Thanks training!

Anyways, for all you beginners like me- let me share with you the things I learned the hard way- so you can learn from my mistakes!

1. Be patient with yourself
Start a training plan, and stick to it. Try not to jump ahead. Eventually you will be doing more than you imagined! I used Run Training Pro and loved it.

2. Eat right
Hydration and nutrition can make a big difference in your runs. Try to avoid alcohol while you are training, if possible. Also, avoid drinking too much caffeine before a run (wait two hours after you had coffee). Also, make sure to drink and eat after your run! Recovery meals are super important. Stick to a protein shake or chocolate milk (experts agree on chocolate milk!) right after your run, and eat a full meal within 2 hours after you run.

3. Don’t Diet
Dieting while training for endurance runs is stupid. If you really need to lose weight, focus on eating well-balanced, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and good fats. You need good fuel for runs, so skimping on meals isn’t the way to go.

4. Invest in good running shoes
Do it early! Don’t wait until the week before the race like I did! BAD IDEA. Your running shoes will be your best investment. Go to a running store that can test your gait on a treadmill and fit you for shoes that will give you enough support and stability for your run. I picked the cute, bright ones and they killed me. Even if you get fitted for huge, ugly shoes do it. Who cares? You wanna feel good when you run. Believe me!

5. Relax
While you run, focus on breathing and relaxing your upper body. Let your legs do the work. Keep it steady.

6. You will have bad days
Some days will feel horrible. Some days will feel amazing. Don’t get down if you cannot finish a run, or need to walk. Just stick to your training plan either way. There were days I was supposed to run 8 miles and only logged 4. The next day I proceeded to the next run on my plan. It evens out in the end.

Did I leave anything out? I am sure I did. Let me know!

Hope your all having a great week!

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  • Reply Sara

    I love all of these tips! I’m beginning my half-marathon training journey now and broke one of the rules-don’t skip ahead in your plan! I got a little cocky, oops. I’m looking forward to being in your shoes (ha!) and being able to say, wow look how far I’ve come! Congrats on the accomplishment!

    May 16, 2013 at 5:51 am
  • Reply Jamie F

    Great job, I’m so proud of you! I starting my training for warrior dash and this was the motivation I needed!Bugs and Beans

    May 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm
  • Reply Rachel @ front row seat

    Thanks so much for posting this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve just started trying to run, so I need to hear things like this!

    May 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm
  • Reply Chelsea @ Life Unpublished

    These are great tips, thanks for sharing! I have just started running, well its more of a run for a min, walk for a min. It’s tough!

    May 17, 2013 at 3:55 am
  • Reply Megan. OneFifteenDanville.

    i am so inspired. I ran my first half a few years ago but barely run since. I always make excuses for not having time. You will do great! Cant wait to hear how it goes!

    May 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply niquelle taylor

    This is so helpful, thank you! I am (kind of) training for my first 10k which is in September, but ultimately I want to do a half-marathon. I’m a bit terrified at the idea of both haha

    May 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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