Half Marathon Tips for First Time Runners

I am not a runner. I’ve never woken up and thought,”man, this beautiful day would only be better if I did an easy 10 mile run.”

Usually, I think “this beautiful day would be better with a mimosa and brunch with my babes.” So it was way out of character for me to run a half-marathon!

This past Sunday, against my better judgement, I crawled out of bed at 3:30 AM and ran my first half-marathon at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The theme for this race was Star Wars: the Light Side.

early-morning
Nervous smiles all around..

TBH, I LOVED it. In a sadistic way, the half marathon was a lot of fun. Sure, my legs cramped and stairs nearly killed me for two days, but the surge of pride I felt for finishing AND meeting my goal time is something I’ll never forget. Was that feeling enough to convince me to run a second half-marathon? Maybe… (fine. YES.)

There are a few tips I appreciated hearing from my runner friends, and a few nuggets of advice I wanted to share with anyone else who is apprehensive about running their first half-marathon.

DO:

  • Bring some snacks on the run
    • I prefer energy gels to energy chews when I run, my friend likes eating fruit snacks
    • Decide if you want caffeine or no caffeine in your gels/chews
  • Bring electrolyte pills to fight off muscle cramps
  •  When offered Gatorade or water, grab both, and rinse your mouth out with water to get rid of that sugar coat on your tongue from the Gatorade. Ew.
  • If you’re worried about changing your pace, keep track of someone who is running your speed and try to keep them in your peripherals. Or just stay ahead of them, you winner you.
  • Wave before you stop running so you don’t get run over.
  • Pick a meeting place to find friends and family after the race is over. Your brain might not be functioning, so pick somewhere easy to remember!

DON’T:

  • Don’t forget to stretch and hydrate the night before
  • Don’t forget to stop and stretch when you need it. Stretching at mile 10 saved me.
  • Don’t try anything new during your race. For example:
    • Don’t try running with compression socks for the first time
    • Don’t try using an energy gel for the first time (try both on a run before hand!)
  • Don’t forget there are photographers where you least expect! So remember to smile! Otherwise, this happens:
awkward
Too good!

I thoroughly enjoyed my half marathon experience with Disney. It was so cool to get to run through Disneyland and California Adventures! Ever the experts on creating an “experience“, Disneyland sets up photo opportunities with your favorite characters and prop pieces from the movie. I was to in the zone to stop, so I didn’t stop, but next time, I totally will.

May the endorphins be with you!

we-did-it
Woah, check out our skirts!
  I am by no means an expert, and I am not a sports doctor, so remember to take this advice at your own risk and consult your doctor before beginning an exercise schedule.

Keep your ear out for more stories.

-Half Heard Stories

 

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