So you’ve run a couple of 5k races, maybe even a 10k, and you are feeling spunky! A half-marathon, however, can be a different beast altogether. For one thing, you’ll be running more than twice as far as a 10k, a fact that may not register right now but will about half way into the half-marathon. That said here are top TK things that no one ever tells you about running a half-marathon.
- Your feet will be a mess. If you are serious about running a half-marathon, you will need to put in more training miles every week than you would for a 10k. That equals wear and tear on your feet. You’ll probably get blisters or black toenails.
- Running is a team sport. You probably train alone most of the time. But on race day you’ll most likely end up running alongside someone who will quickly become your new best friend. In addition, you’ll find that onlookers along the course will cheer you on, giving you an energy boost just when you need it most.
- You will get addicted. Somewhere along the way, maybe halfway through or near the end of the run, you will swear to yourself that you will never, ever do a half marathon again. But an hour after the race, you’ll be betting yourself that you can do the next one even faster.
- Train on race terrain. Sure, you can run a half-marathon if you’ve only trained by running on a treadmill. But you’ll have more success—and more fun—if you train on the same type of terrain as the actual race. Train on flat pavement for a flat city run or on dirt hills for a cross country style event.
- Make a checklist. On race day, you won’t want to be scurrying around trying to remember everything you need. Well before race day, make a checklist that includes clothing you’ll want to wear before, during and after the race, transportation items (such as keys or subway tickets), cash, identification, entry bib or confirmation and more.
- Remember that you can always walk. Just because you’ve signed up to run a half-marathon doesn’t mean that you can’t take walk breaks. You won’t be alone. In fact, a great many people consider it a triumph to walk the entire 13.1 miles.
- Plan for the unexpected. Know that no matter how hard you’ve trained, the unexpected can happen. It can rain, or even snow, on race day. You may wake up on race day with a headache or a stuffy head. Your running partner may not show up. Whatever happens, don’t let it get you down. Go out, do your best and celebrate at the finish line!
- Smile for the cameras. Along the race course you’ll most likely see a professional photographer snapping pictures of every runner. Smile when you see these folks. Maybe even wave! You’ll come out looking like a winner when you see the results. And don’t forget to put on a big show for the finish line—the cameras are watching there too!
- Recovery time might take longer than you expect. Physically, you might be ready to run again in a week or so but the mental readiness may take longer. You’ve completed a major goal and it took a lot out of you. Give yourself a break if you aren’t ready to run again right away. Take walks or try out a new sport such as yoga or kickboxing in the meantime.
Image credit: istockphoto.com