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How to Enjoy Your First Half Marathon (Even if you didn’t train)

So I shared my post detailing all the mistakes I made during my first half marathon here. It was a great experience…but it could’ve been a lot better. It was HARD, girl. That said….I’m still planning on another half marathon for this year. #gluttonforpunishment

This time I will train properly for it! If you find yourself running a half marathon that you don’t feel prepared for, these tips below may help you out.

Despite the many missteps I made, I did do a few things right though:

Have fun and be gentle with yourself

This was a definite win for me. I was trotting along and getting passed by geriatrics, very pregnant women, people pushing strollers. I just watched all these people just zip by me and disappear in the distance. It made me chuckle and I reminded myself that I had nothing to prove. I just wanted to finish what I started. I kept my slow likkle pace until the end.

If you treat the race as a fun experiment and not take it too seriously you’re already winning.

Use your mind muscle

Listen…I don’t remember what mile it was but I had one point where I was using every trick in the book I had to get me through each step. I started playing games with myself like okay I only have to run to that next tree or I only have to catch up to that old man up ahead and then I can walk. I also used my mind to zen out and zone out, just tuning in to the beat of the music in my headphones and allowing my feet to go along with it.

As much as running is a physical activity it is way more mental then anything else. If your mind gives up your body will follow and a weak mind will certainly give up long before your body ever does if you let it.

Not setting time goals

My only time-related goal was not getting picked up by the sweep van. I needed to just beat the pace car and I was golden.  With that in mind I did great! And a friend of mine said that since it was my first half-marathon it’s automatically a PR. That stands for personal record for you non-runners out there. So I set a PR and I didn’t get picked up by the sweeps car… so really I won that race.

Keep time goals out of your mind until future races. Your first half marathon should just be a goal to finish!

Trust your body

Not having a time goal and honestly not expecting much of myself for this first half marathon was really a blessing in disguise. I didn’t have anything to prove and I didn’t have anyone to compete with so I could focus on myself. It allowed me to just trust my body to do what I need to do.

I walked when I needed to walk, drank when I needed to, and skipped water stations when I needed to. As much as I was in my head to make it through certain parts, I leaned on my body to get me to the end of the race.

Trust your body to have your back…so to speak. Notice how you feel and adjust accordingly. 

Have a free day afterward

My body was toast the day after my first half marathon so I was glad to have a schedule-free day to just be a sore lump. I didn’t see this in the race blogs that I read in advance of the half-marathon but I’m glad my life worked out this way because my legs were jello for about 48 hours after running those 13.1 miles in the hot Florida Sun. I was able to soak in epsom salt and laze around in bed just staring at my pretty little medal and being awe of what I had accomplished without proper training.

Please trust me on this one!

Have you run your first half marathon yet?


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