I officially completed my first half marathon, Dawn of the Dunes, last week. There is no doubt that I am super proud to have finished and will at some point do another one. For now I’m going to enjoy a little break from hard core training to run when I feel like it and deal with a few major life changes going on.
As a newbie half marathon runner I thought I would share with you lessons I learned on my first half marathon. Some were duh moments where I should’ve listened to other bloggers and some where thoughts I had along the way.
Mistakes I Made At My First Half Marathon
One. Drive the course first. I made the mistake of trusting the advertising that there were two major hills and the course was a “quick/flat” course that was great for marathoners trying to qualify for Boston. It was anything but flat. Had I known that I probably would’ve picked a different half marathon all together.
Two. Don’t set yourself a time goal. If you do, don’t be disappointed if you don’t hit it. I tried so hard not to set a goal but I really wanted to finish around 2 hours. You know what, I finished in 2 hours and 14 minutes and in the end I could be disappointed. It was my first half and I hit a lot of unexpected things along the way.
Three. Pace yourself and don’t get cocky with the initial adrenaline rush. Trust me, you’ll regret it at mile 12.
Positive Thoughts From My First Half Marathon
One. Really pay attention to the weather. I went back and forth 200 times on what to wear. In the end I was hot at some points and cold at others. There really wasn’t a winning situation. Then again, that is what happens when you run in the Fall!
Two. Find a training plan and stick with it. I LOVED my half marathon training plan. Even though towards the end I had to do less runs so I could rest my knee it gave me the confidence to go into the half and know that I could do it.
Three. Have a support team and place them throughout the course. We had a lot of empty spots along the course where it would’ve been awesome to have someone cheering. While it isn’t always possible it was great when my family showed up at certain points to surprise me! If you know that there will be a long break from spectators, plan your music wisely.
Four. Plan your water out and prepare for the worst. We had stops every 2 miles but some were either not prepared when runners came by or were out of water completely. Know what is coming and ask others who have run it in the past what the experience was. Next time I will carry water with me.
Five. Enjoy it. You only run your first half once. It is an experience like none other.
Have you run a half before? What advice do you have?