Lessons Learned From Half Marathon Training

Since I made the decision back in March to start running and to train to run the Disney World Half Marathon, I have learned quite a bit about running and about myself.  Although attending graduate school while working full time and planning a wedding taught me quite a bit about myself and time management, my half marathon training shed renewed light on this as well.

This past week has not only been a week of physical rest before I gear up to start training for half marathon #2, but its also been a week of reflection.  As I’ve relaxed my body my mind has been racing thinking about the impact that this experience has had on my entire life.


Training for Disney World taught me so much.  I learned (in no particular order):

1.  People will think you’re crazy for choosing to run.
2.  You can plan and plan and plan but training, just like life, doesn’t always go as planned.  You get sick, life and work get busy, and adjustments will have to be made.
3.  You have to be extra diligent about training around the holidays, especially when extensive travel is involved.
4.  You will be hungry all the time.
5.  Just because you’re burning extra calories doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want.  Junk food will make you feel like crap while wholesome food will give you the added energy you need for training.
6.  You can do whatever you put your mind to, no matter how challenging or daunting the task may seem.
7.  Even when you’re tired and don’t want to complete your planned mileage for the day, you’ll feel a sense of pride after completion.
8.  Running is just as much mental as it is physical.  Don’t let your mind get the best of you and talk you out of finishing a run.
9.  Running is emotional.  After I completed my 13.1 mile run during week 16 I broke down and cried, not because I was in pain (which I was), but because I finished something that a year ago I never imagined I could do.
10.  No matter how much pain it puts you through some days, the foam roller is a runner’s best friend.

Running a half marathon proved to be one of the most physically daunting tasks that I’ve ever put my body through.  But I’m ready to do it all again.  In eight weeks, I’ll take on Rock ‘n’ Roll USA!

QOTD: What lessons have you learned from training?

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23 Responses to Lessons Learned From Half Marathon Training

  1. Lindsey says:

    Congratulations on finishing your first half! I swore after my first that I would never do it again (I never knew my quads could hurt in the way that they did haha!) buuuut a few weeks later I was signing up for another….and then another. It’s kind of addicting.

  2. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your lessons. I am training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler (which seems impossible!) and find your lessons inspiring. (kimruns.blogspot.com)

  3. So true about life getting in the way of training sometimes! Training for a half for me was a real grind! I also cried after I finished the race as I was really emotional too so I understand you running that distance and crying too.

  4. And forgot to write Congratulations too!! Oops! What an awesome achievement 😉

  5. Congratulations again and thanks for this post! I will be running my first Disney Half next month and then I’ll be doing two Rock N Roll series races this year! I look forward to reading your next race recap!

    • Thanks Meranda, and good luck as you finish up your training. Which two Rock ‘n’ Roll races are you registered for? By the way, stay tuned for more recaps. In communication with MarathonFoto about my husband’s race photos, and then I can continue with the recaps. 🙂

  6. Amy Herring says:

    Woo hoo, congrats! These are all great realizations, and all so true, especially #9. When i crossed the finish line after my first half, I definitely cried!

  7. kristenk says:

    I love this! I’m currently training for my first half and I agree with these completely. Especially the foam roller thing. Omg my foam roller has saved my life like every other day!

  8. runawaybridalplanner says:

    Congratulations on your first half! I love that you are already planning on doing another! What a great post sharing your lesson’s learned:)

  9. marywdw says:

    I’ve learned that training is 85% mental motivation for me and 15% physical. But with each run I am getting better with telling the voices in my head to be quiet and keep running!

    • Running is definitely both mental and physical. I often have the voices in my head battling with one another as to whether or not I can do it. I’m hopeful that sooner or later I won’t have to talk myself out of stopping during a run!

  10. Excellent tips — especially about how emotional you might get. I’m STILL in awe at how emotional I was during / after my first full. So proud of you! Hope we can meet at a race this spring!

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