I’ve been anything but quiet on here about how proud I am of myself for completing two half marathons. Just over a year ago I hadn’t started running, and now as I contemplate registering for my third, and possibly fourth, half marathon, I can’t help but think back and reflect on what I did that allowed for my half marathons to go as well as they did.
1. I followed my training plan.
Back in August Preston and I mapped out our 19 week training plan for Marathon Weekend, and I started my training plan the first week of September. Although some weeks had to be adjusted due to my schedule, the weather, and my overall health, I didn’t skip a single long run during my training cycle for half marathon #1, and kept on track with my eight week conditioning plan for half marathon #2 until my body prevented me from continuing to do so. Keeping to the training plan required focus, dedication, and lots of hard work. Some weeks were easier than others, but having a plan also kept me focused and on track towards accomplishing my goal.
2. I didn’t do anything different on race day.
Often times I hear about runners who ate something different for breakfast on race morning, tried a new fuel in the middle of the race, or decided to change their run intervals mid race. For both of my half marathons, I didn’t do a single thing differently. Both at Disney World and here at home the morning of my half marathons, I ate the breakfast that has worked for me: a peanut butter sandwich with a banana. About 15 minutes prior to starting the race I took a Gu Energy Gel. After crossing the start line I took another Gu every 30-45 minutes. I wore my hydration belt so that I had access to water when I wanted it. Everything that I was used to during training I made sure to mimic on race day, both when away from home for half #1 as well as at home for half #2. The bottom line is: don’t do anything on race day that you haven’t already done during your training.
3. I utilized run-walk intervals instead of trying to run without any walk breaks.
From the start of my training, I have been practicing Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method. For shorter runs my run intervals are longer, but for the most part I utilized either 3:1 intervals or 2:1 intervals for my longer training runs. I opted to run both of these races conservatively, and ran 2:1 run-walk intervals as best as I could (walking more frequently when necessary).
4. I listened to my body during the race and made adjustments as necessary.
Around mile 10 of the Disney World Half Marathon, I couldn’t maintain 2:1 intervals any longer, and knew that in order to safely get across the finish line I needed to cut my run intervals down to one minute each. As for Rock ‘n’ Roll, because I was still recovering from my possible TIA (and still am today), I knew it was more important than ever to listen to my body. When I felt the need to walk, I did, and I didn’t get on myself for not being able to maintain 2:1 intervals for the entire race.
5. I ran my first half marathon with my best friend.
Preston and I ran the Disney World Half Marathon side by side. While we didn’t complete all of our training runs together (he is after all a much faster runner than I am), he ran my first half marathon with me at my pace. This was partly to force himself to conserve energy for the full marathon the next morning, but also because he wanted to encourage me when I needed to be encouraged. His encouragement gave me the motivational fuel I needed when I wanted to give up. Although he ran his own race at Rock ‘n’ Roll, his frequent texts and words of encouragement when I needed them most made me feel as though he was physically there with me on the course.
QOTD: Why do you think your first major races have gone well (or not well if they haven’t)?