Running a half marathon can be intimidating whether it’s your first one or your 15th. That's why having a plan can be very helpful, while also preventing you from injuring yourself during the race. Here are a few fun tips that will help get you excited about your race, train the right way and calm your nerves.
1. Pre-Train. Before you begin the necessary training for your half marathon, make sure you are able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. If you are not at this level yet, keeping working until you get there, then you will be able to begin training.
2. Choose your race. Select the half marathon that you want to run. Make sure that you will be able to travel to the race location. Check out Active.com for race dates in your area.
3. Make it your goal. Every time that you want to give up or skip a workout, just remember you're trying to accomplish.
4. Create a plan. Count the number of weeks that you have to train until the race. Determine what days you want to train and what days you will have off that week. Look up a training plan or create your own and follow it closely. Here is one example: http://www.marathonrookie.com/half-marathon-training.html
5. Increase mileage. Each week increase your longest run a little more. As you build up your endurance you will soon be able to run 8 miles strong and feel confident doing it. Increasing the mileage will slowly adjust your body to running the distance.
6. Stick to the plan. Don't get off track, if you do, find a way to get back on. It can be difficult to stay on track when work, family and friends can so easily get in the way. Remember your goal and don’t let anyone stand in your way!
7. Change the way you eat. Start making healthier choices; you will find yourself running a lot faster when you are eating healthier. The junk food will weigh you down and give you false energy. Fruits and vegetables will give you lasting energy while strengthening the body. You will be burning more calories running and will need food that will give you strength. Think almonds, eggs, sweet potatoes, oranges, salmon, salad and chicken.
8. Drink plenty of fluids. Before going on a run make sure that you are well hydrated. Dehydration will limit your performance, even if you are only 2-percent dehydrated. The few days before the big race drink-up to run better and remain focused.
9. Run for a cause. Whether it is an illness of a family member, friend, stranger or just a cause that is important to you, running for a cause makes the race more meaningful. Remembering that you are not just running for yourself but for a greater good, will help you remain motivated throughout the race.
10. Stretch your body. Stretch before and after running to expand muscles and prevent injuries. See this Runner’s World video on stretching before a run.
11. Rest up. Running 10 days in a row will not make you better, it can hurt you. Your body needs time to heal and recover after long runs. Make sure you are taking time to renergize and recover each week.
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- Angela Ciroalo is a New Jersey writer, who is obsessed with healthy eating and helping others. Her favorite cause is Homelessness and Poverty because she believes it is often overlooked.