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7 Things You’ll Learn from Your First Half Marathon

By March 18, 2017Move

I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon last month. I fully intended to chronicle my training here, but only managed one blog post.

Why? Well, the short story is that the nagging hip pain I mentioned in that post was an injury. And then, just as I started feeling confident in my hip recovery, I fractured my ankle. And then, as soon as I recovered from that, I did the not-so-smart thing and ramped up my mileage really quickly so I’d be prepared to run in Florida. As a wellness junkie, I know this wasn’t a good idea (so I certainly wasn’t going to detail how I did it on a fitness site). Still, as a determined 20-year old who paid to run a Disney race, I was not going to miss the race if I could help it. 

Well, I did it. And amidst all the ups and downs, I sure learned a lot.

Some people will think you’re crazy.

Non-runners just don’t get the appeal of getting up on Saturday morning and running, but you know it’s a great way to start the weekend.

You need to eat a lot.

Your body will let you know this. After your runs, you need to refuel. And when you’re resting, you still need to fuel. Running requires a lot of energy, and so does everything else you do.

Time really doesn’t matter.

I went into my training with some time goals. Then, I got injured. When I started to recover, I really just wanted to be able to run the race, whatever my time. As I trained more, I started putting more time pressure on myself. By the end of my training, I was starting to feel the effects of building up my mileage so quickly and once again, just wanted to finish the race. My point? Be grateful for whatever your body can do. You put in some hard work to get to the finish line, no matter how long it takes you to get there. 

You might overtrain.

I didn’t mean to, but I totally did. By the week before I ran the race, I was exhausted, my whole body ached, I was starving all the time, and my sleep quality was terrible. I was overtraining. I rested a lot the week before the race and it turned out okay, but make sure you rest enough throughout your training cycle. 

People will think you’re running a marathon.

They will be impressed. Again, if you don’t run much, a long distance is a long distance. For a while, I would correct people who called it a marathon: “Oh, no. It’s just a half.” Then I decided that 13.1 miles is long enough and stopped saying “just“. A half marathon is great. Also, if you’re worried about your time (even though I told you not to be), most people will think it’s crazy impressive that you ran that far, regardless of the time.

Sometimes you won’t love it.

There will be times when you want to skip your runs or neglect stretching. You might get really tired of refueling and rehydrating properly. Sometimes, you’ll be sore and tired and achy. That might be a sign you need a rest day. That’s okay.

Mostly, you will.

You might run new, beautiful routes. Maybe you’ll run farther or faster than ever before. You will probably share endorphin-fueled smiles with your fellow runners. You’ll eat all the things, complain about foam rolling, and say, “Sorry, I have to get some sleep. My long run is tomorrow.” And mostly, you’ll love it.

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Author Ellen Slater

Ellen is a second year economics major at the University of Chicago, and she is originally from Columbus, Ohio. Her favorite things include writing, hockey, Ohio State football, tea, Diet Coke, photography, cooking and baking, yoga and running, and food and fitness in general. She talks a lot about all of these things on her blog, My Uncommon Everyday. She considers herself a connoisseur of pizza, nut butter, and dark chocolate.

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