I’ll be running a half marathon on January 24th, 2016 and this is going to be my first time doing so. I’m terrified, and nervous, but mostly I am excited. I’m no where near the best runner, but running has been a part of my life for quite some time. This year in particular running has had a significantly important part of my life. When I run I face a lot of the push and pull that life often puts me through as well. That is why I connect with the activity so dearly. I don’t LOVE running… I think it is important I make that clear before we go any further. I started running this year to lose weight rapidly to prepare for the summer.

I started pushing myself further and faster, because my schedule was jam packed and I didn’t have time to waste. Add fitness trackers to the mix, and my need to always win (competition is always my biggest motivator, even when competing against myself) I was running 4-5 times a week consistently for three months. Still with all of the personal records I was breaking over the summer, a half marathon was no where on the horizon.

As the whether got cooler and the days got shorter my runs became less frequent (tiny female running in darkness in NYC isn’t recommended). One of my friends then asked if I’d join the Road Runners with her and complete the first half marathon of the season. I reluctantly said yes, plugged in the date on my Nike Running app, and thought about what did I just agree to.

As the weeks went on, I tried and tried to follow the regimen set up by the app… and failed … each time. Why? Because I just didn’t have the time, and I was doubting myself. Then one day I said eff it and went on my first long distance run (6 miles). I ran 6 miles in 1:05 and felt accomplished. From that day I started doing 3 things that will help me and hopefully help you in preparation for your first half marathon as well.

3  Tips For Preparing For A Half Marathon

1.  Run as much as possible: That is key #1 to preparing for a half marathon, actually running. My longest run so far has been 8 miles. I ran that in about 1:25 two weeks ago. Since then I haven’t had a chance to up my distance, though I’m hoping by the time this is posted I will have at least reached 10 miles. I’m really thankful for the beautiful weather we’ve been having this winter for allowing me to run at all. It is not always easy getting out there, especially when you know you have a long distance run ahed of you that is going to take a chunk of time out of your day. However if you don’t push yourself physically and mentally you’ll never be able to get to the finish line. Set a pace, train regularly and get out there as many times as you can.

2. Get outside of your head: For a while I kept fighting myself as to whether or not I would be able to run such long distance. The longest run I’ve ever had was five miles back in August, and although I felt great when I was done I wasn’t sure I could do much more than that. Now that I know that my body can handle a steady 8 miles I feel more confident in pushing myself further. Shut down the voice in your head that tells you that you can’t go any further. Because the truth of the matter is theres a good possibility that you can. Stay focused on the road ahead of you, pick a kick ass

3. Invest in a good pair of sneakers: If you are going to be running the distance you need sneakers on your feet that are going to carry you all the way through. And don’t invest in a new pair of sneakers the day before your run, I’ve been training in a pair of sneakers I received back in August. When I first got those sneakers my first few runs in them were difficult. My feet were getting used to the shape, and some of the runs were down right painful even though they weren’t long distance. Now they are way more comfortable since I’ve been training in them, and give my feet the support I need during long distance runs. Your body and your feet will thank you in this investment.

Have you run a half marathon or full marathon before? If so how did you prepare? Share your preparation tips with us below!

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