This past Sunday I ran my first ever half marathon.
If you’ve been reading my posts or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I got selected for the 2019 NYC Half Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day! As I mentioned in my first initial post, I was never a runner. I definitely was active but never ran more than 3 miles in my entire life. I went into this not knowing anything and got all my research from reading posts online, watching Youtube videos, and talking to friends who have ran races in the past. I wanted to follow up on my initial post and share my training experience and what went down on race day.
The training program. I followed Hal Higdon half-marathon 12-week program which consisted of running 3x/week along with doing strength training. To be completely honest with you the training started strong and I was very consistent with running 3 times a week but going into the end of the training probably around week 8, I only did one long run on Sunday along with doing other classes. Why? Well, the dreaded shin splints life caught up to me. I had shin splints in high school and was worried that they were going to come back. What I did and I’m glad that I did it was listen to my body. If I was hurt or in pain during a run, I would stop. It is not worth it to push yourself if you are in severe pain. The long runs definitely are the most important so try if you can to be consistent with those. I didn’t run for 10 days leading up to the half because my shins were in such terrible condition and it was probably the best thing that I could have done. I ran 10 miles two Sundays before the race and told myself if I can run 10, I sure could run 13. The downside to training for a half marathon is that it does take a lot of time. You have to plan your workouts and be consistent. When it comes to your long runs, which are usually done of the weekends, you need to make sure you get a good nights sleep before and NOT drink any alcohol. I usually had my long runs planned on Sunday which meant I had to chill at home on Saturday night. Not the worst thing in the world but definitely something that I had to plan around.
The importance of properly fitted running shoes. If you want to become a runner or run a half marathon (or even a full!) make sure you go to a running store where they fit you for the perfect shoe. If it is a good running store they will make you run for a bit on a treadmill and they will watch your step and a machine will tell you where you put most of your weight. I ended up going with the brand Brooks because the shoe had the best support for my arches and my shins. I absolutely loved my shoes and they fit like a glove. They definitely are on the heavier side which I was skeptical at first but after running 2-3 times in them I was used to them.
Have a well balanced diet. Eating is SO important. I found that if I didn’t fuel my body properly before a long run I couldn’t fully perform. It is essential to eat carbs and properly fuel your body of the right nutrients. I did this before and after the race and it definitely helped!
Run in your race day outfit before race day. What I learned mid-training was that I’m allergic to a new fabric in Lululemon leggings. I broke out in hives 3 times while running in these leggings and honestly thought I was allergic to exercise (LOL). It was BRUTAL and I couldn’t figure it out. I returned the leggings and got a new pair that was made of different fabric. I was terrified to run in them but knew I had to before race. Fortunately my body liked this fabric better and there were no hives! It is also important to find a sports bra that is comfortable for long distances. I wore the same bra every Sunday because I found one that worked for me. At first I did have some irritation under my arm pit but got used to it as the training continued. You also need to find a good pair of socks that are thick enough but not too thick. My favorite brand of socks are by far Features or Bombas.
How did the race go? It was honestly the hardest yet most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. The greatest part was crossing the finish line and telling myself that I freaking did it. This was a goal of mine for YEARS and I’ve had so many people tell me that I couldn’t do something like this. I did this race for myself but also for the haters to prove them wrong. It was also incredible running through NYC with 25,000 runners! The streets were closed down, we ran through Times Square, and over a major bridge! I definitely cried 3 times while looking at the landmarks just because I love my city so much (and I guess I’m emotional). My shin splints unfortunately started hurting at mile 6. Yep, just mile 6 so I had 7.1 miles left to go of being in excruciating pain but I somehow powered through it and made it to the finish line. I had to stop and walk quite a few times since the hills were such a beast but so did everyone else around me! It is normal! I had some amazing cheerleaders along the way and that made it all worth it. I cried after seeing all of them across the city and was grateful that they came to cheer me on.
How was recovery? It is ROUGH. I took the day off after the race and I am so thankful that I did. Let me tell you, I looked like an 80 year old woman for 3 days straight. I could barely walk or even breathe. Every inch of my body, from my head down to my toenails hurt. I laugh now but Monday definitely wasn’t fun. Dana was an absolute angel and took off Monday with me and we got massages. I really did need this however I kind of wish I went later in the week just because of how painful the massage was, even walking to the massage was painful. I was also extremely hungry on Monday and Tuesday so I made sure that I was constantly eating and fueling my body AND drinking water because of how dehydrated I was.
Will you ever do another half marathon? The answer to this question is yes and no. It definitely won’t be anytime soon because I do need to rest especially my shins but I definitely do want to beat my time and I know I can do that. I would love to do the NYC half again but I am also open to trying another city!
Have you ever ran a half marathon?
Thanks for reading Elle’s Edit. If you have any topics that you would like for me to discuss, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you! xo