Preparing for Your First Half Marathon

Today I signed up for the Princess Half Marathon! This will actually be my second half marathon, but last year I ran this baby for the first time and man was that an achievement. A half marathon is a huge commitment, so before you register here are some things to consider:

  1. What's your pace? You should be running at least a 15 minute mile in order to finish. I seriously suggest having a 5k under your belt before committing to a half marathon. It will give you some race experience and give you an estimate of your finish time.
  2. Do you have the time? Training for a race is a serious time commitment. My training program is 19 weeks long, but if this is your first half you may want to train a bit longer. That means 3 times a week for 6 or more months. Find a running buddy to keep you motivated and plan runs even when you're on vacation.
  3. Do you have the money? Maybe you aren't running a Disney race (which is pricey but totally worth it), but the cost of any race can still be pretty steep. Plus, you'll need a good pair of running shoes which can run you anywhere from $75 to $200. It's a good idea to start saving a few months before registration to cover all the costs.
Once you've answered these questions here are a few tips to help you prepare for race day:

- Find a training plan. I use Jeff Galloway's plans which are straight from the RunDisney website, but there are a ton of half marathon programs out there. Just make sure to choose one that fits your skill level.

- Measure your progress. I use the Nike running app. It measures your time, distance, and average pace. Plus it's an excellent motivator. Olympic athletes give you kudos at the end of your run and the app keeps track of every record you break.

- Treat yourself.  Cut a minute off your time? Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes or a night out with friends. It's just one more thing to keep you motivated.

- Stay Healthy. Certainly if you are running 3 times a week is enough, right? Not necessarily. You still need a balanced diet to keep you on track. Stay away from fried fatty foods and alcohol. If you wanted your computer to run better would you give it a virus? Then don't do it to your body.

See highlights from last year's Princess Half Marathon here: My Princess Half Experience

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