Well, you know I’m ready for a half when suddenly I start writing a lot of posts about half this and half that.
For this Fitness Friday Five from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run, I’m going to give you five ways to know that you’re ready to start training for your first half marathon.
You really, really want to run one
This seems to go without saying, but 13.1 miles is a lot of miles. Go out there and drive it — you’d be surprised! Don’t listen to those twisted marathoners who consider 13.1 miles to be a simple training run; you already knew those people are a little off.
Don’t do it because your friends or your boyfriend or husband is doing it.
Do it because you really, really want to do it. For whatever reason. If you do it for someone else, you’ll be cursing them out at zero dark thirty or maybe just turning over in bed and hitting the snooze button . . . numerous times.
You’ve been running for a year
I know I wrote about this one somewhere, but it bears repeating: it takes time for your ligaments and tendons to get used to running. Not to mention if you ramp up too quickly, you may be sitting on the sidelines with a stress fracture.
Sure, there are lots of runners with stories of running their first 5k and then immediately signing up for their first half.
There are even more stories of runners sidelined by injuries before their first half.
You consistently run at least three times per week
You can train for a half marathon with just three runs a week. I’ve done it. I prefer four runs per week, as that allows you to distribute your runs into smaller chunks, but I think three times per week can get you there safely.
You run outside
Can you train for a half marathon using just a treadmill? Probably. But let’s face it, except for the space station, halfs are run on the roads (or trails).
Conventional running wisdom tells you to mimic your race conditions as much as possible in training. If you’re entered in road race, run on roads. If you’re entered in a trail race, run on trails.
If you’re too shy to run on the road in front of God and everyone — I get it. I was like that once, too. It might just mean that you’re not quite ready for that half yet.
You’re healthy and have the time
I often say if I can run a half marathon, anyone can. I believe that. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
If you’ve been recently injured, or are anemic, or know work is going to be insanely busy while you’re training for your first half . . . don’t. Just don’t.
It may not be a marathon, but it’s not a sprint, either. Your immunity takes a hit. You have to commit to some long runs and a certain amount of hours devoted to running during the week.
The last thing you want is to feel like you have to run, instead of you get to run. If that’s how you’re feeling, put aside your half dreams for now. Wait for a less busy, less stressful time in your life.
You only get to run your first half marathon once. Make it a great experience, not a chore!
Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:
What was your first half marathon?
Was it a good experience?
What would be your advice to a runner wondering if they’re ready for a half?