I recently completed my very first half marathon. One year ago, running a long race was not even on my radar. I like running shorter races. 5K and 10K distances are the perfect amount to me so when I was challenged to do a half marathon, I was not exactly thrilled at the prospect.
13.1 miles can be an extremely daunting number for a “non-runner”. I have always played sports and can run all day if I am engaged in a game, but never got the urge to go out and run for fun. I’ve learned that many people feel this way over the course of my training, but I’ve also realized that enjoying a run is completely possible. It is all in your training and mindset.
The key to completing a half marathon is to get time on your feet. This means you need to train over a period of time and build on the time you are actually up and moving. To begin my half-marathon training, I decided to join a running group. Destin’s Galloway Training group led by Gayln and Wendy Moen is what I landed on. Jeff Galloway running is based off a technique that includes interval training which transitions from running to walking throughout your run. This method makes running possible for almost any individual and is very personalized based on your individual abilities.
This interval method was new to me, but with three knee surgeries behind me, I figured it would be a good way to achieve longer distances. I met with my running group every Saturday and also found a friend to be my running partner during my weekday runs. That partnership became crucial on those mornings that I did not really feel like crawling out of bed for an early run! We added mileage every week over a period of about 15 weeks to eventually reach our race distance.
During training I experimented with different drinks and foods to keep me hydrated and energized throughout the longer runs. I also wore different clothing and ran in different temperatures so that I could adjust for any race day weather. I made sure to purchase a pair of running shoes appropriate for my feet and trained in them well in advance to race day.
If you are thinking about challenging yourself to a long race, I would say, “go for it!” Find a program that works for you and build on it. It does not have to be about how fast you finish the race, and crossing the finish line feels so good no matter how long it takes you to get there.
Dr. Kelly J. Donaldson, DC, MS