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half marathon in 2018If the idea of running a full marathon (26.2 miles) is too much to wrap your head around, then consider the alternative, the half marathon (13.1 miles). Half marathons are one of the fastest growing long-distance races, with crazy new races popping up all the time. From a Star Wars themed race to one that serves dozens of donuts at the finish line, half marathons can be any variety and formula. If you’ve been kicking around the idea whether you should jump in and run a half marathon, here are some reasons to get going:

1. Tons of health benefits

When training for a half marathon you’ll progressively run more and more miles. This will turn up the dial on your metabolism which will burn a lot of calories. As long as you keep your food intake in check by eating lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll most likely lose some weight throughout your training as well as post-race.

Running is a great way to strengthen your heart and ensure the efficiency of blood flow and oxygen throughout your body. This helps decrease your risk of a heart attack and other heart related complications. Running can also reduce your blood pressure and can help keep cholesterol levels in check. Long distance running, like half marathon training, has been shown to improve overall immune system function, so that your body is more effective and efficient at fighting off germs and infection.

2. Relationships

Of the many races I’ve run, most have been with someone. To me, it’s a great time to share an experience with someone. The training process is sometimes grueling and difficult, so to have someone there to help keep you motivated is a big plus and half marathons are the perfect distance to be both challenging and achievable. Some of my greatest running memories are not just crossing the finish line with a friend or family member, but the long talks and laughs while on an early training run on Saturday morning. It really is a great way to build and strengthen relationships with a loved one. You get to spend time with one another training and then have a special connection as you pursue of a common goal of finishing the race together.

4. More time and less injury

When you train for a marathon it is a huge time commitment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’ve got a demanding work schedule or have a family with young kids, it can definitely take time away from other things. Half marathon training is, you guessed it, half as much training as a full marathon, which means you have more time for other areas of your life. Because the mileage demands are not as high as marathon training, you’re less likely to have sustain an injury. More “me” time and less injury, that’s not a bad combination.

4. Oh, the places you’ll go

Due to the popularity of half marathons, you can find a great race in just about any city in the nation every month of the year. You can of course find a race right in your own backyard, but part of the fun of training is the variety you can get running a race in another city. I’ve run races in big cities like Chicago, where you see the whole city including Wrigley Field and Chinatown, to Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota which is much smaller but has great views of Lake Superior. Just for giggles, sign up for a race in another city or state, it’ll add variety and make your running that much more interesting.

5. Join the elite few

A lot of people out there have crazy things like run a half marathon on a bucket list or as part of a New Year’s resolution. The fact of the matter is that once you complete a half marathon, you join an elite group of people who defied the odds, made a commitment and completed a monumental accomplishment. Put it on your resume, bring it up at parties and tell everyone you know, I finished something very few people ever have. It’s something that you can tell people about for years to come, you’ve earned it.

 

 

 

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