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should i run a half marathonSo you’ve decided to run a half marathon? Congratulations, you’ve officially delved into the insane, since no sane person would put their body through that torment for a t-shirt.  It’s great to set goals and have confidence in your abilities and know that you CAN, but have you ever thought if you SHOULD run a half marathon? I have compiled a list of things, that I learned through many hours of trial and error, that may be helpful for you to think about as you ponder this question.

Daily Running is not Required

As you start training, logging miles is important.  However overdoing it can lead to injury or mental fatigue.  You need to find the right balance of training to keep your sanity.  Days off or rest days are just as important as running days when training for a half marathon.  You should take at least one day off every week.  As I trained I found it hard to take a whole day off, so instead I supplemented my running with strength training and cross training. This can help strengthen your core and lower body which helps to reduce injury on long runs.  Half marathon training is a long process so mixing up your cross-training activities with swimming, cycling, elliptical trainer, yoga, and circuit training, can reduce your mental fatigue and complacency.

Downside of Long Runs

In order to be ready for a half marathon, training programs call for weekly long runs.  The good thing is that you won’t have to run 13 miles before the actual race.  The downside is that as the mileage steadily gets longer, you may find that you get bored.  The best way I found to ease the boredom is listening to audiobooks or podcasts on my ipod.  Sometimes running with a group helps beat boredom on the long runs too.

Chafing 

I have spoken in a previous post about the plague that happens to runners, chafing.  It is caused by skin rubbing against skin or loose fabric. And when you’re training for a half marathon, take it from me, there’s a lot of rubbing.  To combat chafing, wear moisture-wicking running attire made of synthetic materials. Cotton is probably the worst clothing when it comes to chafing because once it gets wet, it stays wet. Cotton is a rough material and when it’s constantly rubbing against your skin, it can chaff really really bad.

There are some great products out there that can help prevent chaffing.  Use Body Glide, Vaseline or other lubricants on vulnerable areas, around the bra line (women), nipples (men), inner thighs, and under the arms, to help win the battle against chaffing.

Run through the Rain Clouds

Weather is always a factor when it comes to half marathon training, no matter what time of year you are training. During winter months or bad weather, treadmill running is the go to.  But you should try to do some of your runs outside. It’s a good idea to do some running in less than ideal conditions, because if you run in bad weather, you’ll be more prepared to handle anything on race day.




Diet

While training you will definitely burn a lot of calories, but sadly, that doesn’t give you approval to eat and drink whatever you want.  While I trained I thought that if I ran, that I could go on binges on cheesecake and pizza.  It doesn’t really work that way.  I know a lot of runners that learn this the hard way, when they actually gain weight after a few months of training. Focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet based on the calories that your body needs and the calories you burn during training.

Injuries may Happen

Training for a half marathon, you’ll log a lot of miles, so there is a possibility of injury. Runners who don’t think they’ll get injured ignore injury warning signs, push through the pain, and end up making injuries worse.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Finishing is the Goal

If you’r new to half marathons, you may have a fear that you’ll be the last person to cross the finish line. Remember that merely finishing is the goal.  There’s always someone faster than you and there will always be someone slower.  This is a personal victory for you and you only need to measure yourself on your personal yardstick.  Finishing the race is a great great accomplishment that you should be very proud of.

There is good and bad when training for and running a half marathon.  It will be one of the hardest things you do, but also one of the most rewarding.  So to question, should you run a half marathon, the answer is a resounding, yes!  Get out there and get started.




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