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FROGNYC SparkPoints: (1,284)
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1/12/15 10:48 A

I wish you the best for your first HM. I'll add a bit of advice from the perspective of an easily injured semi-long distance runner. Some people have no trouble with the standard training programs for increasing mileage and speed, but lots of people find that the standard plan can be too much, too soon. So I'm glad to see that you're planning for more of a 4-6 month schedule - that gives you the flexibility to ramp up a bit more slowly and reduces injury risk.

In addition to the "cutback" weeks every 3-4 weeks that someone mentioned, you also might want to build in a few "steady-state" weeks once you get to a sufficiently high mileage - maybe around the 6 mile long run mark. In other other words, instead of doing the plan's scheduled mileage, for example of 6 miles, 7 miles, 8 miles over 3 weeks, you might do something more like 6, 6, 6 (on your long runs). Your body will probably tell you when is the right time to do this - it might be at 4 miles, it might be at 8 miles - it might be a point where you feel like progression is a strain and you need to consolidate. This kind of flexibility also gives you leeway in case something happens and you have to take it easy or take a week or two off training (illness, travel, etc) - now you're just dropping out a duplicate week instead of a critical high mileage week. That means less panic about hitting your training goals.

Keep in mind that your cardio capacity often increases faster than your muscle strength and ability of joints etc to withstand the repetitive exercise. So even if your heart and lungs seem to be handle a faster or longer workout, your muscles, joints and bones might not.

Finally - several people have mentioned the importance of strength training. I agree and in particular would encourage you to spend some time strengthening and stabilizing the following:

- Core muscles (abs, lower back, glutes etc)
- Ankles
- The muscles you use when you swing your arms (lats, biceps, triceps, shoulders)

For the latter, I hold a light barbell in each hand and do the same swining motion that I do when I run.

Finally, I don't want to come across as overly pessimistic, but when it comes to choosing your goal HM, consider picking a race that has a 10K option as well. Training plans don't always work out. Life intervenes and something as simple as a cold can derail months of work. If there is a 10K option in the race you've registered for, then you usually have the option of scaling down to a 10K from an HM without having to pay any more to do so. So although it won't be the race you trained for, you'll still get to race. This is particularly important if the race is expensive and/or you have a destination race planned that you'll be travelling for.

ZURICHMAN SparkPoints: (1,775)
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1/11/15 11:43 P

I use to race competitively and lots of good answers on here. There are lots of training plans out there but most go like this

only increase your mileage 10% per week
every 3 weeks take an easy week for you body to recover
2 weeks before you big race do your long run. Not many 10 milers around anymore as there are 5k 10k or the 1/2 but if you could find a 10 mile race close by that would be great
3 months of base work up in the beginning
hill repeats to build up leg strength recover on the downhill
opposite weekend of you long run do sprints or fast runs. After your 1 mile warm up run do some miles at what your race pace to be or 30 seconds faster. This helps you get use to race pace.

Finally but most important enjoy your 1st couple or races/runs as you can get better as you run more.

Good luck

SIMPLYEVA2 SparkPoints: (4,613)
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12/8/14 5:25 P

These were all very informative answers. Having just done my first 1/2 marathon yesterday I wish I'd read this before hand. I had great shoes but did not fuel at all so I was rather nauseated around mile 7. GU is an interesting substance. I ate about a pea sized amount every few minutes so as not to get sick and it seems to have helped. I also should have incorporated longer walk/runs during my training. I only got up to 6 miles during practices so when mile 8 came around I was struggling. My best advice is to try to replicate the course you will be doing during your training. Ours had lots of hills so I was glad we had practiced in an area that offered those. Although most of mine was walking/jogging I am looking forward to taking the tips you have offered and putting them into practice for next time.

SHOOPETTE SparkPoints: (0)
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7/27/14 7:28 A

My friend always makes some rice pudding the night before her marathons, it's apparently great for sustained eanergy

MARCELA_OLEGA SparkPoints: (312)
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7/26/14 12:12 P

hi, maybe this is a good advise, if you are going to do an endurance sport, it has been proven that chia seeds are very helpful since they give a sustained release of energy for your body. How this works please check

ERICREH Posts: 4,160
7/26/14 11:24 A

Good luck, remember to taper in the week before the race. And reward yourself after you finish.

HILLSLUG98239 SparkPoints: (44,802)
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7/23/14 2:26 P

One thing I've heard repeatedly is, once you find running shoes you love, buy several pairs. The maker will change something about them in a year or two, and it may change the shoes from ones you absolutely love to something you hate.

And if you're going to wear headphones, please either run with only one in your ear, or make absolutely certain you can hear what's going on around you. I commute by bike, and I frequently encounter runners and cyclists who cannot hear my 76 db bell. Because they're on a path that does not permit motor vehicles, they forget they need to look over their shoulder before they change course. This morning, I nearly collided with a cyclist. He was in the middle of the path. He didn't hear my 76db bell. He didn't hear it when I hit the 96db setting. He didn't hear my "ON YOUR LEFT." And then he veered toward me as I was passing him. He apologized, and when I pointed at my ear as I rode away I heard him say, "I know, I know." I'm just hopeful he learned something this morning.

After reading what you've written, it sounds to me like you're really well prepared for this. And I'm a little jealous. I'm off running while my plantar fasciitis heals, despite having a sprint tri coming up in a month. I miss running!

Edited by: HILLSLUG98239 at: 7/23/2014 (14:26)
ZRIE014 Posts: 68,519
7/23/14 12:29 A

You want to run about the distance before the race. You can increase the longest run each week about 1 to 3 miles to reach the limit you want to run before the race. You can help by running interval training at least one day each week. You want to do your training over 10 or so weeks to help your body to adapt the distance. It would be helpful if you run the race with a friend.

DRYADSARAH SparkPoints: (194)
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7/23/14 12:28 A

Thanks! That looks like a pretty good site.

DIATATREAUX SparkPoints: (19,730)
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7/22/14 11:38 P

Best site for nutritional and exercise articles and info on sport conditioning and it is free is body Here is the address for an article might help you - Strength Training For Runners: How To Do It Right

Edited by: DIATATREAUX at: 7/22/2014 (23:42)
DRYADSARAH SparkPoints: (194)
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7/22/14 12:43 P

I bought a book called Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners, by Nancy Clark, MS, RD. I ended up getting sidelined in my marathon quest by an injury, but I still use it all the time. It has a better-for-you homemade gatorade that I love for long runs, and it has a terrific tailored-to-you calorie counting system that I use whenever I question the accuracy of the computer programs.

Can you send me a link to the program you are using? With all my running books, I have several ramping up to marathon/half-marathon schedules, but none of them incorporate cross-training and strength training (my weakness).

DRYADSARAH SparkPoints: (194)
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7/22/14 12:38 P

For bringing water along on long runs, some people stash it along their route, but I like to have a belt that can hold a couple of water bottles. This leaves my hands free for a leash when I'm taking my dogs. They have belts for that too, but with my dogs, that would only lead to disaster!

7/22/14 8:39 A

I would suggest you find a running buddy or a group. I lean towards the group rather than just a single buddy so that I'm less likely to have an excuse of skipping a training run because the buddy isn't available! Have fun with your training and enjoy the opportunities that running long distances allows for seeing more scenery!

FIT_MOMMY_OF2 SparkPoints: (4,196)
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7/18/14 2:12 A

I would love to be able to participate in the Disney Princess half marathon. As soon as I can build up my endurance, I will try to.

WINACHST Posts: 1,910
7/17/14 12:59 P

Very good advice! I would like to add that if you should happen to get blister, then get some mole skin to cover. I find that works better than bandaids.

Also, when I did my first half, I used a Jeff Galloway training plan. I found free plans for the Disney Half Marathons. He uses the run/walk method and when the plan increased the mileage in 2 week intervals, so there was a bit of recovery after each increase of mileage.

Good Luck ~ Finish strong!

MARGARITTM Posts: 6,083
7/17/14 12:58 P

Best advice:

Thank everyone!

/then stick to your training plan as closely as you can.

GOING-STRONG Posts: 7,020
7/16/14 12:18 A

Work your training plan and make sure you have good shoes and running socks. Don't stress and enjoy the experience. It is life changing.

PATTIMET Posts: 657
7/11/14 1:41 P

Hi, saw your post and wanted to say good luck. I am training for my first 1/2 on November 9th. I've been running for a little over 2 years now and have many 5k's down and did my first 10k in February with a second in April.

Everyone has lots of good advice. Stretching is definitely important to avoid injuries. Also finding the right pre-race food. I'm still working on this for my longer runs. I am in S. Fla. and the heat right now is a killer and hydration is key component to running. I have a very good friend that I run with as well - she pushes me and I push her - so if you can find a training partner - it will help on those days where the energy just isn't there.

Good luck.

CREICHEL Posts: 108
7/10/14 3:05 P

I ran my first half last dec and I am currently training for a full.

My advice:
Be sure to stretch. Hip flexors, hamstrings, calves. As the miles add up this will become increasingly important. Maybe look into some yoga for runners. This was crucial for my training.

If you are currently weight training keep it up, but shift from heavy leg days to more moderate leg days.

I think someone else said this already, but keep your diet in check!! I try to get as lean as possible as the miles start adding. For example, I am currently 140 but my race weight goal is around 125. I ran my half at about 130. Of course the numbers are different for everyone.

Pay attention to all the aches and pains, I ignored a tight calf and ended up with a tear. I ignored a foot pain and almost could not run, but my doc gave me some anti inflamatories.

Last of all: Have fun!! This will be an amazing adventure!

7/10/14 11:22 A

My #1 advice is find a running buddy. It really really helps pass the time and keep you accountable. Any local running store does training runs and they have people in them at all fitness levels and every minute mile. Without my running friends pushing me I'd have never logged the miles I have!

CHARITY1973 Posts: 189
7/10/14 6:25 A

Though you don't need new exercise gear I found a new item made some of the tougher long runs more exciting. My Lululemon running skirt got me out the door quite a few days when I really didn't want to run. And definitely get a HR monitor, they are worth every cent. I wear the watch everyday and I'm sure people wonder at my masculine wrist band but it reminds me of my secret life as an athlete. Enjoy your first and the training. One day they will be fond memories of "Remember when I found it so hard to run to this spot! Now I'm not even warmed up yet as I cruise past."

NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (76,244)
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7/9/14 11:05 P

You've gotten some good advice so far, but I wanted to mention nutrition during long runs. Some people (many?) can get through a half-marathon with just water/Gatorade/Nuun, but I need to take a gel around the 8-mile mark if I'm running more than 10 miles. As your runs increase in length, you'll want to experiment with fuel options (gels, chews, etc.) to figure out what you'll need for your race, if anything.

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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7/9/14 5:11 P

Thanks for the info everyone! I've definitely realized some stuff I hadn't thought of before. I feel a lot more prepared for my training in the coming months. You all are wonderful!

MODIQUE Posts: 30
7/9/14 5:06 A

Oh and along with shortening toenails (great advice KNACKERS11) take some medical tape with you on long runs.

If it rains and your feet get a bit wet or you have new shoes, as you mentioned you might need to get soon, you can get some unexpected rubbing, as soon as you feel it tape that spot on your foot up and you'll be able to continue on until finish... and be able to go again the next day.

MODIQUE Posts: 30
7/9/14 5:01 A

I ran a half relatively recently and my advice to you would be audiobooks!

They are slightly safer than have music in your ears if you are running on roads and, perhaps more importantly, really entertain you on longer runs on your own, in the dark.

Once you start being out on the road for over an hour they can be a god send.

Perhaps not all the time - music is good if you're concentrating on performance, but if your main aim is to get over the line - this is my top tip!

Good luck!

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
7/9/14 12:31 A

Typically a Couch to 5K program will take about 8 weeks. And it is generally recommended that you add no more than 10% to your distance per week, which means you double your distance about every 8 weeks, while your cardio-vascular fitness will increase quickly, it takes longer for your leg muscles and tendons to adapt to the impact . So, C25K = 8 weeks, 5K to 10K = 8 weeks, 10K to half marathon = 8 weeks.This rate of progression is perhaps a bit conservative, but it does lower your risk of injury. The 14 week program sounds a bit aggressive - you are smart to allow yourself 6 months to train towards a half.


KARLA1842 Posts: 17
7/8/14 4:23 P

Hi Kentuckymel, I am new here so hope I am replying correctly. I saw your post and wanted to comment I am currently training for my first half-marathon too. My target race is in September. I've been training for 10 months now and had my first 13.1 mile run 3 weeks ago. I think your plan of giving yourself a good 6 months of training is a great idea. I have been basically doing the same only I gave myself one year to condition and try out a few shorter distances first.

I ran my first 10K this weekend and did absolutely fantastic and felt great the whole time. My goal was to finish in an hour or less and I ran it in 51:55! It really boosted my self confidence and helped me gauge my progress.

About the only advice I have to offer is make sure you get a couple of pairs of good shoes (you might want to go to a running store and be fitted) and read up on nutrition. Once I started to get into higher mileage long runs I quickly learned the hard way that I wasn't eating properly.

Good luck!

KNACKERS11 Posts: 122
7/7/14 6:58 P

Sounds silly, but if you're not used to distances, keep those toenails nice and trim to try to minimize blackening or nail loss. I lost a toenail on my first half. A lot of downhill meant I developed a rub.

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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7/7/14 4:22 P

Thanks for the advice KATIENIU! I only have one 5K planned coming up but I'm sure I'll sign up for a few more and even a 10K or two once I get there. I just don't have any more planned at the moment.

I didn't think about the type of sock I would be wearing. That's a great idea. I'll definitely look into some different brands and see what I can find.

My plan most definitely involves rest days. As much as I'm enjoying being more active, there's still a part of me that likes being a couch bum.

Here's the plan I'm doing:

KATIENIU SparkPoints: (5,014)
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7/7/14 3:06 P

It sounds like you've already received some good advice. A couple of things I would add would be to make sure you invest in a good pair (or two) of socks. Wearing a bad pair can cause blisters, especially in the summer. A good pair of socks will cost around $12.00 but will wick away moisture, which causes blisters. You can pick these up at any running store. Be aware that there are probably 20 different brands and they all claim they are better than the other. I would suggest either asking the sales associate or read reviews online. Personally I use Smartwool in the winter and Feetures in the spring/summer.

Based on what you said, it sounds like you have a good training program in place. Hopefully your training plan incorporates rest days. Rest days are very important in half marathon training. These rest days allow your body to recover and repair any muscle damage that might have occured. Believe me, you will not lose any fitness by taking a day off. In fact you will be stronger as a result.

Another thing is to eat properly. Training for a half doesn't give you permission to eat everything in sight. While you will need to eat to fuel your workouts, the fuel you choose still needs to be healthy. Choosing foods loaded with fat, sugar, and that are highly processed will not only lead to poor performance but lead to weight gain. I've known so many runners that have actually gained weight while training for a half or full marathon. It's because they completely underestimated how many calories they were burning and thought they could eat whatever they wanted. I think the idea of you getting a HRM is great. It will let you know how many calories you are buring so you can plan your meals accordingly.

Like the previous poster mentioned, make sure you incorporate some races in your training program. I know you mentioned you've done some 5Ks but the more race experience you get the better off you would be. By doing these practice races you can determine what works for you in terms of clothing, pre race food, etc.

Another piece of advice is nothing new on race day and to see what works for you prior to the race. In other words, make sure your clothing (including undergarments) are comfortable and don't chaf, your shoes are in good shape and broken in, and your prerace meal/snack agrees with you. The only way you will know for sure is to practice it during your long training run. Also, if you do food/Gatorade/gels during the make sure your stomach agrees with it. During a half they will most likely be giving out Gatorade/gels. If you've never tried those during a training run, your race is not the time to start. I've seen so many people have stomach issues because they used gels/Garorade on the race course and never practiced it in training. Also, if you plan on doing gels/Gatorade, never combine the two. Either do gels with water or just Gatorade. I made that mistake in my first full marathon and I paid for it dearly.

One last piece of advice is to enjoy the training and enjoy the race. Don't stress out if you need to miss a run or workout. If you miss a long run, don't try to make up for it. That can lead to injury. Follow the 10% rule. On race day go out there with the intention of having fun. Don't worry about a time. No matter what time you get, it will be a PR.

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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7/7/14 1:57 P

Thanks for the info! I already have amazing running shoes (although they are starting to wear out so I'll be getting new ones soon). I get mine from specialty running stores and I've already been fitted. I have a bad ankle so I always make sure I get the right support for it. I wear Asics and love them.

As for cross training, the half marathon plan I'm doing incorporates both that and ST so it's not just running all the time.

I didn't think about bringing along water for the longer runs. That's definitely good advice.

I've already completed a few 5K's and I have another one coming up next month and I've participated in several as a kid (but as a walker) so I'm decently aware of how races work.

It is nice to know that I don't have to get any expensive gear right off the bat. I am thinking about getting a nice heart rate monitor and exercise watch. Anything else I'll just wait and see.

Thanks for your help!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (198,587)
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7/7/14 1:38 P


The first thing you should do is be fitted for a proper pair of running shoes by a reputable running or sports store. The shoes you're wearing now might be okay for 1-3 miles, but when you get into those longer distances 8, 9, 10+ your feet are going to require proper support. So, do go to a reputable running or sports store to be fitted. A good running store will have you try on a variety of shoes. Then they'll put you on a treadmill to see how you run in them.

The right shoes will feel like you're running on a cloud. The wrong shoes will cause problems for your feet, ankles, knees and hip joints.

Don't worry too much about gear other than your shoes. Over the next few weeks and months, you can buy what you need as you progress through your training. For now, wear comfortable clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Do make sure you're hydrated. On the longer runs, you should bring along some water. You'd be surprised how quickly a person can dehydrate.

Starting out slowly is the way to go and do make sure you're doing plenty of crosstraining exercises. Running is great, but it is hard on a person's body. Thus the need to cross train so that you don't end up with a repetitive injury. That's common in running.

Also, you may want to consider training for that 5K first. Run a few 5Ks to get used to running in a race. It's one thing to run on your own, when you run with a couple thousand other people around you, things change a bit. So, why not sign up for a 5K ? it really would be a good experience prior to running the half. Once you have a couple of 5k races done and dusted, you run a couple of 10ks before that half. The more race experience you have, the better you'll feel about the half.

Good luck !

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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7/7/14 1:25 P

Hey everyone! I am currently beginning my training for my first half marathon. Right now I can only run a mile without stopping but I found a great training schedule online that takes you from couch potato to half marathon runner in about 14 weeks. It's a slightly more advanced version of C25K but the concept is similar. Even though the program is only 3.5 months long, I'm going to allow myself 4-6 months to train to make sure that I'm not hurting myself in the process.

Since I'm still fairly new to running, what is some advice you guys have? Is there any specific gear or clothing I should have? I already know which running shoes I use. My dad is a former marathon runner himself but it's been about 10-15 years since his last one so I didn't know if there was any newer information out there for training. Any and all advice is welcome. :)

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