For the backstory:
I've always wanted to run a half marathon the biggest reason was just to stay that I've done it. I am a type three so I am an "achiever" and I strive to do things that I know a lot of people couldn't do. This is makes me feel good and accomplished; along with having a very busy schedule, and never saying NO to people. These traits are some of the things that make me ME, but also come with drawbacks at times. Anyways in this article I want to talk a little bit about my experience and just be real as well as share some of the things I learned along the way.
Anyways about two months ago I signed up for a half marathon in Omaha Nebraska that me and my friend Holli decided we were going to drive down for a weekend girls getaway and also run in this race. I don't enjoy running just to be clear but I did always have this on my bucket list to do so it didn't take much convincing for me to sign up. As well Holli isn't a huge runner either but it is just something she wanted to do also.
So after I signed up everything just felt more official and I'm not one to practice something especially if I didn't like it so I just figured I would run it the day of and I would be able to just push through because that's is just how I do things. I was almost positive because last summer I ran off and on and one day randomly did 11-12 miles and was completely dead the next day but I did it. However, Holli convinced me that we have to train together because there is no way she could do that and wanted you to be on the same page to run it together. So we started running together off and on and after I would run I would feel so good but As I was running I would tell myself "I'm never doing this again" "Ally, this is just one and done", I maybe wouldn't tell yourself these things if you can help it but honestly that's what I was thinking off and just looking for distractions. The whole "training thing" was hard!!!! Some days I wanted to cry and just felt super terrible about my body; but some days I felt healthy and was proud that I was doing something I didn't enjoy and was pushing through. It was just a mix up of emotions and honestly still is; I don't think that I will ever just say that running is my favorite but some days I would say it's more enjoyable than other days.
Anyways, I'd been training off and on now for maybe a month or two now. I had worked my self up to seven miles once but on average I was typically running 3-5. My consistency was all over the place; in Kansas I would run with my friend Holli and then we had spring break in Chicago and the corona virus appeared and I took a few weeks off. Then I started finally running again at home with my boyfriend Brandon.
However, two days ago I decided to go for a run at 1 in the afternoon on a 80 degree day... why I don't really know. I then made this decision when I was almost at mile two and already having cramps that today was going to be the day I JUST did it. I couldn't wait any longer and figured now would be better than holding off to April 26th when the race was supposed to be... but really it got postponed to late August now so I was definitely not waiting that long.
Anyways that's the back story and my running history
My Running Experience
So as I was running to be honest I'd never ran that far and did have to take multiple walking breaks. It was really tough on my legs and knees especially. My heart felt fine though because I made sure it was in the optimal 80% rate so I could hold it there exercising for hours. When I would take walking breaks I felt like I was almost limping because some areas were in such pain. Anyways as I am running on this trail I don't quite now how far it goes because I hadn't completed it in a while so I'm not quite sure as if I am going to run the 13.1 miles straight or go half way and then turn around. Really not a planner as you can see!!!
Well I found that it didn't go the full 13.1 miles because as I got to the end of the tail I was so surprised I was in the city of Roseville and I'd started from my house in Rocklin. At this point I was in aw and was really proud of myself, I was just blown away that I'd ran that far and was somewhere completely new. So I left the trail head I was following and told myself I was only going to go straight in one direction to get the last little bit I needed until the half way mark. As I started running down the street then it started bending and going uphill so I just decided to turn around. I knew on the way back I had some hills to climb. As well on the way there I'd say it was a slightly downhill so on the way back it would be all slightly uphill.
So I made my way home. It felt nice knowing that I was half way there and that I was rerunning by all the same things. It made its feel like the end part of the run was better and going by quicker however my legs just kept hurting more and more and I had to take multiple walking breaks and felt like I was going to cry a few times because as I slowed down they almost just hurt more. I finally get back to the start on the trail head and figure by the time I run up the last hill I'll be at the 13.1 mark. However, I was wrong. I was at 12.86 when I reached home. I put my watch on pause because since I was home I new I wasn't going any further quite yet. I had to pee my pants at this point, my phone had died (thankfully my watch was still going) and was so dehydrated. I paused my watch and fixed all of those problems... then finally went to the court at the end of my neighborhood and un-paused the watch and ran for less than three minutes to finish my 13.1 miles and then walked home!!!
That's the story of the run.. here now are 13 tips I learned to do and not to do.
Start in the morning
I would pick a colder morning to start your run; this is what I'd originally planned to do but things don't always work out that way.
use a training guide
I would train and actually stick to it if you can. The day after my legs were dead and I'm sure they would be anyway; but maybe they would be less dead if I followed my training guide.
charge your phone
Make sure you phone is charged. It's not fun when your music goes out and then your just holding an unnecessary item.
know the distance your running
know your exact distance; it was a real bummer when I got back to my house and I was less than half mile short and was so dead.
Pace yourself, I would say I did this fine. My heart was completely fine and not stressed however my body didn't feel that way.
Consider a knee brace
I've never ran with a knee brace but I might recommend that you do. My knees feel so shot, on the front side and back. My legs naturally are hyper extended and I feel like I can't even fully straighten them (the day after).
Be kind and listen to your body
Be kind to your body; give it the rests it needs and talk to yourself nicely. I know when I'd look down at times I'd feel like my thighs were giggling but I would always remind myself that my legs are strong and to be thankful for them because look at what they can do. I always say to my boyfriend " you gotta use them; while you got them" and then make us walk from the back of the parking lot into the store.
Stretch stretch stretch.... this was a mistake. I didn't stretch before or after and I really should have; I think I'm paying for it today!
Make sure you properly refuel your body after you run and definitely get in your water and chocolate milk. I think I did this step well
get out of your sweaty clothes
Shower and get out of your yucky workout clothes ASAP. Trust me you will want to, I felt so disgusting.
Don't be a couch potato after
Don't lay down and do nothing the rest of the day, I (kinda) did this because my legs were in so much pain but try and just keep walking around. You will feel it the next day but I heard it would be worse if you just sit down and do nothing because lactic acid will build up.
ice and elevate
I also read that you should ice your legs and Elevate them all they won't swell as much!! (I'm trying to do this today// the day after)
Research prior to running
Lastly I'd recommend reading about the after affect of running a half marathon and what to do. I didn't think to do this until the day after and if I would of had some of these tips prior maybe my legs wouldn't hurt as bad the day after ( however I won't be concerned unless they are still terrible after 4 days which is what I read)!!! Anyways never hurts to research.