It’s no secret that the half marathon is having a moment. In 2016, nearly 2 million Americans ran 13.1 miles! And the popularity makes sense—training to run 13.1 miles is one hell of an accomplishment! But there’s one thing we can all agree on: training to run your first 13.1 can feel pretty damn scary too! I think we can all agree with these 12 terrifying moments of the process to make it to the start line:
Don’t worry if you hovered over the “sign up” button for an hour. We all do it. Committing is easily the scariest part.
Related: That Feeling Of Great Accomplishment After Your First Half Marathon
2. Believing in yourself
All signed up? GREAT! Next comes the tidal wave of doubt! Brace yourself for a triage of I can’t run 13.1 miles! and Who am I kidding! I can barely make it to my mailbox! UNDO! UNDO! UNDO! Remember, there’s a reason you have a training plan. Focus on today. Just do what you can today.
3. Not knowing what the hell you’re doing
“It’s just one foot in front of the other,” my a$$! Who knew running was so complicated? From pre-run coffee questions to figuring out what the hell a gel or foam roller is, it can feel overwhelming in the beginning. Just focus on your training plan and limit the amount of Googling you do. You’ll be drinking the running Kool-Aid soon enough. Patience is a virtue.
You know you’re a runner when you start to map your runs around where you can get to a bathroom.
Some people run without distractions and make it look easy! The rest of us need distractions because—I’ll say it—running can be really boring! From playlists and podcasts to running with a #BadassLadyGang, find ways to keep it interesting. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you need distractions. Do what works for you.
Finding a good anti-chafing cream is like winning the lottery. We’ve tried it all, from applying Body Glide to using diaper cream and putting KT Tape on our chests. You name it, we’ve tried it. When you find something that works, SING IT LOUD AND SING IT PROUD because we’re all on the lookout for the best anti-chafing solutions.
7. Finding time to train
Training for a half marathon is like having a part-time job. That you paid for.
8. Being sore
Think of walking like the Tin Man as a kind of runner’s swagger.
9. Doubt and fear
Doubting yourself every step of the way? Dwelling on every worst case scenario? Sounds about right! Throw your expectations out the window. All you can do is your personal best. Stop thinking about all the different ways you’ll crash and burn. The sweeper van isn’t something you need to worry about! Know that whatever happens come race day, just having the courage to go for it is a win.
As if training to run 13.1 miles wasn’t hard enough, now you have to deal with the added pressure from your friends, family and colleagues. It may feel like a lot to handle, but remember: by showing up for yourself every single day during training, you’ve already succeeded. Race day is just a victory lap.
11. The countdown
Some people literally put a countdown in view so they’ll see the days counting down from the moment they sign up to race day. Others start counting down a few weeks out. Don’t let your countdown freak you out! Focus on today.
12. Figuring out what to wear on race day
Easily one of the most stressful and exciting parts about your first race is figuring out what you’re going to wear! Before my first marathon, I spent the entire day trying to find an outfit that made me feel like I belonged. Sounds crazy, but I was really insecure that I didn’t look like a runner.
The rule of thumb is: don’t wear anything new on race day. (And after wearing a brand new sports bra during the Berlin Marathon and chafing like I’d never chafed before, I can attest that this is a good rule.) Try to give your race day outfit a few test runs. As long as you feel comfortable and confident in it, that’s all that matters.
Training for your first half marathon can be overwhelming and intimidating! But the hardest part about running a half marathon is training for a half marathon. Just remember, the only way you’ll fail is if you fail to try. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.
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