Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
There comes a time in many runner’s lives when they step up to the running cliff, close their eyes, let out of a blood curdling scream and take the half marathon leap of faith. Whether the decision is premeditated, spur of the moment, or if you got tricked into it by your running friends, the realization that you’re about to run a half marathon hits you like a ton of bricks and you just might find yourself in the middle of a full blown panic.
I know it’s scary! Running 13.1 miles sounds insane and impossible but here’s the silver lining—the scariest part of the entire ordeal is over! Half of the battle is just signing up for the half marathon in the first place! (The other half is training but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.) If you’re freaking out about your decision to register for your first half marathon, here are five steps to alleviate your half marathon panic!
Step 1: Get Your Training Plan.
Arguably the most important part of any training cycle is the plan. Whether you use a training plan on a running app like Runkeeper, find one here on Women’s Running, or hire a running coach, the training plan has to make sense to you. At the end of the day, you’re the one lacing up and kicking the pavement!
Step 2: Running Shoes.
There’s no secret to the best pair of running kicks—it’s personal! Step one is to head to your local specialty running store to get fitted. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions! Try different styles and brands in-store and spend some time in them! Finding a good pair of running shoes is a lot like dating. You want to test drive the merchandise before making it Facebook Official.
Step 3: Plan Ahead.
If time isn’t something you have a lot of, planning your runs is a game changer. Anticipate speed bumps because life is going to throw curve balls your way. When you plan ahead, you plan for success.
Step 4: Find A Squad.
There’s nothing wrong with training for a half marathon solo. I trained for both my half marathon and marathon by myself because I was too intimidated to run with anyone else, but I regret that decision ten fold. Joining a running group or finding a friend to train with will make the entire process a lot less daunting because you have a support system! Good days and bad days, you have people to motivate you and push you if you are struggling and vice versa. There’s strength in numbers!
Step 5: Don’t Get Discouraged
Running a half marathon is anything but easy but it’s important to remember that patience is a virtue! There are going to be days when the last thing you want to do is go for a run and there are going to be runs that are so bad, you will doubt whether you will ever be ready for race day. Shake those off. Your only job is to show up and put one foot in front of the other. 6 minute mile or 30 minute mile, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you. Celebrate every tiny victory and remember that with every step, you’re getting stronger!
Feeling nervous is a good thing! Those half marathon nerves only mean that you care and that you’re invested in your goal! Take your training one day at a time and don’t forget to have fun! Dance at stop lights, enjoy the sights on your run, and don’t be afraid to post a sweaty selfie celebrating your accomplishments! Happy training!
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.
More From Run Selfie Repeat
35 Runner Excuses When The Struggle Is Real
Setting Impossible Goals and Qualifying For Boston