December 4, 2021

Random Thoughts on Training to Run a Half Marathon!!

Less than 2 weeks till my first Half Marathon and probably my last (unless Disney calls me and offers me a full paid trip to come run their half and then there will be another – CALL ME DISNEY!!!  )…  Training for this half marathon has taught me a lot about myself and my body…  First thing I am learning…  my body likes being fat.  Seriously, who can average 20+ miles of running a week plus strength training and aerobics and not loose a single pound…   ME!!!   My husband keeps telling me it is muscle…  but he loves me too much to tell me the truth.  I am finally realizing that long distant  running is not for weight loss (well at least for me) because I am starving when my runs are over 4 miles.  I keep my calories in check but I eat them all when I run and thus, I maintain because I am so hungry all the time when I train.  God blessed me with many good things, but the fat genes he blessed me with are not good!  🙂

I am not a newbie to races… you can see my progression here…

Did not start running until I was 35…  after that…

First 10 Miler

Great Race 6 miles

Broken Leg ( a year and a half ago)

Sprint Triathlon

Now onto training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  My first Half Marathon!!!  If I can do this anyone can… seriously – anyone!!!

My very fast son who can run a 5K in 19 minutes on an 8 mile run with his momma...  He has to double back often but he is a great cheerleader
My very fast 11 year old son who can run a 5K in 19 minutes.  Here we are after an 8 mile run … He has to double back often (my 8 is probably 13 for him) !  Running with children – Bribe them with ice-cream and $10 dollars to not complain during your long runs.  They can bike along side you or you can push them in a stroller…  do whatever it takes to get it done!!!

I have been kind-of following this Hal Higdeon Plan here…  when I say kinda, I mean I have sometimes ran more miles than he asks a novice to run.  For instance, this weekend  I should have run 8 and then next weekend 10.  But last weekend I ran 10 and this weekend I ran 13 for my long run.  I wanted to show myself that I could actually run 13.  I am slooooowwwww….  but I never stop until the end!  Right now, that is my goal.  Start and do not stop till the finish…

running montour train

As you can see from above, I did 13 in about 2 hours 34 minutes.  I really wanted to be under 2 hours 15 minutes when I first started training… but it looks like it won’t be that way come race day!  If you happen to be a local reading this post and want to run your own 13 miler…  Start at 19 in McMurray on the Montour Trail.   Run, run, run the trail toward Bethel Park.  You will pass over McMurray Road and Valley Brook.  Then you will cross Brush Run Road and eventually hit Bethel Park.  You will run passed Al’s Café and run till the trail stops at Logan Road.  This is about 6.4 miles.  Then turn around…  stop telling yourself this feels long in a car let alone running in shoes.  Stop asking yourself if you should press pause on your Run Keeeper App and stop for a Beer and Chips at Al’s…  Just don’t stop running and head back to 19.   It’s a little up hill till you cross the first bridge and then the rest of the trip is smooth sailing downhill except for one last hill before you cross Brush Run.  Keep on trekking…  Singing songs like the Humpty Dance and Vanilla Ice help move me along to mile 12.  Yes, at mile 12 I still have to talk myself out of calling it quits and just walking…  Eventually you will get the 13 in.

As I said, this was my longest run…  boy did my body know it.  When I stopped and started walking, I suddenly felt very sick and guess what, I literally lost my cookies while stretching next to my car.  FINALLY – my secret to weight loss…  run till you puke!!!  All these years and I finally have the secret!   In all seriousness, here is an article that tells why some people get sick when they run long distance.   Hopefully my next 13 miler (which will be race day in 2 weeks) will not yield the same outcome.  It will be quite embarrassing if it happens to me after the race.

So my tips for training:  My Top 10!

1.) If you have a smartphone…  Download Run Keeper to track your runs.  It is awesome and FREE!!  I love how it talks to you when you run and tells you your average pace so you can increase speed or lower speed.  I am shooting for a pace of at least 11:55 on race day or better…  You can view the map of the run you made as well as calories burned and lots more!!!  I love it.

running tips2.) Long runs are hard more for my mind than my body!  Make sure you switch up your playlists.  I google songs for runners to get some new songs each week to add to my list.  For my really long runs I will often listen to a book or podcast.  This will help make time fly!

3.) I run my long runs on the same trail each week and celebrate the beauty I see…  I often take a moment to thank God for such pretty sights. I look forward to seeing certain beautiful things on my runs!

Montour Trail Peters Pa

Montour trail peters

4.) I do not do well with Gels or chalky chewy things.  I find that the Gatorade Chews work best for me.  Try some things out on your long runs so you know what works for you by race day!

5.) Wear the same outfit for all your long runs.  You need to figure out what will work for race day.  I want the pants that don’t ride up and the shirt that covers my love handles to be my race day gear.  Make sure you run a long distance in everything you plan to wear on race day!

6.) If you aren’t a tiny runner… like myself!  Feel free to hate the skinny girls who run past you.  Feel free to think things like, if you had 50 more pounds on you like I do, you would be sitting on that bench over there and not running past me!!!  Sure they may be faster, but you have more to carry and would probably be much faster than them if God suddenly shed 50 pounds off your body!!  Note to God – feel free anytime to do that to me!

7.) After mile 10 some people tend to become possessed by another personality.  Be sure to push off the urge to stick out your arm and push a biker off his bike when he rides past you a little too close.  Yes, I started thinking about how angry I was that people were on bikes riding passed me when I still had 3 miles to run and yes I did have to push away the urge not to push them off their bike…  This post is brutally honest if you could not tell!  Bikers need to be aware of ME after mile 1o! 😉

8.) I love my runners belt…

This is the one I have.  It is great…  Holds my cell, my ipod, and more!  I love it!!!  I hate running with the arm bands.  SO this is for me and maybe you too!

9.)  Believe you can!

10.) Reward yourself when you are done!

Good Luck to all you first time half marathon runners!  You got this!