This past weekend I completed my first half marathon (13.1 miles) in Willamette Valley, OR. Today, I’m sharing my running journey from one beginner to another, part 2! And answering some of your questions at the bottom of this post.
HOW I STARTED MY RUNNING JOURNEY
To save myself from sounding like a broken record, I encourage you to read more about how I started my running journey in this post. I go into detail about why, when, how, and where this little hobby of mine came about. I also share the beginning stages of running and how I went from no running experience to running a 5k without stopping. You’ll also read about my 10k (6.2 miles) journey and the race I never got to run. Now let’s get into my half marathon journey!
WHY A HALF MARATHON
After running a 5k (3.1 miles), and doubling to a 10k (6.2), I figured I could double THAT and push myself to run 13.1 miles. I can’t explain it, but once I accomplished one goal — like running a 5k — I just wanted more. Is that what they call a runners high?
Another factor for signing up for a half marathon was my best friend wanting to do a full marathon (26.2 miles). So, with a little encouragement from one another, we found a low elevation, flat-coursed race and signed up together! Although we never trained together (she lives in TX), and we didn’t run the same distance during the race itself, it was still motivating to have someone to talk to who understands the pain and joy from running and training for a race.
MY TRAINING SCHEDULE
When I wrote this post, I shared I was training for a half marathon, but hadn’t signed up for one yet. Once I signed up for the race that was on May 23rd, I knew I needed a training schedule that was on the shorter side. I really enjoyed Jeff Galloway’s 10k training, but didn’t have enough weeks to complete his half marathon training. So, I literally Googled half marathon training schedules, and decided to go with this 12-week one* from Runner’s World.
When looking for a training schedule, I needed one that also fit my personal schedule. The one I chose only required 2-3 weekday runs and 1 long run on the weekends. As I mentioned on my IG stories earlier this week, long distance running takes time. So if you plan on picking it up, be sure to create enough time in your days — especially your weekend — for those longer runs. Tip: There’s nothing better than those early summer mornings before work for a short to mid distance run. The air is cool, it’s light outside, and you also get your run out of the way by doing it in the morning.
*Keep in mind that this schedule isn’t for someone who’s new to running, since right off the bat, you’re running 4+ miles at one time.
WHAT I EAT
The last time I chatted about running, I shared I just tried to eat as healthy as possible. This time around, however, I’m a bit more strict on what I fuel my body with. In early March, I signed up with a personal trainer here in town that I workout with once a week. They also create my meal plans for me every week; counting my macros for me. With that said, my pre-run meals typically include plain oats and berries, or an English muffin with jam, both paired with a half scoop of protein powder.
Another huge factor for preparing my body to run long distance is being properly hydrated. By drinking 1 gallon of water every day, I notice more energy not only throughout my days, but throughout my longest of runs as well.
It’s important to note that I didn’t sign up with a trainer to become a better runner, in fact, we don’t even do any running drills/exercises. But, with a combination of weight training, running, and eating properly, I’ve noticed a significant difference in my energy and cardiovascular strength because of it.
WHAT I WEAR
I’ve literally ran through every season at this point, so I know what layers — or lack thereof — I need for what temperatures. But considering we’re into the warmer temps now, I’ll share my favorite running gear for when the heat rises.
Lululemon 3″ Find Your Pace Short (worn in photos above and below) | mid rise, very lightweight, drawstring, pocket in back of waistband, reflective outer edge, lined, doesn’t ride up
Lululemon 5″ Track That Short | great coverage, zipper pocket on side, drawstring, mid rise, lined
Bombas Socks | fun color options, protective tab on front and back to prevent blisters
Lululemon Hat | machine washable, adjustable, reflective rim, very lightweight
Running Belt | easily fits my iPhone 11 Pro Max, adjustable, stretchy, machine washable
Saucony Triumph 17 Running Shoes | I was fit for these shoes specifically by a local running company, but have loved them from the beginning.
Tops and Sports Bras | I don’t have tried-and-true tops or sports bras to highly recommend. I wear anything from Lululemon to Amazon finds. It’s mainly the bottom half that I’m most picky about!
WHAT I LISTEN TO
In my last running post I talked about ditching the music for podcasts. However, I’ve recently ditched podcasts for music and here’s why. While podcasts tend to be more interesting than listening to the same songs over and over again, I noticed I needed something to pump me up. So I curated an entire running specific playlist with various tempo’s so I can run to the beat. And even though I listen to the same playlist on every run, I was more so focusing on the beat of the music than the lyrics. Plus, the more songs you add to your playlist, the less repeats you’ll hear!
It sounds silly, but I made it a game for myself to keep up with the beat with every new song that plays. I also have this weird tick where I have to start the first beat of each song with my right foot, or else I feel “off.” Am I crazy?! I also made it a point to only listen to my running playlist when running — even if I really wanted to listen to a certain song, I wouldn’t let myself. Keep your running playlists entirely separate from your other workout and everyday music so you don’t get burnt out from hearing the same songs.
My Running 2021 Playlist | quite the variety of songs (like, seriously a variety) and most of which are NOT CLEAN SONGS! You’ve been warned, lol!
I share more playlist options and my favorite podcasts in this post.
WHAT I’M DOING NOW
It’s been 3 days since my race and my personal trainer and I had decided beforehand to pull back on the running/cardio and stick to weights for a bit. I’d love to gain some significant muscle which is nearly impossibly when running long distance, so I’m hanging up my running shoes for the time being. Part of me already misses tying up my laces, but my hips, calves, and ankles are thanking me for taking some time off! I truly don’t know if I could run a full marathon, but a year ago I never thought I’d run a half marathon… so, never say never 😉
Would you run a half marathon again, or a different length race?
I will definitely still run 5k’s and 10k’s, and could probably talk myself into running another half. This past weekend was my first in-person race and it is quite liberating, I must say! Even at half capacity due to COVID. I think I’d love to experience an in-person, full capacity race some day. Perhaps try for a Disney race again?!
How did you find your motivation?
To be honest, some days I didn’t have it at all, so it all came down to discipline. I knew I had this race coming up, and knew even one missed run could affect my progress! Some days are bright, sunny, and enjoyable, while others I’m literally dragging my feet out the door. It’s annoying to hear, but you just have to get it done! You’ll always feel better afterwards.
What’s your favorite weather to run in?
As I said before, I’ve ran in every season at this point. While 60-65, overcast, 3-6mph wind is ideal, even the coldest of runs aren’t that bad as long as there’s no wind. But, I do prefer being able to throw on a tank and shorts and head out the door!
What kind of shoes do you run in?
I briefly touched on this above, but I run in Saucony Triumph 17’s. Within the first few weeks of my running journey, I was running in some random Adidas sneakers and came to realize that needed to change ASAP. Every foot, every ankle, every stride is different so I highly encourage you go get properly fit for the best running shoe for you and your needs. If local, I went to Shu’s Idaho Running Company. I’ve been extremely happy with my shoes since day 1!
What race did you run in, and how did you choose it?
Ah-ha! Good question. I ran in the Willamette Valley Marathon located in Salem, OR. My best friend, pictured below, actually found it first and we both decided it would be a good fit. It’s a quick 1 hour flight from home, the elevation is really low, the course is flat, and the weather is extremely mild. Plus, they do a wine tasting/party at the finish.
A big THANK YOU to all of you for supporting this little journey of mine, and sending your love and congratulations. It feels so good to have accomplished this goal of mine, and I’m already looking forward to future fitness goals! As always, if you have any other questions about running, please leave a comment below. Much love —