13 Things I Learned from Racing 13 (.1) Miles

This weekend was one for the books. I ran my first half marathon ever at the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow. And to be honest, I think I'm still on a runners high from it.

Now, I'm gonna be real with you here for a second. I'm not sitting here thinking "Wow, I never thought I could run that far!" I 100% knew that I could. I'm one of those crazy people who thinks that running for hours is fun. So I'm not about to go on to you about how this was some amazing feat of human strength from an unassuming girl who didn't believe in herself. No, no- this is not one of those posts.

Instead, I thought I'd share just a few fun (and maybe even ~wise~) tidbits about what I learned from racing (and training for) my first half marathon. In the form of a list of 13 of course- because I'm just cute like that.

1.) Proper training is important. Like, really important. I know that if I hadn't spent a few months training in advance, I would've seriously injured myself (more than just the general soreness/fatigue I'm feeling at the moment). Whether this means training 4, 5, or 6 days per week at low or high mileage, you can't just go from 0 to 13.1 and expect to be okay.

2.) Having a training plan makes things a whole lot easier. I was living and dying by my planner this summer. I found a training plan online (which you can read about here), adjusted it to fit my needs, and wrote down my desired mileage for every. single. day. leading up to the race. Without a plan, I probably would've run just a few miles here and there and called it quits.

3.) Having an off day (or week) doesn't mean you're doomed to fail. I was a bit bummed these past few weeks because I felt like I was barely meeting my mileage quota (and sometimes shorted my runs by a few miles because of time constraints). But in the end, it really didn't affect my race because I knew that I had put in the work long term.

4.) You need a lot of time to train. I honestly don't think I would've been able to train for this without having the time during the summer. Almost all of my friends were away for the majority of the summer, so I had tons of time to devote to running after work. If I were to do a half marathon during term time I think I would stress myself out way to much.

5.) #RaceDayGoals don't have to be big and scary. I set myself a very general goal of running under 2 hours, and just having a good time. I did just that and more! Especially if its your first time racing a half, I wouldn't put too much pressure on yourself.

6.) Big group warmups might seem silly, but they're super fun. I came up to the starting line and found that the group warmup consisted of a hyped-up guy on a microphone leading everyone in synchronized dance moves. I cringed at first, but finally gave into the simultaneous squatting. I didn't know anyone around me, so why not?

7.) Crowds can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Crowded races are fun because the atmosphere is contagious and you feel like you're all in this together. But when the crowds are big, the start can be particularly slow. So don't judge your race on your first mile.

8.) Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. Whether it's doing race-math as you pass each mile or counting how many people you can pass in a certain span of time, there are lots of ways to keep mentally sane during the race. More than anything though, you have to stay positive the whole time- or else it's really an uphill battle.

9.) I don't understand people who race with headphones. Okay, this isn't exactly something I learned, per se, but it's valid nonetheless. If you're racing with headphones in and your own music blasting, you might as well be running by yourself. The loud and crazy atmosphere is half of the fun anyway!

10.) Racing is an incredible way to explore a new city. Prior to this race, I had never been to Glasgow. Hard to believe considering I've lived in Scotland for two years now, right? Being able to race through the city (and even the suburbs and parks!) of Glasgow was a great way to experience a new place.

11.) It's important to have someone there to watch you. Especially if you're running alone like I was. I don't know what I would've done without Ben being there to cheer me on. Granted, I only saw him at the start and finish (the middle section of the race was a bit inaccessible), but it was nice to know I had someone there to support me.

12.) There's nothing better than post-race food. I mean, just look at how happy I am to be digging into this ice cream from Paesano? Utter bliss.

13.) I am 100% a long distance runner at heart. I've honestly never been happier during a race. While I normally feel happy once I've completed a race, this time I felt absolutely giddy throughout. Each mile I completed was a mini-accomplishment and I felt like I was flying the entire time. Call me crazy, but I think these longer-distance races are kinda my thing.

So what's next now that I've run my first half marathon? Well, I guess I'll just have to sign up for another! Or maybe even a full marathon is on the cards...

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing! I can barely even run to the end of my road (hahahah)...a half marathon is amazing! Love your idea of being able to see a new place, and I can imagine training is so important - it would be so gutting to know you injured yourself because you hadn't trained enough. Very impressive!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX


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