My 7 Tips To Running A Half Marathon | Health, Love & Fire

My 7 Tips To Running A Half Marathon

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Since I've now completed 5 half marathons and have 2 more scheduled between now and September, I figured I'm a professional it was about time for me to share some of the things that help me stumble run across that finish line! 

ONE: Training!
I was chatting with Dan the other night about writing this post to help me come up with the must do things in order to finish, and the first thing out of his mouth was "well you should probably train"! Thanks honey. And he's right. You should. Don't follow in my footsteps and decide the day before to run it, when you haven't run more than 2 and a half miles in the last few months. But, I did it and I'm alive, so it's doable. I actually realized last night that I have run more half marathons without training at all then ones that I trained for. Probably not the best idea in the world, but I did it. My next one is in the end of June, so I plan on keeping up the running and being a little more prepared for that one.

TWO: Know how long you have
This goes along with training. If you are worried about not being able to run all 13.1 miles, you can always stop and walk. There's no one there besides yourself that is going to make you run every single mile. If you think you might walk some of it, make sure you know how long you have to finish. Normal half marathon time limits range from 3-4 hours. When I did the one this past weekend, I knew I had a 4 hour time limit and knew I could walk/run it in under that. Knowing your time limit takes some of the pressure off and lets you just enjoy the experience (as much as you really can around mile 10 where you're tired but know you still have 3.1 miles left) and finish in whatever time it takes you. Don't put too much pressure on yourself! The only person you have to impress is you!

THREE: Have a good playlist
For me, entertainment is key. And until I save up enough money and get online at the exact right moment to sign up for that Disney Tinkerbell or Princess Half Marathon, I need something to keep my mind off of the million steps it's going to take me to finish. My personal favorites are the Nsync or 90's pop pandora stations. Something about some Nysnc, Mandy Moore, Britney Spears and S Club 7 that just keeps my mood feeling happy and the people around me fairly entertained with my lip syncing.

FOUR: Have a cheering squad!
Knowing that I was going to meet up with Dan at mile 3 and mile 10 and have a running partner for part of the way was so helpful! I also knew that my parents were going to be around mile 6, and I wanted to be running when I passed them, which really motivated me when I definitely felt like walking! Seeing your loved ones cheering you on and hearing that they are proud of you is the best motivation ever! (Plus then you have people to take pictures of you along the way!)

FIVE: Find someone you want to beat!
I know this sounds a little mean, but for someone as competitive as me, this definitely helps me finish and finish faster! During every run, it seems to take a couple miles to really find your pace and end up surrounded by a group of runners who are running about the same speed as you. It's then that I try to pick someone out who I want to try to finish before. I was walking for a minute on a steady incline between mile 5 and 6 during my run this past weekend when I heard this familiar beeping noise. All the sudden to my right passed this woman with a pacing timer who I had run with at my last half marathon in September! I could't believe it, and had to snap a picture to share with my dad who shares the same annoyance with than pacing beeper! She was the person I had picked out to beat at my last race, so it just seemed fitting to do it again!

SIX: Look cute
I don't know about you, but I always run better when I feel better, and I feel better when I match and look cute! Whether it's buying a new running shirt at the expo when you pick up your race packet, or finding a fun new running tank on etsy, I always pick out something that makes me feel good. Plus, we all know we want to look good in those pictures they snap all along the race! It doesn't matter that I'll be covered in sweat (or rain if you're running in Portland like last weekend).
Gotta support my Oregon Ducks! 

SEVEN: Lay out all your stuff the night before
I don't ever like to get up any earlier than I have to, especially on a weekend. I make sure to lay out all my clothes, have my race bib pinned to whatever top I'm going to run in, and make sure that I have an extra bag packed with clothes to change in to after the race ready the night before. Having everything ready to go helps me fall asleep and not wake up worrying that I'm going to forget something. Plus it gives me some extra sleep time before I have to run 13 miles!

Hopefully some of these tips will help you if you go insane decided to run a half marathon. These are just some of the things that really help me. It truly is a fun experience and one that feels so rewarding at the end! Clearly something has made me complete 5 of them and be signed up for 2 more! It's all about the bling! 


  1. Love this... I always do that in a race, find someone I try to keep up with & pass... its always funny when I stick with someone for awhile & I pass them at the finish line. Love when I see them in my race pictures :)

  2. I have to say the playlist and the cheering squad are super important!! These are great!

  3. Thanks for sharing these tips! I'd love to be able to work up to a half marathon! Right now my goal is to get good enough to run my 5k under 30 minutes...then maybe I'll work up to a 10k...then a half!