The First Timer’s Guide to the Indy Mini- Ambassador Guest Blog

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is great for first-time half marathoners. There’s a reason why people return to the #IndyMini year after year: it’s flat, fast and FUN! Sometimes you need a little more than that to convince you to do your first #IndyMini. 2019 Ambassador Kirstin Maguire has some tips just for first timers!

1) SIGN UP: People tend to delay signing up because they want to see how their training progresses or what’s going on in their life.  Don’t delay! Commit yourself to the goal and get signed up as soon as you can. You’ll begin to feel like you’re part of something larger than just you and progression toward your goal will inspire you and others.  


2) TRAINING DOES NOT HAVE TO RUIN YOUR LIFE (but there will be some sacrifices): There are many flavors of training plans, some plans keep the running steady, some  plans increase miles, then decrease miles. There are interesting terms like speed work, intervals, run/walk and fartlek (excuse me?).  Find one that works with your life! My favorite training plan is for people who work Monday through Friday, my long runs (walks in my case) are on the weekends.   This means I almost always hit my training plan. Whatever training plan you are using, it has a pattern to that will require you to make adjustments to fit your schedule. For example, if your plan schedules 8 miles on a day you’re going to be in a car on a road trip, dividing the miles up to add 2 miles to the other days is not the same intention.  The 8 miles was your long push for the week, so it’ll be better to move the whole 8 miles to another day. Flexibility and planning ahead will help you stay on track of your plan! 


3)TRAIN HARD; RECOVER HARDER: That’s my motto.  If you are feeling tired and in pain from your last run when it’s time for your next run, you’re less likely to hit your training plan.   Self-care such as enough sleep, eating right and cross training appropriately will all help. Foam rolling can help you with sore muscles since they can work through tricky areas like IT bands.  Start with a smooth solid roller if you are a first timer. Dropping the truth here, I cry when I roll, especially my IT bands. I roll immediately after a run before doing anything else, stop, drop, roll!  It helps with the soreness and aches and pains. My running squad also recommends Epsom salt baths as another remedy against sore muscles.


4) INVEST IN TRAINING: Running can be a cheap sport or an expensive sport, depending on the individual’s needs and wants.  If weather is hampering your training, you may need a treadmill at home or to join the local gym.  Shoes are very important, especially when you’re starting to run longer distances. Make sure to pick your race day shows at least 6 weeks before, you don’t want to breaking in your new shoes at IMS!  I’ve mentioned that foam roller above, the gym may have them or you can find them fairly cheap in discount stores.


5) MOTIVATION: There’s a meme on social media that says “How do you know someone is training for a half marathon?   Don’t worry they will post it constantly on Facebook!” This is very true. Posting on social media helps with accountability and being part of groups on social media where others are posting means you will be more motivated to get out there and get great tips.  You don’t need to post if you don’t feel comfortable, but online groups can be very helpful. Find a group you like on Facebook like the Indy Mini First Timers or follow people on Instagram for inspiration. Find what works best for you; if you don’t like the group or they don’t embrace your values, then that’s just not a fit for you.  And that’s OK! As a walker, I want to be around others that are supportive and welcoming. Hanging a giant wall calendar helps with your visual tracking or moving beads from jar to jar to count miles are other ideas to help motivate you.  One of my big motivators is to create a rewards plan for myself. Say when I hit 100 training miles I’m getting new socks! Write it up in advance.


6) BUILD YOUR MENTAL GAME: If your mind can believe it, your body can achieve it.  Visual yourself on race day: bib pinned on, training completed, corralled up, waiting on the wave of the green flag, entering into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, revering the Golden Mile, kissing the bricks, heading back downtown for that amazing finish line, looking up and seeing that clock, smiling in satisfaction as to how your plan worked out while a volunteer says congratulations and hands you your medal.  You have to remind yourself that you can do this and that your training proved you can do this. Run through your mental game during your training, when you want to quit, like on that first mile (why oh why is it always so hard?), remind yourself of your goal and all the hard things you’ve done in life and succeeded. Remind yourself that this person is not a quitter!


Still need to register? Sign up now at!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *