Jennifer S. is a passionate runner and 2020 #IndyMini Ambassador. She shared some of her best tips for successfully training for the big 13.1, check them out below!
You have signed up for your first half marathon and it’s the #IndyMini! Now what to do next to prepare and where to start can be overwhelming both physically and emotionally. I hope you find this article helpful and remember that you are not alone, for every half marathoner was once a first timer.
#1 – Building Mileage
- How to get to the 13.1… While there are many ways to build mileage, the most important key is to remember that it’s a gradual process. You should build upon with your runs or you risk injury or worse. The hardest part can be focusing on building your stamina before pace or you can run out of gas before you are finished. When first starting, if you are running at a pace where you can hold a conversation, then you are doing it right. For those that wear a heart monitor, your target zone should be between 65-75% of your maximum pulse rate.
- Have a training plan… The 500 Festival has one and so do all of the local running stores in Indy, along with local run clubs such as Indy Runners and Athletic Annex. This will help and guide your runs from getting to 3 miles all the way to 13.1. Pick a course that you are familiar with. When I first started, I used a course that was similar to my route to local parks and areas I frequented near my home. I eventually ran with a friend and in bad weather would run on the treadmill at my gym.
- Scheduling…. No one knows your daily schedule and life demands better than you, so it is possible that you may need to adjust it to fit your life. For example, I save my long runs for Sundays or Mondays because I run my races on Saturdays. It is when I am most energized, but also have the most time before my kids sports and work week ramp up. If I do a long run one day, I will rest the next day or cross train.
- Rest… I will admit for myself this is the hardest part of training. I want to go, go, go and this led me to develop double anterior stress fractures in the past. This fracture is a runner’s worst nightmare, with one of the highest re-injury rates around. The biggest mistake usually occurs when you feel good, you’re are up on miles and you keep going longer and harder. Rest days also help strengthen your body, sharpen your focus, and reinvigorate your spirit so that you actually want to keep training. It also allows for muscle repair and recovery, so that as you rip and tear muscles they have time to rebuild.
#2 – Cross- Training
- Strength Training… Even runners lift weights. Your structural fitness and health are just as important as your cardiovascular. One of the most common reasons runners become injured is that they focus solely on cardiovascular. Workouts that focus, for example, on building strong glutes and core are vital to runner faster and longer and so lower body workouts are essential. Our fitness partner, Planet Fitness, is ready and willing to assist you with this as well as the Indy Mini Ambassadors Blog on Facebook.
- Other forms of exercise… Using the bike, elliptical and even walking can also be great forms of exercise without putting stress and strain on your body on off days. Remember these days should be easy days.
#3 Emotional Health
- Remember that your emotional health is just as important as your physical. Give yourself the grace to know that not every run or workout will be great, some will be amazing and some will be defeating or even frustrating and that is ok. Connect with the social media groups or even run friends to support you. Remember to enjoy the journey because after you finish and that beautiful medal is around your neck, you will officially be a half marathoner and all of the hard work will be so worth it. Life is all about cherishing moments.