winging a half-marathon

Ok. So maybe you shouldn’t do what the title of this post says, but hey, it can happen. Actually, now that I think about it, one of my friends last year ran a half with me because I asked him to. I mean, when you run marathons, it can’t be that big of a deal right?

Wrong. Try someone who decided to go on a two-month hiatus from running. It may not seem like a long time, but I’m sure there’s some dog-year equivalent to that. Even a week off from running puts me back, so what would I expect with that time frame?

My brother told me during his winter break that he wanted to train for his first half. It was nice – I somehow inspired him (or “if my sister can do it, then I definitely can”) and told him I would most definitely run it with him. I picked a weekend and location that would work [Celebrate Life Half Marathon, Rock Hill, NY]. But then I didn’t really train… I spun (span / did spinning / whatever) intensely for the past few weeks and sprinkled some yoga and elliptical in between. Luckily, my brother got swamped with school work and life so didn’t get to train as hard as he had planned. I also feel like there’s a point where you think, hey, why don’t I just try it out and see how much harder I have to work next time? I’m guessing he reached that point, which was to my favor.

If you decide to just wing a half-marathon, here are some tips (which are really just dumb things I should have done):

  1. Look up the course map. It really would have been nice to know I would be facing rolling hills the entire time.celebratelifeelevation
  2. Eat / drink as you would before a marathon. So… I didn’t eat breakfast in the morning. Oops?
  3. Run at least 10-15 miles a week AT LEAST for a few weeks before. If you’re an experienced runner just tagging along, you don’t need to really train for it, but you should probably have your running base back into play
  4. Stretch after your run. There’s some debate on how much stretching you should do after a run, but you should definitely at least do some light, easy stretches right after while your muscles are warm. Waiting until you drive an hour and half back home probably isn’t the best time…

Welp, lesson learned — not doing that again. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the run was about my brother, not me, and he did a fabulous job! It’s nice to help coach someone during a run. I could tell when he was getting tired so I would tell him to take control of his breathing and helped him through some breathing exercises. I also tried to help with his posture along the way so he didn’t fatigue any unnecessary muscles. I have to say, he’s a natural runner. He handled the water stations really well and never stopped to walk. What a champ! :)


My happy dad in the background — the original running champ? :)

What are some of your worst running mistakes? Have you ever tagged along a race for a friend / family member?


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