For those of you that know me – you know that I like to run. Those of you that know me even better know that this has not always been the case. I’ve always been into working out and trying out new things in terms of fitness, but it was only about two years ago that I started running – and actually enjoying it.
A few months ago, I bit the bullet and signed up for the longest race I’d ever participated in – a half marathon. And this weekend, I ran it. And it was awesome. I had a great time, am not too sore today (a day later) and am thinking of maybe doing one again in the future! What made it so awesome? Here are some of my tips – from a newbie runner.
- Start with small goals. I didn’t start running with the hopes of running a half marathon. Quite the opposite actually. My first race was a fun 5k, followed by a larger 5k (Race for the Cure), then a fun 5 mile race (Turkey Trot) and then a close-to-home 10 miler. This is over the span of just about two years.
- Track your progress. I started out with a Nike + system, but have moved over to just tracking my runs at Dailymile.com. It’s one of my favorite websites and I’m due to write a blog post about it soon! As for tracking my progress during the half marathon, I used a new service called Tweet My Time (from a Columbus, Ohio based startup company) which automatically tweeted my pace and results, live from the race. Pretty cool stuff huh?
- Have fun! You’ll notice that most of the races I mention above are described as “fun.” How is this possible? The first 5k I ran was part of a Pub Series- meaning tons of people just out to enjoy the run and then the free beer afterwords. The Race for the Cure was filled with hundreds of people, live music and entertainment. The Columbus Half Marathon is no different – there were bands at nearly every mile and hundreds of people cheering you on.
- Make a vacation out of it! While running a race close to home is sometimes the most convenient, running a race in a new place means new sights and sounds (read: less boring run) and a mini-vacation. On our trip down, we stopped at Heaven on Earth (aka Grandpa’s Cheese Barn). While in Columbus, I checked out the Nationwide Better Health Expo (where we picked up our packets and where the shirts in this post are from), saw Where the Wild Things Are and had a great pasta dinner with other running friends courtesy of B’s aunt. It made the whole weekend a less stressful event.
If you’re looking to start running, check out the Couch To 5K plan – it will get you from walking to being able to run a 5k in no time… and a half marathon before you know it!