So you’ve run a 5k or maybe even a 10k and now you’re ready to make the leap to half-marathon status. Keep reading to learn the 10 mistakes to avoid as a first-time marathon runner.
Not Preparing Emotionally
Training for a half marathon is certainly physically challenging...but it can also be emotionally taxing because your mental focus will be put to the test. That said, we’re confident you’ll succeed using these tricks:
- Set small milestones. For example, instead of focusing on 13.1 miles, breaking this distance up into 3 chunks e.g. two 4 mile runs and one 5.1 mile run should help you to feel less overwhelmed.
- Never forget your why. Write it down on paper, share it with others and repeat it to yourself often. Think about how good you'll feel once you accomplish this goal.
- Don't beat yourself up. While we certainly recommend putting together a solid game plan to prepare for your first half marathon and making every effort to stick to it, remember that missing one workout won’t crush your dreams of success.
Related: 10 Boredom Busting Tips for Runners
Running a Half Marathon as Your First-Ever Race
We highly recommend signing up for a few shorter races to get geared up for the real deal. This not only offers a great way to gradually increase your distance and pace … but it also allows you to get comfortable with the racing environment.
Worrying About Time Goals
This is your first of (hopefully!) many half marathons. That said, you should focus your energy on finishing strong, rather than finishing first. As you become a more experienced half marathoner, you can begin to step up the pace and shave down your race time.
Not Taking Adequate Rest Days During Prep
Incorporating rest into your training routine is key if you want to boost your performance and avoid injury. It is also advisable to incorporate some type of physical activity during your rest days. Swimming, cycling and yoga are great options. Check out this Runner’s World article for more tips on cross-training exercises.
Going it alone
If you need some extra motivation to keep you going, marathon training groups offer the perfect solution. Do some research to find groups that are geared towards your training level, goals and physical location. Active.com has some great tips on choosing the right marathon training group.
Not Researching the Race Ahead of Time
There are so many different races out there to choose from. Some promise exciting terrains, while others are geared towards a particular charity or cause. Once you've chosen a race that fits your personality, we recommend visiting the location before race day. It would also be beneficial to practice on the course a few times, if that is allowed. You’ll also want to become familiar with water stops and bathroom facilities ahead of time.
Forgetting About Race Day Nutrition
It’s so important to fuel your body with the right mix of nutrients at the right time. Runner’s World recommends the following: 2-4 hours before your race begins, “aim for .5 to one gram [of carbs] for every pound of body weight (about 75 to 150 grams for a 150-pound runner)—but only eat the higher range if you have four full hours to digest.”
Wearing New Shoes (or clothes) on Game Day
While you certainly don’t want to wear worn shoes on race day, it’s a bad idea to wear brand new shoes that haven’t been “broken in”. Ideally, you should wear shoes that have 50 to 60 miles left in them. The same idea applies to the outfit you plan to run in for the actual half marathon. The takeaway here is that race day is not the time to be experimenting with anything shiny and new. Stick to the same items that have seen you through in the past several weeks of training.
Leaving Your Race Day Survival Kit at Home
There’s a lot to consider in terms of what you’ll actually need on the day of your first half marathon. While you can typically purchase many of these last-minute at the actual event, not being prepared may leave you feeling anxious. Use this guide to create a check-list of your half marathon day essentials.
Failing to Create a Recovery Plan
You’ve pushed your body to the physical (and maybe even emotional) limit to conquer 13.1 miles and now you’ve made it! Congratulations!
But before you start planning for your next half marathon, it’s important to create a recovery strategy ahead of time. This plan should be one that boosts circulation, reduces soreness and promotes overall wellness so you can get your body back to optimal performance sooner rather than later.
One of our best recovery tips for half marathoners is to wear compression socks. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, compression is excellent for muscle recovery after a race.
Compression socks improve the circulation of blood within the legs based on their design. They provide graduated compression, which means that they are tightest around the feet and lower legs since these are usually the most affected areas when it comes to swelling. While most compression socks on the market are dull and drab, our unique design and innovative knitting techniques ensure that you can be comfortable and trendy. We have many different styles to fit your personality. Why not be a superhero in our Captain America socks, feel groovy with our Tie Dye Collection or show us where you call home with something from the State Collection?
Bonus: Forgetting to enjoy yourself
Running a half marathon is a big deal! With all that goes in to the preparation and execution, it can be easy to forget to have fun and live in the moment. But at the end of the day, keeping this tip in mind can help you go the distance during your first half marathon.
Be sure to join the Crazy Compression community on Facebook or Instagram for more tips and tricks.