Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to run a marathon in 2020? Congrats! After the excitement for signing up for your first race wears off, you may be wondering, “What do I do now?”
I ran my first half marathon about 10 years ago and remember feeling the same thing. And I also wondered, how do I even get started? Here are 5 tips to training for your first full or half marathon:
Step 1: Find a training schedule.
If you’re already able to run 2-3 miles, then you’re in luck — there’s plenty of time to train for a spring race. I’m a big fan of Hal Higdon’s half and full marathon training plans because they give you time to build up your mileage (their beginner half marathon plan is 12 weeks long), come in different levels and are somewhat flexible, which is key for any parent. For example, if you have a long run scheduled for a Saturday but find yourself tied up at 3-year-old birthday parties all day, you can switch things up and move it to another day in the week.
Step 2: Get fitted for the right pair of shoes.
Found a cute pair of running shoes online and decided to train with them? Not so fast. Do you know if you overpronate? Need neutral shoes? What about orthotics? A professional will watch you run/walk, and help you get the right pair of shoes for your body. Call your local running store – they often provide this service for free. I speak from experience on this step; one year I didn’t do this, and I ended up finding out a week before my marathon that I had multiple stress fractures and was unable to run the race I had trained so hard for.
Step 3: Find time to run.
As a working mom of two young kids, I can confess that this is not easy and was much easier when I was younger. When I’m training, I try to get in 2-3 runs during the week and 1 longer run during the weekend because I know this is what works for my body. Sometimes this means waking up before 5 a.m. to run on the treadmill with the baby monitor. Sometimes this means running during nap time on the weekend. Sometimes it’s running with the stroller. Other times, this means running during my lunch at work. It’s never easy, but when I’m in training, I know I need to find time to commit to getting my runs in.
Step 4: Find running buddies to keep you motivated.
Training for a race is not easy — but it can be easier with a support system. If you’re not lucky enough to have real-life running friends or family members, find an online group to ask questions and talk to about your training. In Cleveland, I’m a fan of Moms Run This Town and The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Training Group (on Facebook).
Step 5: Cut yourself some slack.
You may not be able to complete every run. Not every run is going to be easy. Not every workout is going to feel good. You may find yourself wondering at times if you’ll even make it to race day. Remember: go easy on yourself. Training for a race isn’t easy. Training for a race as a parent is even harder. I believe that when I’m running, I’m setting a good example for my kids, and that sometimes is enough to motivate me to continue.
Are you training for anything in 2020? I’d love to hear about it!
And, if you’re interested in running any of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon events on May 16-17, 2020 (there’s a marathon, half, 5k, 10k, challenge series and kids run), feel free to use my discount code for 10% off: RUNCLEMELISSA10.