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How to Succeed at Your First Half Marathon

mindset Jul 01, 2022

If you are looking to complete your first half marathon or looking to improve your last half marathon, here are five steps for you to succeed and achieve your goal.


First, you need to set an intention. You need to understand your “why”. Why do you want to run a half marathon or why do you want to run another half marathon? Why do you want to run a PR? What is your purpose, and what is your why behind actually wanting to sign up for, train for, and run this race? Having a good understanding of your intention is critical for your training and to your success in the race itself.


Second, set an appropriate timeline. Instead of choosing a race solely based on location, be sure to take into consideration the time that you need to train for that race.  This may be more than you think.  Many people try to jump into a race training plan without the proper foundation, which can lead to unnecessary pain and struggle.  By knowing where you are and allowing enough time for you to build a strong foundation and mileage, you will have a greater chance of achieving your goal.


Third, get support. Make sure that your friends and your family are on board with your training. Sometimes people decide they’re going to train for a race, but they don’t tell anybody.  Some may even want to keep it hidden because maybe they’re doubting whether or not they are able to do it in the first place. You don't have to go it alone. Share this with the people around you.  It will make the process much easier and more enjoyable.


Fourth, set a goal that actually matters to you. This ties back into some of the points above with understanding your “why” and knowing the appropriate timeline.  It can also be helpful to set multiple goals for the same race.  If you only set one goal, this can lead to a pass or fail mentality, making the race either good or bad.   With multiple goals, you can appreciate the journey more and take away lessons that can help you to grow and improve as a runner, regardless of the outcome.


Lastly, make and follow a personalized plan that’s right for you. Don’t just download a generic training plan from the internet and just follow it, without taking into consideration where you are or your timeline. A personalized and comprehensive training plan is the most important key to succeeding at your best half marathon. It should include your running days, strength days, rest days, and more specific details based on your unique situation.   You can apply these five principles to your half marathon, to a marathon, to a 10K or to any race distance that you are training.


Now get out there and run your life.


For more on this, check out episode 256 of the Real Life Runners podcast!

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