First Half Marathon Experience [Guest Recap]

This is our first guest post featuring Faye Kingston, who graciously shared her first half marathon experience with us. Her enthusiasm for the sport of running inspires me every day. Enjoy! ~Alexis

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I’ll never forget my first half marathon!

It was in Moncton, NB, Legs for Literacy, in October 2015.

My First Half Marathon Experience Faye

Prior to beginning my training, I had taken part in 2 weight loss challenges in my gym, the second one finishing in March. I PR’d my 10k in May and my 5k in June, and I was definitely in the best shape of my life. Both prior to and during my training, I regularly attended HIIT/lifting/Crossfit-style classes.

5k PR at Rock n Run Miramichi in June 2015… finally broke 30 mins!

I had never run more than 10k before I started training, but I was ready for the challenge!

For my first half marathon, I followed a Running Room training plan, but substituted most of the runs during the week with my gym workouts (so I did lots of cross training). My long runs were on Sunday morning, and I gradually built to 20k before tapering. 

It was during these long runs that I discovered the importance of electrolytes and fueling. I bonked hard the first time I did 16k… I’ll never forget the feeling! Thankfully I learned from that experience!!

Related: 3 Powerful Fueling Strategies for Your Next Half Marathon

I ended up signing up for Tough Mudder which was about a month before my race. This race was substituted it for one of my long runs. I was sore after, but felt more prepared for the half because of it. I felt like if I could run 11 miles plus do the obstacles that I’d be good to go.

Tough Mudder In Portland in September 2015, a month before my first half marathon 

The week before the race I continued my workouts and lifting heavy right until 3 days before. I didn’t respect the importance of the taper! My legs were definitely not as fresh as they should have been…but I didn’t realize this until after the race. 

Related: Taper Crazy? Here’s How to Fix It

I went into my race with that familiar nervous but excited feeling.

My cousin, a far more experienced runner, was going to run with me… I couldn’t wait!

That morning the weather wasn’t ideal. It was quite breezy and a bit rainy. I was used to doing run/walk (still am), but got caught up in the excitement and decided I would see how far I could go without having to walk. That was my first mistake! I went out too fast and couldn’t sustain my effort. I ended up having to walk for extended periods, although I never stopped moving. 

Related: First Half Marathon Tips for a Fantastic Race Day

I was so worried about hitting a wall, so I probably took my gels too frequently…and ended up feeling super queasy. That was my second mistake. 

In the end, I pushed through, and crossed the finish line hand in hand with my cousin, in 2:30.

Crossing the finish line at Legs for Literacy in with my cousin Jennifer who inspired me to start running in the first place. My first half marathon finish!!

My goal was to finish, so I felt pretty awesome! Several friends were waiting at the finish line and that only added to my finisher’s high!!

Hugging one of my best friends (and phenomenal runner) Nicole after crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. I think my expression says it all!

I know now I needed to run more during the week and not just rely on my long runs. I applied this to my marathon training this winter, and I was amazed at how much easier running became! That said, a balance of cross training and running a few days a week provides the perfect balance, in my opinion. Less risk of injury and more prepared!

I hung my half marathon finisher medal with my Tough Mudder headband in my vehicle so I could see them all the time and have a constant reminder of my accomplishments

Overall, I wish I had realized the importance of sticking to what worked in training

As in run/walk, sticking to a pace I could sustain, and fueling properly. And–just going with the flow. I put pressure in myself to get a certain time, even though ultimately just finishing was the most important goal. I did get my goal time, just not exactly in the way I envisioned. I also went right back to the gym the day after… trust me when I tell you this is not smart!! Your body needs to recover after such a huge, stressful activity. 

I will say though, despite what I did “wrong”, I still had an amazing experience!!! And then I did it again 2 more times. Plus ran my first full this year.

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Running is an amazing thing. Whether you think you can or cannot do it, you’re right!



You can connect with Faye on Instagram.

If you would like to submit your first half marathon race recap for a guest feature, please contact Alexis at [email protected] for writing prompts and instructions on how to submit.