If you would’ve told me a year ago that I would be able to run 13.1 miles, I would’ve told you that you’re absolutely crazy.
The longest distance I had run as of September 2017 was 6.2 miles, and that nearly killed me (kidding, almost).
I was trying to make running a habit because it was good for me, but I had a hard time staying consistent. On top of that, my knees REALLY started to hurt every time I ran farther than 3 or 4 miles.
At the beginning of 2018, I set a goal. A crazy New Year’s Resolution, according to some. I wanted to run my first half marathon this year.
And on September 15, 2018, I did.
I Started Building My Miles Early
In addition to my goal to run a half marathon, I added another goal: run an average of 10 miles per week. I was running anywhere between 3-15 miles per week, but I would have to be more consistent if I was going to run 13.1.
In January, I worked on consistently getting 10 miles per week. I actually signed up for a challenge to complete 2,018 miles in 2018, which I figured would keep me motivated to build up my weekly mileage.
Then I gradually pushed it up to 15 miles per week. I went to Air Force Officer Training School from April to June, so I didn’t have the time to get long runs in or the miles I had been building up.
After I graduated in June, I had a 12-week half marathon training plan ready to go. It was expanded to 14 weeks so it would end right on race day.
I Chose a Plan and Stuck With It
I chose a race, set the date, REGISTERED, and got to work.
I’m a huge fan of Hal Higdon’s programs and I’ve read several of his books. They are easy to understand, and I typically shift the plan by a day because I like to take my rest days on Sundays. I put it in an Excel Spreadsheet (because I’m a huge spreadsheet nerd!), and then I add an “actual” row below each “planned” row so I can track my total mileage and what I did versus what I was supposed to do.
I actually cleaned up that spreadsheet and decided to share it with you!
Sometimes I’m great at following the plan, and sometimes it’s just not realistic depending on what my schedule looks like.
Registering for the race is a key point. Once I’ve dropped $80 on a registration, I’m not about to back out. It forced me to commit to my training program. I knew that one way or another, I would have to trek 13.1 miles on September 15th. It also served as a motivation to listen to my body—I didn’t want to miss the starting line because of an injury.
So slow and steady, I plodded out those miles according to plan. I might not be very fast, but I knew I could steadily cover the distance.
Focus on Positivity
I have a confession to make…I’m a super competitive person.
I have a hard time not trying to go crazy and shoot for some awesome time right off the bat. The reality is, I am a slow, SLOW runner and I know I need only compete with myself.
But still, I’m competitive with myself.
There were so many runs that I started to get frustrated because I felt slow. Especially the runs after I had done back to back the 2 days before.
Each time I got frustrated, I re-directed to the positive:
This is part of the process. My body will be tired because I am challenging it and asking it to do something it’s never done before.
I’m getting stronger every day, even if I don’t always feel like it.
I might be slow, but I can run a heckuva lot farther than a month ago!
After the first one was under my belt, I set new goals from there.
I thought I was a little bit crazy to set a goal to run a half marathon. By growing consistency, sticking with a plan, and focusing on positivity, I got to the starting line ready to run!
To read more on how race day went, click here.
Do you have any crazy resolutions?
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About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>