I firmly believe that anyone can run a half marathon. Whoa whoa WHOA, calm down. I didn't say RIGHT NOW or this coming Saturday at 8 a.m. sharp. I just mean, you know, at some point.
I was the same way, once. If you were to tell me six years ago that I would have run six half marathons by my mid-twenties, I would have laughed in your face. Heck, six years ago I tipped the scales at more than 200 pounds and hadn't run more than a mile since those dreaded sweaty days of gym class back in high school.
Today, I love running. Fact: I look forward to it. And after finishing half marathon numero seis last weekend here in New York City, I feel like I have enough experience to try and help a few sistas out.
Whether you've never run a mile in your life or recently completed your first 5K, take a look at these 5 half marathon running tips for beginners:
1. Start slow: In a perfect world we'd all be able to slip into cute sneaks and run eight miles without missing a beat. Sorry love, that's not gonna happen. The summer I started running, I jogged the same half-mile route every damn day. At the time I thought it was a whole mile, but the more important thing is that I got out there and STARTED something.
Starting slow will enable you to build up some sort of stamina. Soon your half-mile will turn into a mile, and your mile will turn into multiples.
2. Find the right sneakers: If you're going to start running more often, then I'd highly suggest making an investment in a solid pair of kicks. Just like every runner is different, every stride is different too. If your foot isn't hitting the ground evenly when you run, you could be risking SERIOUS injury. Personally I overpronate, meaning my foot naturally rolls outward.
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The good news? There are sneakers for every type of runner (figure out your foot type with this easy to read guide here). AND there are LOADS of stores that will analyze your stride, have you run on a treadmill, and then make great sneaker suggestions for you. How totally fun, right?
3. Find the right crew: They say losing weight is easier with a buddy, and running is totally the same way. Starting out, it was SUPER helpful for me to find people who were also into running. Whether or not we actually went running together, it was a huge benefit for me to have people to trade routes with and get inspiration from.
4. Fuel up: Once you get past the initial shorter distances of your training, you'll need to make sure you bring some fuel for your run to replenish your body's stores. Yes, yes, that means plenty of water. It ALSO means nutrition. I'm a Jelly Belly Sports Beans gal myself, but there are loads of other tasty options like GU energy gel, Clif Shot Bloks, and PowerBar Gel Blasts that help boost performance and help prevent you from running out of energy.
5. Crank up the music: To each her own on this one. Personally, there's nothing I love more than an excellent running playlist with the right amount of beats per minute to coincide with my pace. Tunes keep me pumped up, and help me continue on when all I wanna do is stop.
A few of my fave tracks right now: "Crash Your Party" by Karmin, "Unusual" by Trey Songz, "Hot Tonight" by New Edition, "Boyfriend" by the Biebs, and "Countdown" by People's Most Beautiful Woman, Beyonce.
Have you ever run a half marathon? Do you have any tips or tricks of your own?
Image via Emily Abbate