• About Allison

    I am a 26-year-old married Michigan gal living in Sarasota, Florida. This blog is a chronicle of my journey toward a healthier lifestyle! I started running in January 2009 and began to change my eating habits in May 2009. Now, I am dedicated to training smart and eating right. Join me as I seek to balance running and eating healthy, local foods with my crazy work life and hilarious home life.

    Contact me: allisonisactive@gmail.com

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A Real Person’s Guide to Finishing a Half Marathon

I like to think that with this blog, I represent for the “real” girls in the blog world.  The curvy girls like me; the size 10 girls like me.  The 12-minute milers, the interval runners, and the racewalkers.  The people who aren’t perfect, but who try to eat healthy with a bit of ice cream now and then.

With that goal in mind, I’d like to share my tips for real people who want to finish a half marathon.  I’m not a seasoned runner; I’m just a girl who likes to get outside and move and has to fit it into her busy schedule.

So, here are Allison’s Tips for Real People Who Want to Finish a Half Marathon:

  1. Find a training group.  I wouldn’t have been able to do half marathon training on my own!  On top of offering me expert advice and coaching, Fleet Feet Sarasota also provided me with a really fun group of people with whom to spend my Saturday mornings.  I can’t imagine running more than about an hour by myself – it’s more fun to chat with my friends!  So, if you’re thinking about a half marathon, I highly suggest you find a training group through a local running store or running organization.  Or, team up with some friends!
  2. Put in the time and the miles.  Sometimes it might not be fun – you’re tired, you don’t have time.  I definitely didn’t do as many weekday short runs as I had planned, but I only missed two long runs in my six months of training.  Even though it meant a lot of early Saturdays and often in questionable weather, I was very proud that I’d done the training.  If you plan to try a half marathon, find a great training plan that works for you and stick with it!
  3. Set a goal and sign up for a race early in your training.  Pick an even that sounds fun to you (for example, a Disney event, or a half marathon in a place you’ve always wanted to travel) and actually pay for your entry.  If you’re like me, once you’ve set a goal and shelled out for the entry fee, you’ll get it done!  Also, tell everyone you know about your plans – they’ll keep you accountable!
  4. Invest in appropriate gear.  If you’re a casual jogger who is just getting into longer running events, you might need to get professional fittings for gear like running shoes and a running bra (if you’re a girl, obviously.)  Get some comfortable, moisture wicking clothes that make you feel happy, too.  (I highly suggest running skirts, of course.)  Whenever I have a cute new piece of running gear, I’m more likely to get out and run, and when you’re training for a race, any piece of motivation counts!  😉
  5. Visualize.  Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, not motivated to run, bored with your training, or discouraged, close your eyes for a bit and think about crossing the finish line.  When I was training for my first 5k and for this half marathon, I often visualized myself crossing the Disney finish line, seeing my husband, and having the medal hung around my neck.  I would motivate myself by thinking how good I’d feel after finishing the race.  I think that visualizing is a powerful strategy to get through half marathon training.

I’m not a professional by any means, but those are my best ideas.  The bottom line is that if you think you can do it, you can.  Set your goal, find some friends, and stay positive.  13.1 miles might seem like a lot at first, but take it from me: it can be done!

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4 Responses

  1. Love the advice! I am in the market for a running skirt. I’ve never tried them, but I have a feeling I would love it. Do you have any favorites? Which style do you recommend?

  2. I would also love to hear about your favorite running skirts. I’m a curvy girl as well and the only one I’ve tried had shorts that were just too short and ended riding up after about 3 seconds of running. I think they look great and I love the concept of wearing spandex shorts to prevent chaffing but also having the skirt to hide the butt thats wearing spandex (haha), but just haven’t been able to find the right one.

  3. Great tips! I decided I need to find a group to run with because I ran my race so much faster than I train- I guess I just need someone there pushing me along 🙂

  4. I definitely agree about finding a running group! I love running by myself, too, but with the longer distances it really, really helps to have some moral support. I’m sure none of the three of us would have done it by ourselves!

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