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Monday, 18 April 2016

Fab HalfMary Tips

6 weeks til raceday!!! 
This year's Calgary Marathon will be my 45th half marathon! 
And, I know a few folks who are running their first. And they are freaking out 
Rightly so. A half is not easy peasy! 

I once read that 'some runners would describe a half marathon as: not really easy, but not that hard.' UMMMM  that description is so vague bull! I hate that.

Yes. I think a half is hard work. But, since I have done this distance more than a few times, I must like it! I really do. I have learned from every race - even if it wasn't my fastest, or prettiest effort.

I like the half because it is challenging. I'm not a sprinter..and feel more comfortable in a longer event. Plus, I sort of feel I get my money's worth out of a few hours out there! Running my 45th half is just a big a challenge as the first! I have doubts and worries and anxieties and niggling fears. But experience tells me that I got this.

Whatever your motivation, here are my FAB halfmary tips to help alleviate your fears and (I hope)  help you feel prepared for your first time out there.

1. Stick to the PLAN!
I have been trying to as best as I can follow a 12 week plan. At 6 weeks out, you should be halfway through that plan. If you haven't ... or life got in the way, or you missed a few runs or are starting to feel like OMG I just feel so behind...and you might be slightly freaking out. The first thing to do is BREATHE. Just relax...get the rest of those runs in. Rain or Shine. Get er Done! And make sure you have a rest day, too! I have been using a modified version of the Calgary Marathon plan found here. Setting up a realistic training plan and sticking to it will help keep you focused!  

2. Get MENTAL!
You might also have just finished a long run and think I will NEVER be able to finish a half marathon. You need to mentally prepare! Yes, this is a gruelling process. But so much of the challenge is upstairs in your noggin! Sure, soak those sore feet. Stretch those muscles. Get a massage. But  - this is important - practice positive thinking. Take can't and just outta your vocabulary. Celebrating all your accomplishments to date  (yes, getting out there to train is a victory) helps reduce negativity which is great mental training!

3. MIX it up!

Don’t get stuck in a running rut. Mix up your runs. Do not run the same route over and over on repeat. Don't run everything on the treadmill. GET OUTSIDE! Switch up the surfaces and the routes you run on. Grass or trails are great for recovery runs since the impact is less on your body, and the uneven surface helps strengthen feet and legs. I think varying where you run is also good for the mind!

4. TEST that gear!

Do you run with a water bottle or belt? Start doing it NOW if you plan to on race day. Your shoes and socks are important. So are your shorts, or tights. Your bra. EVERYTHING!!! Test drive run it NOW! You do not want to feel uncomfortable on race day. Your training runs will determine your race outfits - your shirt, shoes, socks, bra, undies...arm get the picture. Oh and BODY GLIDE. Get some now. You can thank me for that later. Yes. Chafe and blisters can happen. Make sure they do not occur by lubing up your bod! 

5.  FUEL up!
This one is sorta related to gear and training but it is sooo very important to experiment with and then know your fueling and hydration strategies prior to race day. The last thing you want is to have an upset stomach after you take off from the starting line. Know which sports drink and gels will be on
the race course Practice using those products if you don’t plan on carrying supplies with you then you can know how to help fuel better. I go with a gel or energybits every 45 mins - but you gotta try it out for yourself!

6.  BUDDY Plan!
Run with a friend - or a group. If you can make run dates do it! Unless you are a lone wolf and love running alone. If that is you...well ignore this point! HA! But training  (be it long runs or certain says when you know you need a butt kicking) with a pal helps keep you motivated and is a great social support.

7. Run for a REASON!
Ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” Whatever your reason, Use THAT to help you focus. Running is personal. DO IT FOR YOU and no one else. Each of us have our own reasons for lacing up  -- from trying something new to dropping a few pounds (training for a half never did that for me FYI) to running in memory of a loved one, raising money for a cause or setting a personal best. The list is endless. Whatever your reason --- remind yourself of it and do NOT lose sight of what crossing that finish line means to you. THAT is some great motivation! 

aaaaand let's not forget these RACE DAY TIPS 

8. Do your BUSINESS!

Seriously. Get up EARLY on race day. Drink some water. Eat, go to the potty. Get dressed. Do this all in whatever order you like to do. THEN when you get to the race (get there early) go use the portapotties. Trust me. Go pee. Or whatever. Even if you just sit in that small enclosed space and gather your thoughts...and get zen. (Don't take too long the lineups for the loo are LONG! haha) Getting your stuff together will help keep you calm! 

9. PACE yourself !

OK. Its race day. And there is hundred of peeps all around you. The nerves start to get to you. When that gun goes off do not blow outta the gate fast like flash (unless you are at the very front and well running with the elites). You will feel like you are going slow, but you have 13 more miles to go, so don't blow your wad in the first few. Save some of the nervous energy and stay strong and steady!

10. FINISH with a smile!! 
Ummmm. There are cameras. Smile. Enjoy your moment and your most FAB accomplishment! 

Now get out there and have FUN! 
You got SIX WEEKS - make em count! 
ooooh AND one more thing....
What kind of superGEEK would I be if I forgot to mention that this years Calgary Marathon theme is all about all things SUPERhero! Bust our your alter ego, cape and special powers on May 29th. There is a superhero theme medal and PRIZES for those who dress up!
I won't tell you my outfit just yet...
but it will be SUPER in theme! 
*As a ForeRunner I was given a race entry for 2016, however all opinions, thoughts and feelings are entirely my own.

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