Photograph of runners' feet at the start line

I Was Never a Runner

Several years ago, I got the idea to run a half marathon with my friend. I don’t consider myself to be a runner, and at that time maybe the most I had ever run was 3 miles, so I really don’t know why I agreed to do it. Nevertheless, I had made the commitment, I had paid the entry free, and now I was determined to run the half marathon. Not being a “runner,” and not being particularly athletic, I didn’t know where to start. I did find a training program online that I followed to an extent. I trained as best as I could over the summer, adding a little bit more mileage each week, having some good runs and having some bad runs, and sooner than later I found myself at the starting line with the adrenaline pumping through my veins. My only goal for this half marathon was to finish it and not be last. (Spoiler alert: I did finish and I was not last!)

I have gone on to run four more half marathons over the years (!) and will be once again participating in the Eau Claire half marathon this May, so I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve learned along the way:

  1. As much as I hate to agree with “them,” you can’t properly train for any athletic event if you’re not eating properly. My best half marathon to date involved a structured training program that also included a structured nutrition program.
  2. Pay extra money for proper shoes. I get it….a decent pair of running shoes is expensive, starting around $120 and going up from there. However, if you run with the wrong shoes you run the risk (see what I did there?!) of developing hip, knee, back and foot pain that will not only turn you off from running but make regular daily activities difficult.
  3. Find a training method that works well for you. What may work for me or your friend might not work for you and if you don’t like your training program you’re going to lack the motivation to keep up with it. On that note, don’t be afraid to switch it up either! If your current program isn’t working for you, find a new one or create your own so that you enjoy it.
  4. Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not as fast as you want to be or getting the distance in. Your body is adjusting to this new activity and it will take time. I have stopped and started again so many times so I know how frustrating it can be but I also know when you allow yourself some grace and trust the process the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is amazing!

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