“Thank God that’s over.”
That is very literally the first thing I said when I recently completed my second half marathon.
Since starting to run somewhat seriously more than two years ago, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I’ll never be fast. I know that about myself. Whenever I’m participating in an organized race, I generally find myself in the middle of the pack. But that’s OK with me, and it should be with anyone who runs to stay in shape because you’re only competing against yourself!
While I didn’t adequately train for this half marathon (trust me, I wish I would have,) I still learned things beforehand and during the race that helped get me through the pain.
Here are a few things I absolutely need during any long race:
During the race, I saw so many people running a 5K or half marathon in shoes that offered little to no support. I literally felt their pain. When I first started running, I ran in regular trainers, not shoes specifically designed for running.
Since I’ve switched to good ASICS shoes, I’ve had less pain and shorter recovery time. To find the perfect shoes for me, I went to my local running store – I LOVE Charm City Run – to be fitted. They watched me run, helped fit me and let me take my shoes on a test run around the city. I strongly recommend getting plugged into your local running store for help!
PROBAR energy chews
Mile 9 had come and gone. My energy was dwindling, my legs were growing weary and my motivation was fading.
That’s when I popped a few PROBAR chews and instantly felt better. The sugar and Yerba Mate gave me the boost I needed to keep going.
These organic chews are absolutely awesome. I trust the ingredients, and from many tests during runs, these chews work. I can’t even imagine how badly I’d be dragging the last four miles without them.
Amphipod water bottle
This one took some getting used to. A while back, I started to take a handheld water bottle on my long runs. At first, I found it annoying to hold, but now it’s not a big deal at all.
I loved having the option to have water whenever I wanted it, not just at a water stop on the course. The Amphipod option shown is awesome because it’s super lightweight and lets you slip your thumb through it the handle for additional comfort.
An end goal
While I should have set a goal earlier in my training to keep me on track, a friend recently gave me great advice when I was feeling discouraged. He mentioned that I should set small goals for myself, even if they seem silly, then work to crush them.
This could include a time to sit on the couch following a run or ordering your favorite takeout after you crush a workout.
During the run, I had some dark times throughout the 13 miles. However, I took my friend’s advice even during the race and set goals when I was feeling down.
I told myself I could eat a PROBAR chew after I reached the next mile marker and that I could drink a beer at the end only if I didn’t give in to stopping.
With those very tangible goals in mind, I was able to finish faster than I expected.
And immediately after I said, “Thank God that’s over,” I was able to collect my medal and walk to the beer tent with a big smile on my face.
What products do you absolutely swear by for long runs or workouts? Let me know on Twitter – @oliviawitherite