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First time half marathon tips

So it is 2006, my kids are 7 and 5.

In 2005 I ran my first 9k event and I thought if I can do that and carry two (not so light) kids back to the car, then I can run a half marathon (21.1km – somehow the .1 seems so important).

I’m a DIY trainer and this is in the pre online ‘how to run a half marathon’ training plan days (shock horror). Cantoo start a running group in my area and I decided to be brave and join them as I labelled myself ‘not a runner’ and I wasn't sure how to go about it.

So on a cold wet Wednesday night I am lapping the oval, with a group of people either chatting or looking a bit worried. For most of us it is our first half marathon and each Wednesday night and Saturday morning we train together. But of course as parenting would have it, #mumlife got in the way with other family commitments on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so I left my group and went back to solo runs. But I had the Cantoo training plan and the desire to keep running towards my first half marathon.

Fast forward to September of that year, and I ran my first of many to come; I have now done more than 40 half marathons. You could say I never looked back from that first one.

So for anyone running (or thinking about running) their first half marathon, here are some tips I've learnt from that first one and the ones to follow:

  • Do your long runs in anyway you can – I did mine around the soccer field as the kids played, to the soccer field to meet them, via the public loos (I can still tell you which ones open before 6 and which ones stayed locked all Saturday). Wherever I was, I ran.

  • The time it takes to do your long run will always be longer than you estimate. Do not make hairdresser appointments or play dates that morning!

  • Insert the word ‘about’ into any commitment on long run days .. "I will be home about....", "I will get lunch about …" that way you give yourself a time buffer based on the very important point above. 👆

  • Speed work is handy but not critical – you can just run and the day will turn out quite nicely.

  • On race day, leave even earlier than you think you need to – and stay after to celebrate. You've earned it and it'll be worth it!

  • Bring loo paper to the start (really!!) you just never know when the nerves will sneak up on you.

  • Take the sweaty jelly beans from your kids hands as you run past them.. they will be the kids crewing for you in years to come (and will have even better food options available then) when you tackle your even longer events.

  • Walking is fine – in fact it is more than fine. The distance is the distance and there is no shame in doing it in any way that works for you.

And the best tip for last – always get your medal!!

Think of all the places that are 21.1 kms from where you live and work – it is a long way, you are amazing and the medal is your keepsake.

And have you seen the RunHaven medal? You better enter here, because you gotta get this medal!!😍

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