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Lessons from My First Half Marathon

Share Your Story: Your Half Marathon Story

By midlandrunner

Updated February 24, 2010

Lessons from My First Half Marathon

Worth the Work

Half Marathon Name and Date

D-FY-It Half Marathon, October, 2007

Number of half marathons completed


Would you run another half marathon?

Yes, this weekend.

How I Trained for My Half Marathon

When I started running, I decided to run as far as I could before stopping to walk. After what seemed to be a marathon in itself, I made it just over 1/2 mile. Then, I walked until my heart rate and breathing were back to a non-emergency level (2nd 1/2 mile). Then, I ran again-very slowly-another 1/2 mile and finished the course walking. With discipline and perseverance, however, after several weeks, I was able to complete the 2 mile jog without stopping and started adding 1/4-1/2 mile each week until my first 5K. After 2 5Ks, I attempted a 10K and then took the plunge and started my first Higdon 1/2 marathon program.

How I Ran My Half Marathon

Feeling good, I took off with the lead pack, passing by drink stations and waving at everyone who was slower at the 1 mile turn. Although the race was going fairly well, I started to burn out about mile 8. By this time, the mental fight escalated to keep from stopping and walking in. At 12 miles, I hit the wall. I couldn't run another step and walked for 1-2 blocks. Thankfully, by this time, I started to see the crowd cheering people to the finish and found my second wind. I made it across the finish line 4 seconds faster than my goal time - with literally nothing left to spare. Although I felt great about the experience, I also learned some very valuable lessons:

Lessons Learned

  • First, don't pass the drink stations, thinking it's too early in the race. By the time that you "need them," you will be glad you took the 5 seconds to replenish early.
  • Second, first-time 1/2 marathoners have no place in the lead pack. Be honest with yourself and start in the corral with others who run the same pace as you. This will help you to start slowly and speed up in the run, rather than to start fast and die at the end.
  • Third, you won't believe the difference it makes in training once you've paid the registration. Download a training program, pay the registration & start running. You'll be glad you did!!

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