What Happened When I Started Training for a Half Marathon

Photo credit: Emma Simpson

Brief half marathon training update: it's well underway!

Race day is just under a month away and I've started noticing a big improvement in my training. Whilst I'm not super fast, long runs are starting to feel easier. A 10km is pretty comfortable for me now, which is insane when I think back to last year when I trained for a 10km for 2 months! 

I got out for my second super long run today (16km in approx 1.39) and it felt amazing to prove to myself I could run that distance and maintain a decent speed. Plus who doesn't love running in the sunshine? 

When I did my first long run, I set myself a target of running no-stop for 90 minutes. Whilst I achieved my goal, there's no denying that it was really mentally challenging. Before I'd even stepped out the door, I'd thought of a million reasons excuses not to go. Deep down I knew that my body could do it, but it was totally a mental game. Once I completed that 90 minute run — the longest run I'd ever done — I felt like I'd turned a corner in my training: I proved to myself I could do it.

With this in mind, I thought I'd share my reflections on a few other things that happened when I started training for my first half marathon.

I have more energy

I can run 10km in my lunch break and not be super tired for the whole afternoon. Before I started training for the half marathon, even a 5km would knock me out for the rest of the day. I'd be resigned to the confines of my sofa and Netflix, but now I'm able to carry on with my day (slight exaggeration, but you get my drift).

I have an insatiable appetite

When I started upping my runs to 3 or 4 per week, I noticed that I got sooo hungry all the time. And although I've been trying to refuel with protein and carbs within an hour after my run to stop the runner's munchies, I seem to get really hungry every couple of hours... even on my non-run days! I don't think I suppose it makes sense that you need to replenish those calories when your burning 500-1000 per session. 

I really, really enjoy running

This one came around week 2-3 of training for me. Don't get me wrong, there are still moments — like when I'm running up the big hill near my flat, cursing under my breath – when running seriously challenges me and I feel like giving up. But those initial feelings of 'sh*t I might actually die if I don't pause' are long gone, and moments where I want to give up are less frequent.

Running became an escape

It's my time away from the world, people, work, things that get on my nerves. It's my me time: time to just put my head phones in and run. I find it quite meditative, the repetitive motion of matching my feet to the rhythmic beat of the song. Equally, it helps me to gain head space and think things through. Whenever something is bothering me, I lace up my trainers, put my headphones in and get out the door for a run. It's my therapy (and it's free!).

I am happier

Not only do I get an amazing post-run rush of endorphins (which FYI makes me feel so freaking awesome), but I also feel happier in general life too. 

Are you training for a half marathon/marathon? What changes have you noticed? Share them with me!

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