This Saturday I’ll attempt to run my first ½ marathon. With about 14,000 other runners. Holy moly!
The Monster Dash is apparently one of the largest ½ marathon events in the upper Midwest. And it’s also supposed to be a total blast. I’ve yet to comprehend how running for over 2 hours can create a crazy party-type atmosphere, but I guess I’ll find out in a few days.
There is a costume contest, and live bands every mile or so on the course…which is pretty much awesome. I haven’t decided if I’ll dress up. I think this time around, it might be more important to be comfortable than costumed.
Frankly, I couldn’t fathom the thought of running 4+ days per week and ignoring all other forms of training. When I trained for my first Triathlon last spring, I did just that – nothing but swimming, biking, and running for 3 months. I really missed weightlifting and found it tough to get back into it after the Tri. So, needless to say, I wanted to get the ½ marathon under my belt, but decided that a traditional run-heavy training plan was just not my cup ‘o tea.
Full disclosure: I will say that I certainly do think those 10-20 week training plans are smart, and a great way to increase your mileage slowly and avoid injury. So, in doing it “my way”, I took precautions and didn’t register for the event until a couple of weeks ago (once I had successfully completed an 11-mile “long run” and felt confident that I could take on the distance).
I do one “long run” each week. About 2 months ago, these “long runs” consisted of about 6-8 miles. I then gradually increased this mileage by about 1 mile per week, until my final long run of 12 miles last Monday. In between, I only run once or twice again each week…always under 5 miles. Not your traditional ½ marathon training, but I have been able to improve my endurance, so apparently my way works too J
A few items I won’t leave home without…
Pedialyte – WAY better (in my opinion) at hydrating than sports drinks. This stuff has been my savior on many of my long runs. 1 packet mixed with 8 oz water beforehand to pump myself full of electrolytes.
Ibuprofen – I’m generally against pills of any kind…but I’m not gonna lie. I will be taking 3 or 4 prior to the event to reduce swelling and pain in my knees and ankles. Do what works for you.
Well-fitting sports bra – I made the mistake of wearing a loose-fitting sports bra on one of my long runs. Never again. Owie.
Gu – I’ll bring along one Chocolate-flavored Gu packet, just in case. I may not end up using it, but would like to have it as an extra source of energy in case I hit a wall halfway through.
Music – this race actually allows headphones/iPods, etc. Not that it will be necessary, with live bands every 10 minutes….but I’ll bring it just in case I require a Ke$ha fix to keep my feet moving.
CardioTrainer – Along with my music, my phone has an app called CardioTrainer that I use religiously when running. I literally will not run without it. Every couple of minutes, it tells me my speed and distance. This is OH SO IMPORTANT for me in a race, so I can pace myself and resist the tendency to start out too fast and bonk before reaching the finish line.
Ready or not…
I may not be the fastest (BAH!) but I feel as though I’m ready to run on Saturday. I’m going to be smart and listen to my body, take a couple of walk breaks if I need to, and try my best to have FUN while I’m doing it.
How do you mentally prepare for your first attempt at a particular distance or event?