How to Run a Half-Marathon with Very Little Training

First, let me note that I am not a trainer or a doctor, so please don’t take this article TOO seriously. If you’re really worried about running 13.1 miles, then don’t run it.

With that being said, I did the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh half-marathon! I fractured my vertebrae about a month ago, and with physical therapy three times a week (my doctor even approved of the run!), I can say I definitely did a lot better than I expected I would. In the two weeks prior to my half, I ran about four times, a max of four miles. Prior to my injury, I was training about three times a week, and the max I had run was seven miles. Still WAY under what is expected to run before a half-marathon.

With that being said – here are some pro-tips that helped me run 13.1 miles.

  1. Get the right gear. I’m a total fan girl for Fleet Feet Raleigh, so I obviously had to head there a couple days before my run to gear up. Tank tops are crucial for running that far, and while I had debated a short-sleeve shirt because I didn’t want to show my fat arms in photos, I figured fat arms > heat exhaustion. I must also preach to how much I love Sweaty Bands. Not only do these headbands work, they’re freakin’ cute. Of course I bought another one to match my new tank, along with some Balega socks. I also have to give a huge shout out to FlipBelt. I snagged one of these at the Health Expo before the race, and I’m SO glad I did. No iPhone holder cutting into my arm, and it looks just like your yoga pants. And for only $25, it was cheaper than the iPhone holder I have now. I also must preach that this is NOT the time to buy new running shoes. Stick with the shoes you’ve been running in – you’re going to get blisters regardless.
  2. Ask your friends for help with a running playlist. I created a super long running playlist (about 4 hours) and I solicited friends’ help on Facebook. It’s nice to hear what your friends listen to so that your run isn’t so redundant (not sure how many more times I can listen to “Shoop” by Salt n Pepa), and it’s also some good encouragement to think of your friends when you’re running. Big thanks to my pal Eleanor for suggesting “You Can Do It” by Ice Cube. Here’s the playlist I created for my run:
  3. Try not to stop running during the run. I ran the first six miles without stopping. YES, I ran slow. Really slow. But once I started walking, my muscles would tighten and it was even more painful than to keep running. Slow and steady does it – especially when you’re going up hills – this is when it’s okay to walk a bit. Note from Thea, 10/27/2015: You can stop running whenever you want. If you want to walk, walk. Don’t hurt yourself because you think you have to run the entire distance.
  4. Don’t worry about your time. Focus on finishing, don’t focus on your time. It took me longer to finish than I had wanted, but I still finished! This is worth being proud of more than a time.
  5. Grab water AND Gatorade at every station, even if you don’t think you need it. It was nearly 80 degrees for my half, and it was crucial to stay hydrated. Take water! You’ll need it!
  6. Listen to your body. I have mad respect for the girl I saw who stopped around mile five and headed to the medical tent. Really pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you need to stop, no runner is going to be disappointed in you.

I’m definitely going to do another half-marathon sometime in the future. Of course, when my legs stop being sore. I’m proud I could do it (even with an injury), and I can’t wait to do it again (maybe this time I’ll be faster!)