[00:01] So, you’re thinking about doing a half marathon. Maybe you’ve been running for a while, or maybe you’re just gonna do it cold. Good for you for giving it a go. Whatever the case is, you may be wondering, what should I do? What are the best practices? What are the tips? Well, you are in luck today because I’m Jessie Funk and on today’s episode of Runner’s High, I’m going to give you my top five tips for running a half marathon for beginners.

[0:37] Now, if you haven’t been with me here on the channel before, and that is likely, if you are a beginner and you clicked on this video, hit that button right in the bottom right-hand corner, subscribe. Stay tuned for more videos and go check out all the backlog of videos that I’ve done. Because you will learn a ton on this channel from the 20 years of competitive running experience that I have that I share with you.

[0:59] So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, you want to know what should you be doing? What are my top five tips for running a half marathon? If you’ve never done it before, or if you are a beginning runner, and the number one tip, this should go without saying but we all like to procrastinate. The number one tip is start right now. A half marathon is not something you want to try to win. There are people I know that can but they generally have a very long and storied fitness background.

Whereas you and this isn’t to be derogatory or mean, but you’re here probably because you don’t have that longest storied fitness background and you’re trying to figure out what to do. The biggest thing you want to do is start right now because it takes time to build up your ability to go for that full distance. And the sooner you get started, the more prep you can get in before it comes to race day and you’re trying to complete that half marathon without bonking.

[02:02] My number two tip for you is going to be stay consistent. And this is something I preach all the time here on this channel. Consistency is key to performance in running overtime. It is not like college exams, maybe high school exams, where we can just try to cram it all at the last minute, regurgitate it for the test, get an A and move on. You cannot do that. It has to be prepared slowly and consistently over time, or you risk end up hurting yourself. Now there’s a number of different ways you can hurt yourself. Again, I talked about it on the channel. So, hit that subscribe button bottom right-hand corner.

But the point being that when you are consistent, you see results. But this is really anathema to how we think and how we live in this culture now. We want instant gratification, instant results. And that is really the opposite of what you’re going to see and what you can expect in distance running. Especially if you start going those longer distance half-marathon, marathon, maybe even ultra in the future. Whatever it is, it takes time and consistency.

[03:13] You just have to commit to hey, I’m going to, as in tip one, start now. And then you’re going to continue on each day with your plan. Staying consistent with what you set out to do so you can reach your goal, there are going to be days where you don’t feel like running. And there’s going to be another video, I’m going to talk about what to do when that happens.

But for the most part, unless you’re injured or something really hurts you, [??? 03:44] pain, things like that, you need to stick with the plan. Again, there are adjustments you can make. I’m going to do another video on that. So, if you haven’t checked out the rest of the channel, it’s probably already there by the time you’re watching this. But you have to stay consistent if you want to reach your goal.

[04:01] Number three, this is important and I already briefly mentioned it in the last tip. And that’s going to be built slowly. Now this varies by person. The general rule of thumb and I’ve mentioned this before is don’t increase your mileage more than 10% per week. But that is not always the best indicator of your fatigue level. I’ve talked about this with numerous guests on my other show, the Smart Athlete Podcast where I interview experts in fitness fields, and in other disciplines.

You have to be a smart athlete, so it’s a very interesting show. I will link to this season on the Smart Athlete Podcast at the end of this video. So, stay tuned for that there’ll be a little link right on the screen probably in front of my face. Point being that mileage is a rough indicator of what you should be doing and your fatigue level. But you want to build slowly over time. And even if you’re building slowly, you’re probably going to get sore.

[05:01] Soreness is kind of your body’s reaction or the effect of tearing down those muscles so that they can be rebuilt. Now, if you have trouble dealing with soreness, then there’s stuff like, are all-natural, not all-natural, but mostly natural-natural ingredient plant-based muscle soreness gel [??? 05:25] regular version or the CBD version, that’s completely up to you.

But we do make stuff like that. Solpri.com/shop if you want to check those out. That’s one way to deal with muscle soreness. But you need to keep in check even if you’re using a product like that, whether it’s ours or somebody else’s, that if you’re sore consistently for a long period of time, we’re talking over three days. So, three to seven days or longer, then you need to check what you’re doing.

[05:55] If you’re building mileage to fastly not listening to that tip number three, go slow. If you’re building mileage too fast, that can lead to injury. And that’s where that soreness comes in. It can be a leading indicator that you are going too quick in your mileage building. But beyond that, that soreness could be an underlying issue.

Maybe you’ve tweaked something, and you have a minor injury that needs to be tended to before you go on to something else in terms of mileage building up to go to the next thing. So, building slowly, is crucial to be able to, tip number two, stay consistent. You have to build slowly to stay consistent. If you build too fast, then you end up injured and you can’t stay consistent. So, all these tips kind of roll together.

[06:41] Tip number four and again, this is something you should already be doing, you should be practicing in your everyday life. But, and I am with you here on this one, I have my own, not issues, but I have my own particular set of problems in this area. And that is to eat well. I love treats. I love cake. I love ice cream. I love all of those things. Who doesn’t? Cake versus pie, leave down in the comments below.

We’ll see if we can get into a desert war here. But the point being that you need to eat well if you’re going to fuel your body. This is again, something I talked to a lot of experts on, on the Smart Athlete Podcast.

[07:19] Most recently, I spoke with Allison Koch who’s a registered dietitian who specializes in endurance athletes like us, me and you. She makes sure that we eat well to fuel properly for performance. There are a lot of messages out there about how you need to eat to lose weight because that’s a common problem a lot of people have. They have too much weight on, and then they need to lose it. But it is a little bit different if you’re fueling for performance, it’s not the same kind of diet that you’re going to eat.

Now, Allison hooked me up with the United States Olympic Committee’s suggestions on what you should be eating in a rough format. Think of it like the food pyramid, but built by the people in charge of our Olympians and how they should be eating. It’s called The Athlete’s Plate. You can look that up on Google. They have nice little infographics that say, hey, if you’re in this phase of training, you should have this rough mix of food.

[08:22] Now, you may be wondering, can I have a little treat? Can I eat something here and there? Of course, you can. It comes back down to sanity, right? If we want to stay consistent, it is unlikely that we go cold turkey eating lots of junk. And I don’t want to presume your diet. But if you’re like me, you have probably too many sweets. Going straight from that to absolutely nothing. Build in those times where you have a little something and it’s okay.

This comes from my friend, former coach, and former pro triathlete, Barb Lindquist, she says 90/10. Which is basically, if you have a treat now and then and 90% of your food you’re eating is good for you, built for performance, then it’s not a big deal if you have a treat. It’s not going to derail you, it’s not gonna make you gain a bunch of weight. But if you have a sweet tooth like I do, and then you see a whole cake and eat half of it, guilty as charged, I’ve been there done that, then that’s going to be a problem.

[09:27] So, one of the other suggestions I see in this area and helps me a lot is that you win the battle at the grocery store. If you know that if you go buy peanut butter M&Ms, one of my favorites, and if you open it, you’re gonna eat the entire bag. Again, guilty as charged.

Been there, done that, sometimes at least. Don’t buy them. You win the battle at the grocery store. So, if you want to eat well, get the things you need to eat. Don’t underfeed yourself. Make sure you’re eating plenty. But again, check out that Athlete’s Plate. And check out my talk with Alison, she talks more about how to fuel.

[10:05] Now my last tip is really the most crucial. I know the other four, very important, you have to keep them in mind. But the last one is the absolute most important, you cannot miss out on this one and it’s have fun. You have to have fun in your training. If you’re not having fun, what the hell are you doing this for? Now there is a difference between type one and type two fun. Type two fun is where you have fun thinking about it in the aftermath. A story I like to go back to is when I was back assistant coaching my high school team.

We went on a summer trip with the kids, or really they’re only a couple years younger than me, but coach referred to them as kids. So, we went with the athletes on this summer trip. We went whitewater rafting. While we were rafting, it began to hail on us, which was horrendous. You’re out in the open, you have no availability to have any cover. You’re going over– Like we went over, I think two sets of rapids. Our guide had to get us over the rapids by herself because we’re all like trying to shelter ourselves with our pals. It was bananas painful.

[11:15] Fortunately, we had helmets on so that was nice. But it was not fun in the least at the time. But afterwards, when we tell the story and I talk about the things that happened and the things that were said, we all have a laugh, and we say that was fun. That’s type two fun. So, some days when you’re running, you’re gonna have type one fun, which is I’m having fun right now. Maybe you’re out with your friends and you’re training, training partners. You’re doing a workout that’s going really great.

[11:44] But some of it and a lot of it really is probably going to be that type two fun where it’s fun afterwards. And the people that really learn to enjoy that kind of fun are the ones that are most successful over time. In any case, you need to make sure that you’re having a mix of those two types of fun to stay consistent. Because if you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point, you know?

Find something else you enjoy. You don’t have to be a runner if you don’t enjoy it. There’s no need to torture yourself. There are people like me that enjoy it. Hopefully, you enjoy it as well. But that is always a good gut check to have.

[12:20] So, like I mentioned earlier, you’ve made it all the way through this video with me. Here on the screen shortly will be a link to the Smart Athlete Podcast. You can check out Allison’s talk with me, as well as all the other experts I talked to and their suggestions for you on being a better runner. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.