In the past decade, the half-marathon distance has grown at an extraordinary rate, almost tripling in the number of participants across the country. Although in the past few years the growth has began to slow some from the preceding rapid rate, it is the most popular road race distance for runners and walkers to complete, with 43 half-marathon distance races consuming the top 100 largest races in the country in 2012. Included in that list as the highest attended half-marathon for 2012, the Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon continues to be a go-to event for runners and walkers of all abilities.
A few reasons that I believe so many people set a goal of training and completing a half-marathon is that the idea of running a half-marathon is a manageable health and fitness goal from a time commitment and physical capability standpoint. Along with this, it is an excellent challenge for those looking to improve fitness, manage weight, or just accomplish something out of their ordinary routine.
Tips for Running Your First Half-Marathon
Here are a few tips that I suggest for first-time half-marathon participants:
- Find a beginner's training plan! Starting with no base can still result in success when you follow a plan. First-time half-marathon runners should be sure to start out with lower mileage and gradually work into longer runs. This will help with confidence level initially and help prevent injuries that can occur if you start running too much too soon.
- Visit a store that can fit you for the proper pair of shoes to run in before you begin the training program. Figuring out the right pair of shoes is very important and should be done before you start a training program.
- Eat and hydrate appropriately prior to and following each training session. This will have a great impact on how you feel during all of your runs throughout the week.
- Finally, have fun with training for the race! If you are motivated and feed off of others, find a group of people you enjoy being around to train with.
Join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program
Now is the time to check the half-marathon off of your bucket list and join the hundreds of thousands of people who complete half-marathons every year! The NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program was created to offer NIFS members and local residents a training program geared toward completing the spring half-marathons. Program participants are given a training plan to follow, which prepares them to complete the Mini, the Geist Half Marathon, the Carmel Half Marathon, or a combination of the races for those looking to complete multiple races in the spring.
Each Wednesday night for the duration of the 14-week program, runners and walkers of all abilities meet with their designated pace group to complete their long run for the week. Volunteer group leaders ensure that the participants are staying on pace and are completing the designated distance for the night. The distance of the long run progresses as the weeks go on, capping out at a 12-mile long run two training sessions prior to the Mini, which leaves participants prepared to conquer the 13.1. Following each training session, recovery snacks are provided to the participants.
Click here to register for the 2014 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. Starting from scratch and not sure if you are ready to complete a half-marathon? Try our 4-week training program to build your base!
This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Health Fitness Specialist and co-coordinator of the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. Meet our bloggers.