half marathon do's and dont's

on thanksgiving, I had the opportunity of running another half marathon!
I am really addicted to the feeling of crossing that finish line!

I've had a few questions about tips for your first half-marathon, and so I thought I would share a few personal suggestions!
(these are really simple tips! for more detailed, seek elsewhere ;))

#1. DO train!
there are lots of training schedules you can find online, depending on how long you have until race day.
always better to train as early as you can (especially if you're not used to running long distances!)
I've talked to a few people who had a miserable experience during their first half, and when I ask about training, they all say, "Oh, I didn't really train that well."
aaaaand there you go!
your experience does NOT have to be a negative one!
there is a way to love it at the end!
 #2. carb-up!
the day before the race, I always eat a pasta lunch or dinner.
and I really try to get as much fuel and water into my body as I can.
I reallyyyy notice a difference!

#3. eating day-of
be careful what you eat the morning of the race.
these are some of my go-to's:
bagel with peanut butter

my very first half-marathon, I read online somewhere that you should eat 2-3 hours before the race.
so I woke up at 5 and ate, and then raced at 8am.
by 9:30, I was DEAD. absolutely ZERO energy.
I felt like I was running on nothing.
well duhhhh, I hadn't eaten in over 4 hours and I had burned over 1,000 calories and still had 2 miles left!
that was soooo hard.
I've learned to just eat about an hour before race time.
that works so much better for me!
(and don't forget to get in line for that porta-potty right when you arrive!)

#4. ibuprofen
my knees get so sore after long runs (runs in the family...no pun intended ;)
and I guarantee you'll feel a little stiff a few hours after the race.
I like taking 2-3 ibuprofen with breakfast and then 2-3 more right when I get home from the race.
It really prevents the soreness and stiffness.
(also, with my really sensitive stomach, I use digestzen (doterra oil...it's a dream) right after long runs. runner constipation is THE WORST!)

#5. know the route
I like studying the race route before the race.
it's helpful for my mind to see landmarks and be able to think visually how long I have left.
(most races will also have mile markers, but I like the extra visual landmarks :))
it was also helpful, because on the thanksgiving race, I regretted wearing my sweater about 2 miles in. I knew that we would loop back to the same spot at mile 10, so I threw my jacket over a post and left it there until I returned 8 miles later! ha, and it was still there when I came back! (hence the jacket around my waist!)

#6. food/drink during the race
my first race, I was so concerned about not stopping and losing time, that when I grabbed a little water cup (usually provided along the race), I tried to drink while running.
most of the water just ended up all over my face and I choked trying to run and swallow. HA
then, my second half, I realized that if I took two seconds to stop and actually drink the water, it would probably make my time BETTER because I'd actually be refreshed and hydrated during the run!
trust me on this one! made a huge difference!
also...don't be too brave food-wise on the race.
I had never had a gu before and I decided to randomly try one when they were handing them out during the race.
and EW. should not have done that.
I felt a little sick for like half a mile.
so just be careful about what you try during the run ;)
#7. positive thinking!
it is ALL a mind game!
I am so impressed when I see like 50-year-old women, twice my size, passing me!
that is training and mindset at its finest!
when things get hard, start thinking positive.
tell yourself over and over, "I can do hard things!"

#8. ENJOY the view!
be happy and take time to enjoy the race route.
appreciate the beauty as you run.

#9. have a pre-prepared playlist or book to listen to,
If I choose to listen to a book, my preference is one that I'm already a couple hours into, so that I'm really excited to keep listening.
I really enjoy non-fiction or historical books, BUT, while running I prefer more upbeat and humorous books 
(definitely recommend "bossypants" or "is everyone hanging out without me?" PERFECT race books!!)
 #10 have someone at the finish line waiting for you!
lots of people would love to be there waiting for you!
ask friends or family to show up at the end to give their support!
it always makes things easier when you know someone is there at the end!

aaand funny story about this picture.
on my last half, I asked taylor to bring me my gatorade that I left in our fridge at home.
I reminded him a few times, and during the end of the race, all I could think of was that refreshing gatorade that would be waiting for me.
it was my motivation!
wellll, I get to the finish line, hug taylor with my sweaty self and say, "where's my gatorade?"
and he said, "i'm so sorry, I completely forgot!"
and then I kinda snapped at him and said, "taylor! you had ONE job! ONE job! I've been looking forward to that for 5 miles!"
I didn't ask taylor to bring any gatorade this time, BUT he was sure to bring a whole package of them  to avoid my wrath. HA

so there you have it! 
my simple little tips!
any of you planning to run a half anytime soon?
for your first timers, I promise it is THE BEST FEELING EVER crossing that finish line!
and it doesn't matter how many times you do it, it still feels JUST AS GOOD!

my next one is in February and I CAN'T WAIT.
and my first marathon will be in april (mostly just to get it off my bucket list. and then? never again. HA)

(see here for tips on working out consistently!)


  1. I love running races! But girl, watch out for running a marathon once and then "never again." I ran my first marathon 2 years ago with the same attitude you have now, but I felt so amazing afterward that I ran another one this last summer. I didn't train for it and I wanted to die during the last 5 miles, but even so, I still think I'll want to run another marathon in a few years. Those races can be addicting!

    1. oh dear--that's what I hear from everyone! but I am solely doing it to get it off of my bucketlist! haha!

  2. Yay! I love running! Be careful what you say about never running another marathon... you'll get the bug when you cross that finish line! It's seriously such an emotional experience--I cried my first time! So excited for you. What marathon are you doing??

  3. That is hilarious about the gatorade!

  4. Okay.. You may have inspired me to train and run! I ran a 5k like..once haha. I don't think I would look near as cute as you do at the end of it though!! Do you know of any fun halfs that I could do?! And also... LOVE bossypants and is everyone hanging out without me!! I'm waiting to read Yes Please by Amy Poehler next and I'm so excited for it!

  5. I love running! Which one are you doing in February? I've ran 7 half marathons... my favorite is probably Big Cottonwood, or American Fork Canyon. They're great! But I have no desire to run a full :) So good for you! Oh, and you should definitely try the Salted Caramel GU gel. Sooooo good! But yeah, try it in a training run before race day, so you know how your body will react. But really.. it tastes like caramel. I would put that stuff on ice cream. No joke.

    1. I'm doing one in st. george in february! i can't wait to do those other ones you said though!

  6. Congratulations!! I don't think I could EVER do that! You are amazing!

  7. LOVE this. Ha i can relate to everything you said and I second it all. Kind of wishing we lived closer so we could be running buddies!! By the way you look so adorable running.

    1. how awesome would that be!? maybe the next time you come to utah we can run a little half together ;) HA

  8. Haha i love the gatorade motivation you had :) the little things that get us through runs! I am running a full marathon with my cousin in the Spring so I will definitely need all the tips I can get! and… i may or may not be running the marathon just to cross it off my bucket list also :)

    By the way, you are a total babe!


  9. SO many good tips! I was not prepared for my first half at all and I hurt for DAYS afterwards. I'm officially signed up for my 2nd one though and I know now what to expect and how much harder I'll need to train for it :)

  10. literally, nobody looks better while they are running/after they run than you. that's all.

  11. CONGRATS on your 1/2 marathon! & all those tips are sooooo good to know, i don't think i did any of these for my half marathons & i don't know what i was thinking! also, you seriously look adorable while & after the run, how is that possible?!

  12. Running is all about positive thinking, and a good breakfast! I usually have oatmeal the morning of races too. The morning of my first triathlon I ate too much oatmeal and that ended badly during the swim hahah oops. Great tips!

  13. You inspire me! I've been out of shape and overweight practically my whole life. Being pregnant currently, I can't wait to pop this baby out and start getting into shape. My goal is to be able to run a half marathon within the next two years. Cross my fingers for sooner than that!

    1. you can do it! you just have to convince yourself you love it! the mind is a funny thing ;)

  14. Wow girl, you are one amazing woman! Such an achievement - a half marathon is on my bucket list but I just don't think I can do it - yikes! I am so terrible at running... x

  15. These are AMAZING tips. I've only ever run 1 half marathon and I use the word "run" loosely, we ran the first 7 miles, then on and off again the entire time and it was just awful. You'd never guess why ;) (aka- we hardly trained)...so THIS May? I plan on KILLING that half. I've already started a training program and I'm pumped. Go you for running a FULL...you're crazy, woman! ;)

  16. Oh this makes me want to run a half marathon again! My first one was in August and I have to admit I have really slacked off since then. You have inspired me though! Thx for the tips. I would have never thought to listen to a book during the race. How interesting!

  17. UGH. why can't you live near me so we can train together and you can help keep me motivated? I definitely have to have a running play list so that I actually run. I don't know if I could do the book thing... I'm afraid I would get bored... but upbeat music? That I can do...

  18. So awesome! I've run a couple of 10Ks, and am psyching myself up to keep training through the winter so I can try a half in September.

  19. i've done two half marathons and am itching to do my third. this is so helpful!