13.1 Tips For Running Your Best Half Marathon

The half marathon is America's fastest growing race distance — so find a race a sign up! Photo: www.shutterstock.com


Thinking of tackling America’s fastest growing race distance? Here are some ways to get started.

In recent years, the half marathon has become America’s fastest-growing race distance, as the number of 13.1-mile races has swelled along with the number of participants. In 2012, 1.85 million people finished a 13.1-mile race, up nearly 15 percent from 2011, according to Running USA.

Why the half? For many runners, setting a 13.1-mile goal—whether it’s covering the distance for the first time or setting a new personal best—is a manageable challenge, offering nearly all the elation involved with finishing a marathon without the wear and tear of going (and training for) twice the distance. Plus, you can bounce back quickly enough, so doing more than one or two a year isn’t an unreasonable undertaking.

This year, whether you’re running your first half marathon or your 15th, make the most of your 13.1-mile experience — from sign-up to finish line — with these top tips.

1. Run for a reason

Training for (and competing in) a long race can be an arduous endeavor, even if you already have a few of them under your belt. Regardless of whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned road warrior, ask yourself one simple question: “Why am I doing this?” The answer to that question gives purpose to your chosen pursuit and will serve as your primary motivation throughout the training cycle as well as on race day.

We all have our own reasons for lacing up our running shoes, from trying something new and dropping a few pounds to running in memory of a loved one, raising money for a cause or setting a personal best. The list is endless. Whatever your reason or reasons for running, remind yourself of them regularly and never lose sight of what crossing that finish line means to you.

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