How to Run Well at Your First Half Marathon

The number of half marathon participants grows by leaps and bounds every year, and with good reason. For beginners, 13.1 miles can be a challenging but very attainable goal. Committing to run your first half marathon is exciting, and the Chi Running technique and training philosophy will give you a great chance for success. 

Getting Started

It's tempting to jump right into training, but take time to prepare yourself mentally first.

  • Create clear goals. Ask yourself why you want to run a half marathon. Maybe you want to lose weight, reduce stress, get into a routine, or run for a cause. What do you want to get out of your training and race experience? Some goals might be: gain a sense of accomplishment, joy and relaxation, or feel fabulous at the finish line. A clear mission will give you purpose and keep you motivated.
  • Have a support system. Let your friends and family know about your goals so they can encourage you and hold you accountable. They might even join you.

More: How to Work Up to a Half Marathon

Train Your Best

Create a timeline. Sign up for a race that will allow for 12 to 16 weeks of training time. You don't want to undertrain.

Focus on technique. Good training isn't just about increasing your mileage. If your technique is good, you'll avoid injury and run more efficiently. It will make your training runs much easier and more enjoyable. Practice these technique tips:

    • Run with good posture. Stand tall, keep your shoulders relaxed, and engage your core.
    • Use gravity. Lean forward very slightly from the ankles, and keep yourself stable by engaging your core.
    • Don't heel strike. Land midfoot with your feet under your hips. This greatly reduces your risk of hip, knee and lower leg injuries.  
    • Keep your stride short. A quick, short stride minimizes impact and prevents your leg muscles from overworking.
    • Relax. Keep your lower legs relaxed. Only use them to support you when you land—not to push or pull you forward.

More: How Chi Running Reduces Injury and Promotes Healthy Running

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