Fear #3: I’ll finish last.
It’s just as rare to finish dead last as it is to win the race. Try not to forget that this is only your first half marathon, and you shouldn’t worry about how fast you’ll run it. Your goal today should be to run 13.1 miles, get yourself across the finish line, and no more. You can worry about speed next time. Besides, no matter how long it takes you, you’re going to set both a distance and a time PR that day.
Yes, you might. Sorry to be so blunt, but this sometimes happens to runners. If you’re smart though, it probably won’t. You can increase your chances of staying healthy if you eat balanced, stay hydrated, work on some cross-training and always listen to your body.
More: 5 Injury-Prevention Stretches for Runners
Follow the training plan as much as you can, but if you feel fatigued or overly sore on a run day, make it an easy run. Lower the mileage or skip it altogether. Take time off when you need it. And if you have the luxury of extra time, start your training plan a few weeks early to give yourself some wiggle room for those inevitable off-days.
Experienced distance runners don’t always follow training plans, but for your first half marathon it is generally a good idea. The most important part of a half marathon training plan is the long run. A good plan will steadily add mileage to your long runs, but also step you back to lower mileage to avoid overtraining. Many half marathon plans also throw in cross-training days, hill workouts and speed training so you can be a more well-rounded runner.
More: 4 Cross-Training Activities for Runners
Besides training plans, be smart and train for the race you’re running. If it’s a trail race, try to do most of your long runs on trails. If the course is hilly, make sure you train your legs to handle hills. By the time you reach the end of your training plan on race day, you’ll be prepared to cross the finish line.
Stop letting all those little fears get to you. Just get out there and don’t forget to have fun. Besides, that race director is not going to refund your money anyway, so you might as well lace up and get yourself out there.
You can do it!
Sign up for your next race.