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Tackling the half marathon

A note from the Editor

On February 8, 2013

Looking back, running a half marathon was one of the best decisions I've ever made, despite feeling miserable while training, sleeping less and having a lot less time to myself. I was taking 19 hours last semester, working about 30 hours each week and still managed to set aside some time to train for that daunting 13.1 mile-run.
If I didn't wake up early, I would run in the evening. I made so many things count toward cross training - biking to school, taking the stairs all day, heavy lifting. The hardest part, though, was eating better. Cooking takes time, time I didn't really have. I snacked more than I would have liked, but luckily I have a sister with Wolfbucks (those O.R. days were a godsend, thanks, Brittney).
Prior to training, I never ran more than two miles. During the first training week, I was determined to run two miles that Tuesday, two and a half miles that Thursday and three miles that Saturday, while going to the gym to cross-train twice. I accomplished my goals, except for that Saturday (my ankles ached, I needed new shoes). It was still early, I thought to myself. I still had plenty of time to train.
And I did have a lot of time; my race was in October and I began training in May. I was following a 12-week plan I stumbled upon online with a few minor alterations of my own. But since I started so early, there were weeks (not consecutive, though) where I didn't even train. Starting up from those periods was awful, so I tried to at least cross-train twice when I felt particularly unmotivated.
For my birthday, I got a GPS watch, which really came in handy. Knowing my pace made my runs much more bearable. I gradually increased my mileage - three miles, five miles, up to 12 miles. My 12-week plan ended up turning into a 20-week plan but by race day, I was ready.
On the next page, we've included a 12-week training guide for those of you who are tempted to try out a half marathon. Feel free to modify it as you wish. Listen to your body, do the research, know your limits and have fun. I will definitely run a half marathon again, and I hope to see you at the starting line. 

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