Half-marathon training update

As I continue to train for the half-marathon I plan to write updates every week about the training, complications, new findings and whatever else may come up. This is the first update!

This weekend my cousin and I officially began training for our half-marathon in September. We started our training in southern Maine, along the coast, since our race will be on the coast of New Hampshire. The weather was perfect for running. The air was clear, it was sunny and there was a cool breeze coming off of the ocean. Not to mention the gorgeous views we had during the run.

We both ran separately on Friday evening but then did an easy 3-mile run along the ocean Saturday morning. We also did some conditioning and a tempo run at the high school track on Sunday.

It was my first ever attempt at a tempo run and it went pretty well. We did a 2-mile run, with sprints for every straightaway. We made pretty good time, despite the heat.

This week I plan to do another tempo workout, an easy 4-mile run and a longer run this weekend. The half-marathon will be the longest my cousin and I have ever run but we’re getting really excited for the race. We have about four months to train and we are staying positive. As one of my fellow sub-30 club members wrote, “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll get there.”

That’s it for now but be on the lookout for a post about tempo runs soon! Also, don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page and follow me on twitter @FitHappyGirl.

How to relieve a side stitch when running

Are side stitches cramping your running style? They were for me last week when I began training for the half-marathon. But after a little research I learned that you can actually overcome them with a few basic tricks.

Medically speaking, a side stitch is a spasm or cramp of the diaphragm muscle. There are many reasons a side stitch can occur including dehydration, bad running form or just general fatigue. For me I think it could be dehydration but according to many of the blogs and message boards I’ve read, side stitches tend to occur early on in a runner’s career. I’ve only been really running since March so that could also be the reason.

Whatever the cause, there are easy cures for side stitches. The For Beginners Only blog on the website for Runner’s World suggests massaging the area in pain. As always with a side stitch, you should stop running first, then:

“… press your first two fingers in and slightly upward directly where it hurts and hold for about 10 seconds. While pressing in and up, take more deep breaths. You can continue this process of pressing in and up, all around the edge of your ribs up to your sternum.”

Another technique I used last week that worked was to slow my pace, or come to a walking pace, and stretch my right arm over my head to stretch out the right side of my abdomen. If the stitch is on your left side, use your left arm. This worked well and helped relieve the pain so I could continue running.

The best news about side stitches is that with continued exercise and running, they should go away altogether. So, stay hydrated, stretch before a run and hit the pavement!

Finding the perfect half-marathon training program

Courtesy Runner’s World on Pinterest

Ok, so finding the perfect half-marathon training program is a little harder than it seems. Last week I registered for my first ever half-marathon and it without a doubt terrifies me. However, according to most of my research, if you can already easily run 4 miles, in less than 14 weeks you can build up to a half-marathon- I have four months.

When looking for any good training program it’s important to stay realistic. For example, if you have a full-time job and a fluctuating schedule like myself, running every day is probably not a very realistic goal. Most of the training programs I found have you running three or four days a week with strengthening exercises and rest days in between.

After asking around and posing the question in the Sub-30 Club on Facebook, I found a good training program for me. I chose to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach (free version). This training plan allows you to insert your information- including gender, miles logged per week and your latest race time- to develop a specialized plan to fit your schedule. This is important for me because I am a full-time reporter so sometimes I have to cover late meetings and can’t fit in my run, but the smart coach allows you to adjust the plan at any time.

Also, the smart coach, like many other half-marathon training program, has you run an easy run, a “tempo” run (speedwork) and a long run each week. As your training continues it adds in an extra easy run to help you build endurance to last those 13.1 miles.

This program might not be for everyone so some other suggestions I received were:

Hannah does a half!

First off, let me apologize for my infrequency of posts lately. I started my first job after graduation last Monday and have been extremely busy getting used to that. Although it’s affected my blog-writing schedule, it has not affected my workout schedule which is a fantastic thing I think. Last Sunday I went on an amazing 6-mile run along the coast of Maine in 45 minutes, quite the accomplishment for myself! Also, yesterday I registered for my very first half-marathon!! I’m so excited and cannot wait to start training for this!

I have a bunch of posts planned for the next week so please, please, please check back!