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How I trained myself to run a half marathon – and why I decided to run a marathon By Georgia Sharples

 

How I trained myself to run a half marathon – and why I decided to run a marathon.  

 

There was once a time when I wondered how people liked running, how someone would “want” to run, and most importantly, how on earth someone could run for hours at a time, without stopping.  

 

Growing up, I absolutely hated running. I would always find an excuse as to why I couldn’t participate in the school cross country or running events. I high school, I even joined the media group to take photo’s for the year book, just because it was probably the only acceptable reason not to participate in the race.   

 

Now, I’m going to be completely honest. I started incorporating some running (by some, I mean 2km-3km runs) into my routine for weight loss reasons. I would go first thing in the morning, fasted, but I was finding that I struggled, got a stitch or just ended up walking. I started eating beforehand, and then found I had the energy to go a little faster or a little bit longer. This started the process of wanting to improve my times, and run further. From here, I bought my first Garmin, and started tracking my time and distance. I also started researching the best “foods for runners” and what to eat before a run etc. My focus was no longer on the scales, or how I looked, but on my performance.  

 

In January 2017, I ran my first 7km without stopping and I was over the moon. It took me 40 mins exactly. Now, I know this may be a slow pace for some, and fast for others, but for someone who took 40 minutes of convincing to leave the house for just a walk, I thought I did well.  

 

From here, I increased it to 8km, where I stayed for a bit, before eventually going for the 10km. That was an exciting moment, seeing my Garmin flash up double digits. The following week, I did the same route, but added an extra kilometre after my turnaround point, meaning an extra kilometre on the way back too. This was my first 12km. 

 

By this time, it was June, and I signed myself up for Brisbane’s City2South; a 14km fun run. I was extremely nervous, because I’d never done an event like this before, nor had I run 14km before. Regardless of my nerves, I lined up at the start line, eager to start running (mostly because it was freezing), and once the gun went off, all my nerves have calmed down. I ran the entire distance, and finished in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 2 minutes less than my goal time – thanks to the last kilometre being downhill.  

 

The next few months, I alternated between 5km, 8km, 10km and 12km runs, and was constantly researching how to make myself a better runner and improve my pace.  

 

By now, it was now September, and I was holidaying in America with my mum. There was really no opportunity for me to get out and run as much as I would at home, but I made it my one goal to at least run the 10km distance around Central Park. Finishing this run was a total dream come true and the exact moment I decided I was going to run the New York City Marathon in 2018. 

 

When I came back from the USA, I ran a new circuit, which was 15km, and the longest I had ever run before. It was a Wednesday this particular day, and it just so happened that there was a ½ marathon on the Saturday evening of that week, and after a few hours of deliberating, I decided to go for it!  

 

I did one more 5km run the Thursday, rested on the Friday, but worked the Saturday of the ½ marathon event, 5am until 2pm. The race started at 5pm. Due to my spontaneous decision to enter, I couldn’t get the day off – I would not recommend this. However, I ran the entire distance, without stopping, in 2 hours and 12 minutes. With proper training, and better nutrition (my only opportunity to eat was during my breaks), I feel like I could have done better, but I am still extremely proud of what I achieved.  

 

If someone who struggled to get through the 800M race during school can train herself to run 21.2km (I was the only one I had to motivate myself, and get myself out of bed in the morning) then anyone can do it. There are a lot of good running coaches around that can help you, but it is doable to do by yourself, it just takes time (you won’t be able to add the km’s overnight), patience and perseverance (some days you’ll take 1 step forward and 3 steps back), effort, and good nutrition.  

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and it’s motivated some of you to sign up for a run fun now that running season is in full swing.  

 

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Georgia Sharples

Georgia Sharples
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