It’s okay! I didn’t either when I decided to start running.
When I went to buy my first pair of running shoes I thought all that I had to do was walk in and find whatever shoe looked cutest, try them on, make the purchase and call it a day.
Like most things in my life, that didn’t exactly play out the way I imagined it would.
My daydream was interrupted as soon as one of the workers at Fit Niche (coolest running store ever) asked me if I knew my pronation type. I stared blankly at him trying to figure out if I had ever even heard that word before, and said no. He explained what a pronation was to me while I smiled and nodded and pretended that I was following what he said.
I did my own research when I got home and it turns out there’s only three pronation types and it’s not as complicated as you think it would be. I learned everything from this post from Runner’s World, but here’s a Kerry-proof overview of the basics:
Basically, when you’re running you hit the ground with the heel of your foot and your arch absorbs the impact.
Your arch is NOT your friend! If you aren’t wearing the proper running shoes you’re exposing yourself to a good chance of being injured. It stretches inward and doesn’t correctly absorb the shock.
Your entire foot is the enemy. Your foot decided it doesn’t want to flex enough and absorb the shock effectively when it hits the ground. It would much rather make impact very hard and very dangerous.
That sounds scary, but don’t worry! There are ways to figure out which pronator you are and shoes made specifically for each pronation type.
Fit Niche guy laced a pair of pink Nike Pegasus Zoom’s on my feet that he told me not to get attached to (he must have seen the twinkle I get in my eyes whenever I see anything pink). They were a stability shoe for neutral feet that I was only going to run in so he could figure out what my pronation type was.
Fancy right? Science.
If the running/athletic store you’re going to doesn’t offer this service, check out Ruggero Loda’s blog post on the wet feet test over on Running Shoes Guru.
Like I mentioned before, there are running shoes made specifically for the three pronation types. Don’t sweat it if your pronation type isn’t netural!
You can still find a shoe that will make long distance running possible for you. The difference is all in the midsole:
If your feet are neutral you need a stability shoe, which focuses on providing cushioning and support for your feet.
For those of you with over pronation, get yourself a shoe with motion control. They pretty much provide medial support to slow the over pronation so your arch will chill out.
If your living with under pronation you need shoes that emphasize cushioning because your feet really don’t like running at all. You can’t glide through the course on a cloud, but with the right running shoes you’ll feel like you did!
So after Fit Niche guy stood a few feet behind me and pointed his iPad at me while I ran, I learned my feet were neutral and I needed a stability shoe. Like the pink pair of Nike Pegasus Zoom’s that I was told not to get attached too.
Guess who walked out of the store and across her first finish line with the pink shoes she wanted? That’s right, me.
I hope you feel more prepared to buy your first pair of running shoes than I was. Now go walk in that running store like a boss and say the word “pronation” a lot and act like you know what’s up!
If you told me when I was in high school, or even four years ago for that matter, that I would become obsessed with running and that I’d run a half marathon I would literally laugh in your face and call you crazy and proceed to skip gym class. I am so uncoordinated and off-balanced I almost have no business running, but I do it anyway.
Here I am though with not one but five half marathons under my belt, all of which I’ve ran in a year and a half time span which is super crazy and I’m really proud of.
What’s even more exciting than that is I’m doing it all over again for a sixth time! Caitlyn and I are running Morristown’s Superhero Half Marathon on May 21st. Seriously, we love you Morristown and you’re our favorite place to run. This is an exciting one because it’s my last race in New Jersey before I finally move to Florida (another blog post for another time!).
This is my last race with Caitlyn for a while. Probably until we run our first full marathon during Disney’s marathon weekend in 2019, so we’re going all out for this one. We’ll be sporting super cute and sassyPopflex outfits and for the first time ever we’re setting a time goal! We finished out last half marathon in two hours and 20 minutes. This time around we want to get to the finish line in two hours and 15 minutes. All we have to do is hold about 10:15 pace per mile which sounds like no big deal right?
Wrong! Here’s why:
Race day is less than five weeks away and I’ve hardly trained aside from my usual three to four mile runs three to four times a week. Bad Kerry.
There have been some setbacks in the training period this time around.
I’m in my last semester of college (!) and that alone has been the biggest time sucker for various reasons that make my head spin.
I had my wisdom teeth removed! It was tragic and awful and kept me from running for two and a half weeks. I have no pain tolerance and have never had any kind of procedure/surgery before so I pulled out all the theatrics for the occasion
I’m sharing this with you for accountability purposes of course. I can’t skimp out on trying when I’m telling you all my goal.
Since race day is rapidly approaching I added an awesome countdown on my side bar so we can count down together! Feel free to message me something like “Hey, enough of the Cadbury chocolate! You have 10 days until race day!” or “Run like your student loans are chasing you!” or “If you hit your time goal I’ll buy you Hamilton tickets!” at your leisure.
I especially like that last one. While I’m out there running like my life depends on it, someone please make that happen.
You know what makes half marathons, or just running in general, more fun?
A little buddy to run with! This one is mine and I shouldn’t call her my little buddy, she’s definitely five inches taller than me. I actually prefer to call her my sole sister (get it?). Her name is Caitlyn and she’s been one of my closest friends for five years now and we’ve run four half marathons together.
I ran my first half marathon by myself, and at the time I was doubling as a hostess at a sports grill (which is ironic because I know NOTHING about sports) and a camp counselor at the Y, so I really appreciated the alone time I had when I was running. I loved my campers but it was great not having five-year-olds hanging off of my limbs for a few miles. That being said, I won’t lie and say I never wished that I had someone running with me on the really long runs or those days I really didn’t want to lace up my shoes and get out there.
After crossing the finish line at my first race, I knew this was something I wanted to keep doing for as long as my body allowed me to. I looked into half marathons in New Jersey that I could run when I moved back for school and Caitlyn, who had never run a half marathon before, happily jumped on the bandwagon with me. Soon enough we were signed up for Morristown’s Halloween half marathon!
When race day finally arrived, the temperature dropped to 30 degrees and the 45 minutes we spent at the starting line waiting for the race to start (spirits high, of course!) still makes my bones shiver.
It wasn’t until we were closing in on mile 10 that I realized how greater this experience was compared to my first race and it was all because I had my friend running next to (and sometimes ahead of) me, and thank goodness for that! Caitlyn and I tend to have horrible luck with weather on race days. The second half marathon we ran together was the following May in Fort Lett and it was cold and rainy and we were pissed even before the race started. I only got more pissed as the miles went on because all I could focus on was the water sloshing around in my shoes with every step I took. Every. Single. Step. For. 13.1 Miles.
I know for a fact I totally would have bailed on this race if someone else weren’t running it with me. Who wants to run six and a half miles up crazy cliffs in the rain and then slip and slide your way back down? I certainly didn’t and I’m pretty sure Caitlyn didn’t want to either, but we showed up and pushed our way through. Mother Nature finally backed off around mile 11 and it stopped raining. Coincidentally so did our (read: my) bitching.
The finish line was in sight and I swear I nearly cried tears of joy. I could NOT wait for this race to be over and to take my water-filled shoes and wet socks off. This is still the most miserable I have ever been during a run, but somehow we broke a personal record (PR) and finished in 2 hours and 24 minutes (our new PR is 2 hours and 20 minutes). Something about being miserable, cold and wet must have made us haul ass.
If your excuse to not sign up for a half marathon is that you don’t know if you’ll be able to stick to it, get someone to do it with you! Running buddies are the greatest and change the course of your race, literally and figuratively. They make the 5 a.m. wake up calls on race day slightly tolerable, make sure you finish that long training run, get pumped with you at the starting line (nothing pumps Caitlyn and I up like blasting Hamilton and singing at the top of our lungs in the car), bitch with you at mile 11 and celebrate with you at the finish line. They certainly don’t judge you for the insane amount of food you inhale after the race either because they’re right there demolishing just as many calories with you!
Most importantly, they take the attention off of you from time to time because they need cheering on too. You’ll carry each other through the race, and that’s the best part for me.
So stop reading this and go find yourself a running buddy! They don’t have to already be a runner. If you can be as persuasive as I was, you’ll be able to convince someone to take this journey with you. They just won’t be as cute as my running buddy. Sorry!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagramfor more of my running adventures!
Deciding to register for a half marathon when you’ve never ran one before and your version of exercise is getting up to check if anything new has appeared in the fridge is understandably intimidating. But despite what the fear inside your head is telling you, running a half marathon is an achievable goal.
In case you still need convincing here are 13.1 of my favorite reasons why half marathons are the best:
The Training Won’t Consume Your Entire Life
Don’t get me wrong, training for a half marathon is quite the commitment. But compared to the typical 16-20 week training period for a full marathon, most half marathon training plans are only 12 weeks long. Even better, it only starts to become slightly more time consuming during the last three to four weeks when your long runs get really long and your recovery runs aren’t just three miles anymore.
Your Bank Account Won’t Curse You
This might be the best part about training for college students (or anyone that’s on a tight budget!). While you do need to put in the effort and time into training for a half marathon, it’s fairly inexpensive. Aside from the $30-$100 registration fee (the earlier you register, the cheaper it’ll be) and $50-$120 running shoes there’s no recurring fee that comes along with training for a half-marathon. Who needs a gym membership when you can just lace up your shoes and enjoy the outdoors while getting your training run in? Trust me, it’s way more exciting than running on a treadmill!
Athletic Wardrobe Upgrade
My favorite reason of them all! You’ll be exercising five times a week when training for a half marathon. That means you need at least 5 outfits you can work out in depending how often you do laundry. While completely unnecessary, training for a half marathon is a perfect reason to update your athletic wardrobe if this is something you are going to see through. As the number of races I’ve run has grown, so has the number (and quality!) of athletic wear I own.
Aerobic Endurance of Steel
If there’s another type of person that has better aerobic endurance than a half marathoner or marathoner, I’d love to talk (and potentially work out) with them. When you’re out there running five times a week and increasing your mileage for 12 weeks there’s no getting around that increase of aerobic endurance! This increase is valuable because it will translate to any other workout you do. That H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training) workout your friend wants you to do with them might seem scary but you’ll make it through. You’ll even recover much faster than you would if you weren’t a runner!
The Racing Environment
Some days you might not enjoy running out there by yourself. Come race day you’ll be surrounded by hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of runners that share the same excitement, passion and motivation you have. The energy at the starting line, out on the course and across the finish line is unlike anything you’ll experience. I’ve finished races faster than I expected just because I was oblivious to the fact that I was running. There was just too much excitement going on around me!
Just the Right Amount of Exhausting
Half marathons are awesome because once you’ve finished those 13.1 miles you’re exhausted but you’re not destroyed. You’ll definitely be sore, tired and in need of food and a nap but you should be fully recovered in a day or two compared to the week of recovery you might need after running a full marathon! What’s even better is your recovery time shortens with each half marathon you train for and complete.
I’m Just Here for the Bling
There is no motivation to get to the finish line like thinking about the awesome medal that’s waiting for you! Hobbling around and showing it off for the rest of the day is one of the most awesome feelings you’ll ever experience. The bigger and more popular the race, the bigger the medal! My first half marathon was the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, Florida back in 2015 and the only thing better than the race itself was the awesome medal. Look at how cute it is! It’s still my favorite.
Nothing has built my confidence like getting through those long runs and then crossing the finish line, especially as someone that grew up with ZERO athletic experience. If someone told me in high school during all those awkward and uncomfortable days in gym class that I would run even one half marathon I would have thought they were just mocking me.
There’s No Party like a Post-Race Party
Running a 5k or even a 10k is fun, but it’s not that big of a deal. Half marathons are a bigger accomplishment. Waiting to celebrate at the finish line is typically a DJ, free food and samples of protein bars and supplements. You’ll find all sorts of stuff you’ll want to stuff in your bag before you limp back to your car.
Not Many People Have This Accomplishment
When you’re at the starting line for a race it might feel like the whole world is there and you’re going to be trampled and left in the dust. But much to your surprise it’s actually a much smaller number. According to Running USA only 1,986,600 people in the United States completed a half marathon in 2015. That may sound like a lot but compared to the more than 300 million people that live in the United States it’s hardly even a fraction! Being part of that small number is a crazy accomplishment. Getting to be part of the even smaller number of people that have run multiple half marathons is even crazier!
Calories on Fire!
This has never been an important part of training for me, and it shouldn’t be for you either. Regardless of your motivation, you are obviously going to burn more calories than you did before you started training. You’ll notice the number on the scale going down the further you get into your training.
13.1 miles of the Rock Star Treatment
Like I said earlier, those long training runs can get tedious and boring when you’re out there by yourself. On race day this will be totally different. You get 13.1 miles of people you don’t even know cheering you on and empowering you to the finish line, and you’ll feel like a total rock star!
Since my lifestyle is still “broke-college student” and is about to transition to “broke graduate paying back student loans” I’ve only run local races. They’re convenient and inexpensive. But for those of you with a little more wiggle room in your budget, signing up for a half marathon in another city or state can be turned into a mini weekend getaway. New Orleans, Boston, Chicago, Disney…the possibilities are endless! Just keep in mind you’re running 13.1 miles at the end of it, so don’t do anything too crazy while you’re there.
13.1 The “I Just Crossed the Finish Line” Feeling
The coolest part of the whole process is crossing the finish line and seeing all of your hard work and dedication pay off. You just ran 13.1 miles, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish! Like eating an entire pizza afterwards, for example. And yes…by yourself.