Post # 1
I am trying to get up the guts for a half marathon. I would like some advice:
What are the key things I should look for?
Is it better to go for a local race vs. a more interesting but distant location?
Which half marathons have you run and what was your opinion of each?
Which half marathon would you run if you were choosing one?
When is the best time of year?
Is a brand new race a bad idea? What about a new location for an established race?
Post # 3
I would advise you to run a race close to home. I was really nervous before my first half even without added stress that traveling can cause. Check the course elevation. If you will be training in a hilly area, then a hilly course is obviously ok. However, if you will be training somewhere flat, then you should probably stick to a flat course. In terms of time of year, that probably depends on where the race is and where you train. I once ran a half in 90 degree heat for which my warmest long run in training was 60…not brilliant. I have run new races that were well executed and established ones that were awful. On average I would guess established races have fewer kinks, but I would make this a deciding actor.
Post # 4
Eh – honestly, I haven’t put nearly this much thought into the races I’ve run and they’ve all been great. The races I’ve run have all been very different (locales, elevations, surface types, course entertainment, distance from home, etc).
I’ve run the following:
- Death Valley Half Marathon in CA – out and back road course, no entertainment
- Rose Bowl Half Marathon in CA – primarily trail course, no entertainment
- Rock and Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans – road course, tons of course entertainment
I’m also going to be running the Disney Half Marathon in January in FL.
Honestly, I’d pick one you think looks fun and just go with it. Try not to over-analyze the choice so much and just have fun with it.
Post # 5
As far as time of year, consider how long you’ll need to train for the race and the weather conditions in the months preceding race day. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want about 4 months to train. Given that Ohio winters can be brutal, you might want to look for an early summer race. I would also pick an established race, as the organization for new races can be a little spotty, and not the best for your first race. Pick one with good crowd support to help energize you through the finish line; the Rock ‘n Roll series are well known for great crowd support and lots of fun. I would also register for some shorter intermediate races during your training so that you can get used to the race day procedures. Sign up for a 5, 10, and 15ks that match up with your training schedule, if you can.
Post # 6
@Mrs.KMM: I did the Disney Princess Half Marathon and it was SO much fun! Seriously, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The only thing was that the shuttle from the hotel left ridiculously early so and we hadn’t realized it would be that cold in Florida in March (40 degree weather) so we were just waiting around in the cold for what felt like forever.
But Disney does it up – DJs, bands, characters (!!), so awesome. I expect the regular Half Marathon would have fewer runners in tutus and tiaras but who knows? Have a great time!
Post # 7
I see that you are in Ohio. The Cincinatti Flying Pig marathon (which has a half option) is an AMAZING race. So much fun (this coming from someone who has run the NYC, Chicago, and Berlin marathons, so it says a lot if such a small town race can compare). If you in northern Ohio, the Detroit marathon has a half option that goes into Canada, so that makes it quite the experience. I agree with Shamrock76’s points. I am not a fan of the RnR series (at all), but I generally do full marathons and RnR treats full marathoners like red headed step children.
Post # 8
@Fairy Penguin: Oh – we are still planning to tutu it up anyways! 🙂 Me and 4 of my good girlfriends are running it together. My little sister in my sorority from college is crazy and is doing the Goofy challenge (1/2 marathon on Sat. and full marathon on Sun.). We’re all running the half with her in support.
It’s in January though so I bet it will be chilly in the morning before the start.
Post # 9
@Mrs.KMM: Wow…I have never heard of the Goofy Challenge but that sounds intense! I’m sure she will appreciate your support. You are all going to have the best time!
Post # 10
I haven’t traveled more than an hour away for races, though I’ve definitely thought about doing it eventually. I think I’d pick a race close to home for my first.
Spring is my favorite time of year to run. I’d much rather train through winter than through summer! I hate running in the heat. My first half marathon was actually in January.
I’ve run 13 half marathons, my favorites have been the ones that run through rural settings, as I just love running with nothing to distract from nature.
Post # 11
Like @missrobots: I also much prefer to train through winter. Running in the heat SUCKS!! Even in the 70s it’s uncomfortable. I love running in the winter. It sounds scary, but once you learn what to wear, you can layer such that you are perfectly comfortable– not too hot, not too cold. That’s never an option in summer. I prefer urban runs, but my first marathon was NYC, and I fell in love with it and crossed the finish line hooked on marathons (I thought I’d be one and done, I’ve now done 8).
Post # 12
I’m training for my first– Philly in a month. I’d say the biggest thing is calendar. When will you have a month straight for training. I’m now doing 3 45-60 minute runs a week after work, which isn’t the easiest because it is my busy time. Also, my long runs take 90-110 minutes. Add stretching and showering, it is normally 3 hours of a weekend day and makes me pretty tired come 9pm. I wish I would have done one in a less busy time of year.
I also have found that I’m a good solo runner. I would like a local half more than a big half, but I am doing the big half because Future Sister-In-Law is doing the full.
Post # 13
For you first half, I definitely recommend sticking close to home. I was a nervous wreck, but knowing the landmarks as I passed them while running made it seem not so bad, plus more people could come out and cheer me on (my mom and Fiance, ha!). Around here (St. Louis) there’s two big half marathons – one in April and one in October (there are smaller ones as well, but those two draw the biggest crowds). For me, when deciding, I wanted one where I wouldn’t have to train during the summer, so I picked April…plus it was two days after my birthday so it was kinda neat.
Post # 14
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I ran my first half in my town (Gainesville, FL, at the time), and I was really glad I did. I’m thankful that I slept the night before in my own bed, ate my normal breakfast, only had to be there like 30 minutes before the start, etc. It was still a big race… like maybe 2000 people in the half and full together?
I’ve also run one at Disney. it is fun, but it is such a pain and such a commitment and costs so much money. Plus, Darling Husband couldn’t be there with me (or rather, at the finish line).