My First Half Marathon Recap & Tips for Beginners

Half Marathon 4

{Trying to look like I wasn’t about to absolutely keel over after the half marathon!}

Ok. So about eight weeks ago I was reading an article online about the Nike Sydney Women’s Half Marathon to be held at Sydney Olympic Park on the 3rd of July. I don’t know if it was the half a bottle of wine I’d had that Saturday night but I decided at the drop of a hat to sign up. I’d texted a couple of friends to see if they wanted to do it with me but no one was all that keen. But I decided that this half marathon was something I wanted to do & so I hit the sign up button.

Now I want to let you all know that my fitness levels were probably nowhere near where they should’ve been when I signed up but I figured that I enjoy running (it really helps me to clear my mind & think) & I could train a little extra in the lead up. The information on the half marathon website also said that walkers were welcome so I thought, what the hell & signed up!

I’ve been training at the gym using  the Run 5K app that helps you go from 0 to 5K with interval training & I figured I could simply do the same thing in the half marathon. Since I wasn’t running with any friends, I could set my intervals to the music I was listening to – run for one song, walk for one song.

Finally the day arrived & I headed out to Sydney Olympic Park with my unbelievably lovely & supportive parents who still couldn’t really believe that I was going to run a half marathon! We got out around 7am & I was in awe of what Nike had set up. There were tents where you could get your hair professionally braided, nails done & flash tattoos put on! Little coffee carts were there (thankfully for Mum & Dad!) & a huge big #WERUNSYD covered in girls getting photographs! There was also a huge banner which had all of the names of the women who’d signed up (including me!) – that’s the banner behind me in the top photograph.

Half Marathon 3

{This was the #WERUNSYD sign! It was huge!}

So. Now for the half marathon itself.

When we all lined up to get started I was freezing! It is the middle of winter in Sydney after all. So we were all jogging on the spot to keep warm. Then finally it was time to go! Big smoke cannon things were set off by the start line as we set off & I have to say it was absolutely exhilarating! I jogged the first couple of kilometres then when I hit the 4km mark I started my intervals. I have to admit, I moved a lot faster on the pavement than I do in the gym but the pavement was a hell of lot faster but the impact was a lot more! Once I got to the 8km point I was starting to feel pretty tired so my running intervals were limited to downhills! Once I got to the 14km mark I was absolutely exhausted I have to admit. I walked the rest of the way from then & to be honest I was feeling absolutely shattered by the 18km point!

One thing I would definitely recommend is to bring energy with you. At 7am on a Sunday I wasn’t crazy hungry & only had a banana before I started. I also mistakenly thought that energy gels were being handed out on the course along with water but they weren’t there by the time I got there! I think they may have had the energy gels along the course but I missed out & next time I will absolutely pack some with me so I don’t run out of steam! Another thing I would do differently is rug up a little more! I was wearing a Uniqlo heat tech long sleeve top under my tank top & shin-high socks under my full length leggings but I was still pretty chilly!

Once I got to the finish line, I was so exhausted but absolutely elated to have done it! Nike had set up food trucks & a little van selling fruit juice. There was also a huge gold glitter sign with Nike’s other hashtag, #BETTERFORIT which really summed up the whole half marathon.

What I would suggest for beginners is to make sure you’re hydrated before you start, pack energy with you (whether it’s a banana or energy gels), make sure you dress for the weather (wear a jacket that keeps you warm but can be easily tied around your waist if you get too hot!) & reward yourself afterwards! I had an absolutely delicious pulled pork roll & mixed citrus juice which just was amazingly, insanely good after 3 & a half hours of half marathon-ing!

Also, remember to stretch! You’ll be sore the next day regardless but stretching definitely helps to lessen muscle soreness the next day.

Always remember that even finishing is an amazing achievement & you should be proud of yourself for signing up in the first place & getting to the end!