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(morning of my half marathon)

Wow ladies!!! I was shocked by the incredible response you showed to my post on running my first half marathon. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.

Based on the number of comments I received, that post was the most popular post I have ever written for my blog. This tells me either you are some GREAT cheerleaders…… or there are many women reading my blog who are longing to do something big for themselves and for whatever reason, they are not.

I thought I would blog today about the mental hurdles you may face if you are a beginning runner, a runner wanting to run your first race, or 5K-er wanting to bump up to a first half marathon as I just did.

I want you to know that I by no means consider myself an expert on running, but I can relate to every mental roadblock you may put up for yourself. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies.

Since I have read that 90% of running is mental…. once you get the mental part under control, you’ll have no trouble reaching the finish line.

(I ordered this print off ETSY and kept it where I could see it every day while in training)

Here were some popular mental arguments you may have towards running and my responses to each:

I’ve never been a runner.

Me neither. I never ran track in high school. I hated running as conditioning for the other sports I was in. I used to be a smoker (I know…..yuck). I started jogging 8 years ago just to loose baby weight after having my first child. I would jog a little, walk a little, jog a little, walk a little.

About 3 years ago, I ran my first 3 miles without walking a step….. and I thought I was Superwoman.

Then, 2 years ago, I ran my first 5K, then several more of them that summer and then a 5 MILE race that was off road. I got hooked on how good I felt at the end of a race. And I love to compete against myself.

I don’t know how to get started.

My friend Christie at Chic Love blog suggested I follow the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training for Novices which is a 12 week program. I crossed the finish line, so I would say it was a success!

I’ve also heard great things about the Couch to 5K Training Program. Find a program and try to follow it!

And by the way, Christie is in the middle of training for a half marathon. You go girl!

I don’t have time to train.

I completely understand the time constraints that training presents. With 3 small kids, a business to run and a blog to update….time is always an issue for me. The Hal Higdon training program suggested I run a total of 203 miles in prep for my half. I only did 137 miles or 67% of the training. It’s all I could do. I just prayed that God would fill in the gaps for me. And He honored that.

On days when a run wasn’t possible, I would try to do something. Even if it was just run up and down 200 stairs with the kids (which I did several nights). It was better than nothing.

TV, reading and blogging all took backseats for me for 12 weeks. It really is a small amount of time in comparison to the sense of accomplishment you will feel for the rest of your life.

I don’t enjoy running.

Ne neither!!!!! I enjoy how I feel after I run. And… I enjoy eating. ‘Nuf said.

I don’t have good running form.

Is your form better than Phoebe on FRIENDS?

Then you have decent form. I’ll talk about form more on my next running post.

No one will run with me.

Running can be a lonely sport. Some people enjoy the alone time. For me…. I struggled with getting very anxious before my long runs… knowing I’d be uncomfortable and by myself for the next several hours.

Ideally… I think running with someone is so much easier and more enjoyable. See if someone will at least commit to a race with you. But if not, you need to decide if you can do it alone. Cuz’ at the end of the day, running is really just about you and your own willpower.

One way I battled the loneliness of training was by texting my husband or a friend as I ran. Yes, you can text and run. You all know you’ve nursed a baby and put mascara on at the same time. We women are queens of multitasking….text while you run if it helps you. I would just say “mile 2” or “big hill ahead”. It helped me to know someone knew I was out there bustin’ my butt. Besides, I always have my phone on me while running alone just for safety.

I did text and upload to Facebook on race day also. A texter has gotta do what a texter has got to do!

Here’s a pic I took and uploaded to Facebook on mile 9 of my race:

I don’t have any endurance.

Your endurance will both BUILD UP and FADE very quickly. If you are just beginning, start by running a block and then 2 and then 3 and so on. If you are trying to run without walking breaks, I suggest you try slowing down your running speed just a bit to see it that helps.

Just 2 months ago I ran 13.5 miles without walking a step. But just last night I thought I would die just running 2 miles. Trust me on this… you will build up distance quickly. But you will also loose it quickly if you allow too much time in between runs. Stick to your training program.

(another cell phone pic)

It hurts when I run.

Hahaha… no kidding! Clearly there are some people that cannot run for physical reasons… usually knee issues. I know many ex runners turned bicyclists because it’s so much easier on the knees. People who have genuine health issues need to not run. Always check with your doctor!

But I am talking about a person in good health with good knees like myself. I guess I thought that after building up my mileage that eventually the running would be less uncomfortable. NOPE. It didn’t matter if I was running 2 miles or 10…. I would start to run and it would feel horrible and hard and awkward. And I would wonder “why am I doing this?”, “or why does this hurt or that hurt?” or “why did I sign up for this dumb race?”. I really had to determine what aches and pains were genuine and needed attention and for me to back off my training…. and what aches and pains were just part of putting my body thru training and asking it to do something out of it’s comfort zone.

Don’t hurt yourself. But don’t assume running may EVER feel great.

I’m not built like a runner.

Uummmmmmm….. have you seen me? ANYONE can run. I saw people of every age, every shape and every size out there running that half marathon. I love the quote in my running journal that says “Alot of people run a race to see who’s the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts” -Steve Prefontaine.


My biggest mental challenge of the entire half marathon was signing up. I waited and waited until only 2 weeks before the race to sign up. I kept wondering if I had it in me to do. What if I got hurt? What if I just couldn’t do it? There are so many games our mind can play on us. Hitting the submit button on the online application was very emotional for me. Next time I will sign up before my training.

I would suggest that you tell people you are going to run a race. Accountability will take you a long way in your training. No one wants to look like a quitter. The more people you tell, the better.

And, sometimes just ONE person telling you they ABSOLUTELY KNOW you can do it makes all the difference in the world. Find someone who believes in you to talk to.

Other suggestions I have to help get you mentally geared up:

  • Check into a running group. Other people suffering thru miles with you helps.



  • Sign up for “Runner’s World” magazine. I love, love, love that magazine. I am fascinated by the minds and dedication of true athletes.


  • Sign up for “Runner’s World” daily encouragements online. I get stuff like this emailed to me every day:
“What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the day gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.
~John Bigham, running writer and speaker”

And my last tidbit to encourage your running is this statistic from the New York Times:
John Bingham, running writer and speake

“In a 2008 New York Times article about the Half Marathon becoming the hottest new distance in running, it estimates that 650,000 people completed half marathons in the US in 2007. A Google search of the US population for 2007 gives a result of 301M total people. This would make the percentage of half-marathon finishers less than 1%. A pretty special group, eh? “

Please let me know if I can encourage you in your running in any way. I promise you… if I can run a half marathon… anyone can.

(disclaimer to cover my bootie: Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise or running program.)


  • Britt @ The Adventures of Josh and Britt says:

    Good work girl!! Keep it up, you’re such an inspiration!! My hubby and I just started running and are loving it 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    Great post! is also a great running blog! Check it out sometime! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Just 2 months ago I ran 13.5 miles without walking a step. But just last night I thought I would die just running 2 miles. Trust me on this… you will build up distance quickly. But you will also loose it quickly if you allow too much time in between runs. Stick to your training program.

    I could not agree more with this statement!!!
    Great job. . . . could you please motivate me!

  • Christina says:

    GREAT post! I am just starting training for my first 5K my sisters and I are going to run the end of August. (they are already runners) Thanks for the advise and encouragement!

  • Christie says:

    I have another 4 today…I look at the temp and want to why I slept in! Ahhhhh! Half Marathon is right around the corner!

    P.S. Your husband was pretty much the best husband ever during that race! I’m dropping hints to Jonathan daily of what he needs to be doing race day morning!

  • Heidi Marie says:

    This is fantastic. Nothing can get you to where you wanna go better than positive thinking.

    We are just trying to get up the nerves to run our first 5k! I hope to run some half marathons next spring with my sister, who’s a born runner and runs half marathons every other day! My husband and I run every morning and I love seeing my endurance increase.

    Thanks so much for your words!

  • Tiff says:

    I love the half marathon too! One thing I have noticed about myself though, is that if I haven’t signed up for a race, I don’t run. For some reason, having that race date where I know I have to run a distance that I literally can’t run without training, is the only thing that motivates me to go out and run. I think I always need to have a race on my calendar!

  • Laura Lofgreen says:

    I was a runner pre-baby. I can’t wait to get back to it. You look great!

  • Carol says:

    This is such an encouragement to me. Reading all of the “excuses” you listed are exactly the ones that run through my head. I know I want to do this, but I have let the excuses take precedence.

    A really good friend of mine is an avid runner and she has recently said to me, “We’ll get you out there.” She is part of a running group that’s not far from my home. No more excuses.

  • L says:

    SO – I was going to make shirts for me and the kids to wear to your half before you husband brought over the shirts he made. AND the quote was going to be “She believed he could so she did”…NO LIE!!!

    Orthopedic surgeon appointment on Tuesday. Running in the morning. Getting back on track.

    You motivated me!

  • L says:

    oh brother…”she believed SHE could so SHE did”…you knew what I meant!

  • brenda says:

    I have been waiting for this post. Thank you thank you. You inspired me with your first post and since then I have commited to my first 1/2, pulling with me my daughter and several others. I am on week 4 of training and am feeling every step. It is well worth it!! I love the feeling after a good run. Thanx again and I am looking forward to more advise.

  • Blue Artichoke Interiors says:

    Hi! I loved this post and passed along an Honest Scrap blog award to you and just wanted you to know.


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