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Natasha Neal

Natasha Neal

7. Safety When It’s Speedy

Tempo work (or interval speed training) is key too. This part of your training is going to teach your body what it feels like to push and what it feels like to pull back. So first figure out what you think you want your race pace to be and then work from there. Add a weekly run where you test these limits. For instance my favorite tempo interval workout is to run at race pace for five minutes followed by five minutes of a slower tempo (about one minute slower than my race pace). I made this formula up and it works for me, however if you want more intense tempo training info then check out this fartlek training resource.

However no matter how you choose to gauge these metrics I recommend the TomTom Runner Cardio GPS Watch with built-in Heart Rate Monitor. Not only will you not get lost on your long runs, you’ll be able to monitor your intensity through your heart rate levels and gauge how your overall speed effects your performance. This is a running gadget must have indeed.

8. The Terrain On Which You Train

Last tip on the running portion of training (because yes there’s more to half marathon training than running) is to change up the terrain on which you train. Running on a treadmill may be the most convenient option (especially in the winter) however since your race will most likely be a road race, you want to be sure to take your training outdoors. Not only will the boredom that the treadmill provides be eliminated this terrain change will properly prepare your body for all the elements that outdoor running provides – such as natural incline (read: hills), resistance (read: wind) etc. All of this effects how you run, so switch up your terrain!

9. Cross Train No Matter What

Cross training. Many people skip this entirely and I do not understand why. Simply put, cross training as a runner is like having car insurance while driving. You may not always use it, but when you need it it’s there. And if you don’t have it and you need it, well you’re screwed. For instance many new runners are like, “Hills kill my legs!” or “My back is so sore after long runs.” Well if you are cross training and throwing in some squats, planks, push ups etc. on your non running days, then your overall running game will thank you later. So no matter what–two words: Cross. Train.

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Natasha Neal

Natasha Neal

10. Roll Out To Yoga

Yoga and self massage/myofascial release training is key too. When I am in training season, I commit to whipping out my classic PRO Manduka yoga mat at least once a week and I foam roll with my TriggerPoint Mini GRID Foam Roller before (and if needed after) all my runs. These two practices combined make a huge difference, plus they are easy to transport–peep how my mini foam roller just loops nicely onto my backpack. No excuses beauties, get your roll on and roll out to yoga while you train for your first half marathon and I promise you won’t regret it come race day.

11. Dress To Impress

Now on to my favorite part: the fashion. What you clock your miles in is essential ladies, so let me share my faves. There are tons of options that are not only fashionable but functional, however there are three must haves that I can’t run without. First up, the running tight. Unlike your traditional workout leggings, running tights are going to be laced with some type of compression technology. This is crucial not only in the training process but in the recovery process since this helps reduce inflammation, maintain muscle alignment and so much more. The Nike Dri-FIT Epic Run Lux Crop (shown above and available at Six:02) are my fav this season.

Then up top, the perfect sports bra is a non negotiable ladies. The bounce factor your girls undergo mile after mile is the real deal, so really invest in a maximum support brassiere for this half marathon endeavor. P.S. A great adorable, functional and affordable option is over at your favorite store Target. The C9 Champion® Women’s High Support Sports Bra With Molded Cup is my number one go to, and since they are priced so low you should “low key” get a few.

Another must have ladies is sunglasses. Not many people mention this when it comes to running gear but I believe, at least from a beauty perspective, sunglasses are super important when it comes to squinting reduction. Real talk. Think about it–whether you are super focused on finishing mile 10 or trying to block the sun from your pretty eyes on mile 10, two hours or more (the average time it takes run a half marathon) of squinting can really put some serious stress on the muscles around your eyes. Hello crows feet.

Be a little vain and pick up a stylish pair from my friends over at Oakley just to be safe. The Be Unstoppable (how appropriate) can be found exclusively at Sunglass Hut and are not only super sleek yet sporty, but they are also crazy light.

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Natasha Neal

Natasha Neal

12. Eat To Run, Don’t Run To Eat

Many new runners think, “Oh I’m running umpteen miles a week, I can eat whatever I want.” Uhm wrong. Yes you’re burning more calories than normal while you’re training, but try not to use this time as an excuse to wild out on your diet. Instead slightly increase your carb intake on the days that you run (key word slightly) and make sure that you’re eating an overall balanced diet.

The other mistake new runners make–not eating enough. Clocking miles upon miles is also not an excuse to participate in extreme dieting beauties. Your body needs the proper fuel to perform well so when it comes to your diet during this time commit to eating to run, not running to eat. A great source on this (that kind of changed my life) is Eat & Run by ultramarathoner Scott Jurek.

13. Hydrate, Refuel, Experiment, Repeat

Did you know that what you gulp and grub on while you are running is essential too. Everybody and every body is different, so experimentation in this area is super important. For instance (from practice) I know I can’t do dairy before a run or even after (if it’s a long one). I tried it, had a bad experience and pow lesson learned. So be open to this process and find the right refueling techniques that work for you.

Any run over an hour needs some type of refueling option. Some people like products like Gu Energy Gels whereas some folks prefer to keep it natural and just stick to things like peanut butter or raisins during their runs. However no matter what your refueling preference may be, all of us have to hydrate. I love this hydration belt from Fitletic. It’s crazy light and I recommend you get one stat. Not only is it perfect for toting your water, it’s also fantastic for carrying your phone, keys, ID etc.

Bottom line find out what refueling and hydrating practices are good for you and test them out before race day. Repeat after me – absolutely nothing new on race day. The last thing you want is to have an upset stomach after you take off from the starting line.

I believe in you beauties. Run toward your destiny and don’t forget to send me an invite to your post race party! ;)

Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!

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