How to Train for a Half Marathon Like a Boss

So, you’ve signed up for a half-marathon eh? Congrats! I can only imagine the excitement and nerves. One of my happiest moments in my life was when I completed my first half marathon in Fall 2013. It was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (sad they stopped that race) and it was a magical experience. It’s pretty crazy to think that this Sunday I’m going to run my 7th half marathon, this time in Santa Cruz!

Now I am no expert or certified coach, but I am someone who’s had a fair share of trial and error when preparing for half marathons. Here are some tips I wish I had when I first started training:

Planning

  • Select a race! This part is so exciting and what makes training so much more real! When choosing a race think about what matters to you: is it the cost, the location, the scenery, the course terrain, the date? Then use sites like Running in the USA to help you find the perfect race.
  • Find a training plan: The Nike Run Club app is a great place for a customized plan otherwise the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Guide is a reliable resource. Or maybe you want to do some research and join an in-person training group ( I LOVE this option).
  • Choose your long-run day: it’s important to dedicate one day out of the week for your long-run. I’ve personally prefer Saturday as mine!

Workouts

  1. Run at least 3 times a week: Personally, I usually run no more than 4 times a week because my body does get quite tight from running so I like to cross-train or strength train instead on other days.
  2. Speaking of strength training, Make sure you’re doing. I neglected strength training when I first started running half marathons and it was a big mistake that led to injury. I find it especially important to strengthen your core & glutes because we easily forget about those two when running. I highly recommend POP Pilates videos for core work!
  3. Find a buddy: Running partners are great for accountability and motivation. They are super helpful for long runs.  Ten miles by yourself may sound daunting, but with a friend or two to keep you company, those miles fly by easily.
  4. Foam rolling is your new best friend. Foam roll, stretch, or do yoga on a consistent basis to help relieve muscle tightness for ideal recovery. You should be scheduling time for foam rolling in your training regime.

^ugh I miss these necklaces…

Nutrition

  1. Training for a half marathon isn’t an excuse to eat/drink everything in sight…unfortunately. Eat wholesome, nutrient-dense meals when training for a half marathon. Don’t overdo alcohol, caffeine, and heavy foods.
  2. Be mindful of what you eat the night before and the morning of long-runs and races. For dinner I’ll have a lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbs. For breakfast, I’ll eat a smaller portion of overnight oats, a smoothie or fruit before a run. Then, I like to refuel with some protein and carbs.
  3. For long runs, make sure you are carrying water, enough calories, and possibly electrolytes. I like taking Gu chomps for runs longer than 70-80 minutes and I recently started to hydrate with Nuun after my longer runs.

Mind

  1. Stay relaxed and have fun! Along with physical fitness,  mental fitness is super important when training for a half marathon. Don’t stress if you aren’t following the plan perfectly (here are some tips if you are struggling with motivation). Listen to your body throughout the process. In the end, it’s only a race!

Feeling ready yet? Now go own this race! Please reach out if you’d like any more tips or have any other questions.

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The Half Marathon That Didn’t Happen – Recovering from My First Injury

 You know how they say you aren’t a real runner until you get injured?

Well maybe that isn’t a saying but I feel like all runners have experienced some sort of pain or injury with the sport. Running has many great benefits but unfortunately, some side-effects too.

I was supposed to run my seventh half marathon yesterday at the San Francisco Marathon but instead I’m writing this post to whine about my injury.

Fine, it’s not that bad but I can be impatient at times.

Here is what I think happened: I undertrained & overexerted.

First, I went SoulCycle the day before a 13-mile practice run and in hindsight, I should have rested. Especially since I had not run more than 4-5 miles consecutively that month so my body was not ready for distance.

The first miles were fine but after a few hills I felt a numb pain in my left knee. I figured my body needed to warm up before it felt better so I kept going. Fast-forward to mile 8 and the pain is getting progressively worse and half mile later, I could barely walk!

I think I was suffering from “sleepy glutes” and I overcompensated my stride with a lot of hip action. Not so good on my IT band and hamstrings. I had to cut my run short and felt pain walking up and down stairs for a few days. Once the pain subsided, I tried running again only to find myself in pain after 2-3 miles. Darn.

Even though I really wanted to run the half, I made the smart decision to rest. I’m still staying active by doing more yoga, POP Pilates, and rock-climbing! I’ve been stretching/foam rolling a lot more and have gotten a couple of sports massage (which are the complete opposite of relaxing).

I don’t know when I can start running again…hopefully soon since I should start training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in San Jose! Wish me a speedy recovery :).

My First 5K and 10K with Sevathon

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running-crissy-fields

When I began college, I begrudgingly started running in attempt to avoid the Freshman 15. It really didn’t like it but I knew I needed to do something to stay fit.

Only when I began racing did I find my love for running.

My first race was a 5k at the Sevathon walkathon/race in July 2010. The race was hosted by the Indian Community Center to enable nonprofits in our community to deliver their message and further their causes.

My mom persuaded me to try the 5K with her and her friends to support a few of the nonprofits. I figured that if my mom could do it, I could too – right?

So there I was at a race with my mom and a bunch of aunties (whom I love dearly by the way). At this point, I had never run 3 miles straight so a 5K felt like a huge deal. I was nervous but I gave it my all and I ended up finishing first in my division!

Two years later I raced my first 10K at Sevathon. I chose Sevathon because I wanted to be in a supportive, encouraging environment for this new challenge. So there I was again with my mom, her friends, and an incredibly supportive South Asian community.

Since then I’ve raced several 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathon but Sevathon is where it all really started. It’s scary to think that if it weren’t for my mom and the Indian community, I may have never convinced myself to do a race at all!

Thank you Sevathon for putting on such an amazing event and for inspiring people like me to become passionate runners.

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P.S. There is still time to register for this year’s race! It’ll take place on June 26th in Downtown San Jose. If you’re interested, you can actually sign-up here! I’m planning on signing-up for the 5K :).

*This post is not sponsored. I wanted to genuinely to write about how Sevathon has positively influenced me 🙂

Race Recap: Bay to Breakers 2016

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I plan on doing many race recaps in the near future & I wanted to start the series off with a very unique race: Bay to Breakers. Most people actually forget about the “race” portion of Bay to Breakers.

It’s a day where people dress up in costume, drink in the streets, and party as if they were back in college.

My boyfriend and I decided to run and then join in on the festivities :).

Bay to Breakers is a 12k run that’s been taking place for over 100 years (started in 1912 as a way to boost morale after the 1906 earthquake). The race starts in downtown near the embarcadero and finishes at the end of Golden Gate Park. As for the course, it’s relatively flat/downhill for San Francisco except for a huge hill at mile 2 known as the “Hayes Hill” .

The start line is packed with all kinds of runners/participants, I don’t even know where to start. You can tell people really put time into some of the costumes & some looked like they were doing this for decades. I was even surprised to see families with little kids ready for the event.

I also don’t understand the tradition of throwing tortillas in the air at the start line but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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We also spotted a group of centipede runners.

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Our costume was sort of a last minute decision – we were a Lyft line. We threw on a couple of mini-lyft moustaches, pinned a balloon on our head to symbolize a pin drop, and even had rope to symbolize the line.

Yes, I did run a 12k with a balloon on my head.

I was super excited to run B2B but was in no means trying to race it. The first a couple of miles are filled with people drinking, walking, and having a good time. Once you pass the Pan Handle the crowd starts to clear up and it feels like a real race.

We ended up walking/running the race, taking pictures along the way and trying to avoid all the naked-people.

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Even though I didn’t feel like I seriously raced B2B, I was stoked to get my medal at the end to add to my collection!