Here are four things I will do differently for my future half marathons, and things you could probably consider before you run your first one! If you are an experienced runner, please add your suggestions in the comments - I'd love to hear what I can improve upon for next time!
- I would have run more than 9 miles one time. Yes, running 9 miles on a treadmill was hard but running 13.1 miles when you've never gone that far is hard too. I should have followed my training plan better and had a week that was at least 20+ miles of running instead of topping out at 14.
- I would have carried my own water and Gu with me. Considering the problems people ran into during and after the race with the fire hydrant water offered during the race, and that by the time I got to the water tables there was very little water (if any at all), it's probably more intelligent to look out for yourself than it is to rely on water stations to help you. I guess this means I need a FuelBelt (and I'm taking suggestions).
- I would have tried to make more friends on the course. When I got to mile 10, I was hurting, and if Melissa hadn't found me and finished with me, I'm not sure how I would have felt trekking through the last 3.1 miles. I was under the impression that more people socialized on the course, but it didn't really seem that way to me? But maybe everyone was feeling it by then. Not sure.
- Next time, I'm signing up for a race with a smaller field. A "more organic" race, as someone called it. This race was a great experience but I would likely not do it again. Between the issues with the race, the lack of water on the course (at least for back-of-the-packers like me) and the lack of organization and direction after the race, I am looking forward to my next experience which will be smaller and less congested.
It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost over, and right now I'm working on setting some goals for 2012. Are you? Is running one of them? Is triathlon? What will you do in 2012 that you've never done before?
If you're looking for a little inspiration, this always helps me (and it airs on NBC tomorrow afternoon so you should check out the full broadcast):