What Worked, What Didn’t: Half Marathon Edition

Now that I’ve had over a week to rest and recover from my half marathon, I thought I’d explore some things I did and used that worked well for me, and some things that didn’t work at all. (None of the links are affilliate links, just FYI)

Plantronics BackBeat FIT Wireless Headphones
Oh man, these TOTALLY worked! I know they say to never try something new on race day, but the day before my race my mom gave me an early “way to finish your teaching program” present. These ear buds were amazing! I was worried they wouldn’t stay in my ears as nicely as my previous buds, and I didn’t think the over-the-ear design would fit with my glasses. But I was totally wrong! I was able to last the entire 2 hours and almost 40 minutes with them in and didn’t have a single complaint! Awesome sound, easy controls (including volume, which my previous buds didn’t have), and surprisingly comfortable! I barely noticed them most of the time!

Running Playlist
I’m a firm believer that one should not be judged based on the music in their workout playlist. This is no exception. I’m always adding and subtracting songs from this list, but for the most part, it stays the same. There’s enough on it that every run has different songs, but they are all motivational enough to keep me going. Yes, even J-Lo’s song “Booty.”

Nathan’s Trail Mix Hydration Belt
WORKED! I actually bought this a couple months ago, and have been using it on my long runs. It is actually really awesome! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel wearing a belt, particularly one with water bottles. But it fit perfectly to my body, didn’t bounce around, and was awesome to have a place to store my phone, ID, gels, and water. I wore it during the race because there were only 4 water stops, none of which were timed with when I needed to take a gel, and I CANNOT take a gel without water. It wasn’t a problem at all until I finished the race and wanted NOTHING touching me!

GU Gels
Well, they worked in that they gave me the boost I needed to keep going. But MAN do these things taste nasty!

I wore my tried and true Asics short sleeve top (purchased at an outlet mall last fall) and a new pair of Under Armour compression capris. I was planning on wearing the coordinating Under Armour tech shirt, but I’d done a long run with that shirt the week before and got some weird chafing under my arms, so that was a no-go for race day.

I was a smart lady and remembered to use sunscreen. Only I cheaped out and bought Target brand “sport” sunscreen. Even though I applied it about 45 minutes before the race so it’d have time to absorb, it still managed to make me feel slimy and greasy and I feel like it just dripped down my arms, making my hands sticky and yukky. So this definitely did NOT work. Suggestions on a good sport sunscreen?

Garmin Forerunner 10
I love this watch. There’s really no reason for one, especially with cell phones these days, but dang do I love this watch. It helps keep my sanity when I feel like I’m just running in place. It also contributes to my insanity when I feel like I’ve run two miles but it’s only been .2 miles. This watch doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but quite frankly, I don’t need them. The only thing that sucked about it was near the end of the race when I was SO tense and had a wicked knot in my left shoulder. I could barely lift my arm enough to check my watch it hurt so bad. Then it would have been nice to have vocal updates from my phone. But otherwise, I love it!

You know I can’t hate on my Asics GT-2000 3s. Love those suckers!

I have a lot to say about my training. I’d like to say I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, but I didn’t. I mean, I did…to a point. And then with about a month left I discovered I liked his Novice 2 plan better. So I switched plans. Kinda. Then I just sort of made it up as I went along. Then my knee started acting up. So I took some time off to rest. Then I took more time off in the name of “tapering.” And I didn’t do ANY hill training. There was a total of ZERO days of cross training. And the first two months of training were almost exclusively treadmill running, which I have learned is COMPLETELY different from road running. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I’ve noticed I have totally different form on a treadmill than I do on the road. I really think that affected me negatively on race day. I didn’t have the stamina to finish strong. I had ZERO ability to run up a hill, even in the early miles. It was just bad all around. I definitely hit the start line under-prepared.

Next time (yes, there will be a next time) I’m going to have to really focus on my training. I may even hit up a local running store and see about joining a running group or get some guidance to help me be better prepared.

So, what are some running things you have used that you enjoy or hate?


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