[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=marathon&iid=119854″ src=”0116/aa661eb6-0a36-47cd-acb7-2f8aee4375ce.jpg?adImageId=10294109&imageId=119854″ width=”234″ height=”154″ /]1. Learning through experience
The learning curve between my first and second half marathons was steep. Nothing can quite prepare the first timer stepping up to the start line of a longer road race, and there are a lot of pit falls that they are prone to. For this reason alone, it can be incredibly beneficial to get as much experience at shorter races so that you can step up to the start line of your first marathon with a better understanding of pacing, water stations and pre-race nerves.
2. Balancing life and training
Before running my first half marathon, a friend said, “you can still have a social life while training for a half marathon, but it becomes much harder once you’re training for a full marathon.” So far I’ve found this to be true. Often times a runner can get away with three or four runs a week in preparation for a half marathon, while many marathon training programs call for five or six. Learning to balance the demands of family, work and training with the half marathon can go a long way to getting a runner ready to do that with the demands of a full marathon.
3. Fast(er) recovery
Many marathons (such as those in this video) find it preferable to take the day after their marathon off from work to recover. Half marathoners are generally in pretty good shape after their event and generally don’t require much more than some stretching and maybe a nap. This can be a very appealing aspect of the half marathon.
Each year, there seem to be more and more half marathons popping up all over the place, including many stand alone events. A quick survey of the Running Room website showed that in Ontario there are 19 half marathons and six marathons for 2010. Of course not all races are represented on that website, but it’s an interesting sampling to show the many opportunities, locations and types of half marathons that are available in our own back yard.
5. Blending quality and quantity
The half marathon is certainly a respectable distance, and with so much selection available to runners and quick recovery times, you can have your race cake and eat it too! Several half marathons a season isn’t unheard of or even unusual, and the distance is such that it can easily be tagged onto a trip.
6. Same expo and race add ons
Whether you’re running a half marathon or marathon, you have the same access to the other parts of the race, including the expo. Expos are lots of fun with many things to see, do and try. A good number of races also have options for pasta dinners, massages, and other add ons that are available to all participants.
7. Getting friends involved
The only thing better than running a road race, is running a road race with friends. Recruiting friends to run a race with you can be made a much easier task with a half marathon, especially if you drop the “marathon” part and just call it a 13-miler! The distance is challenging, but not undoable, and many are willing to try it out as a group.
If you’re a runner who enjoys the fun and thrills of a race, the costs can definitely add up. The half marathon is often much cheaper, and while not half the price (wouldn’t that be nice!), you can save yourself a pile of dough by opting for the half.
Chances are good that if you’re entering an event with medals, the half marathon will also have them! These medallions can be wonderful mementos of your racing accomplishments, and are usually only four letters different then their full counterparts.
10. A great sense of achievement
Most importantly, there is a huge sense of achievement in setting a goal and achieving it. The half marathon is not really half of anything, it’s an event unto itself with its own challenges and rewards like any other distance. Whether using the half as an incremental step or as a goal unto itself, you’ll be the better for it!