The Half Marathon Newb Guide

Running your first half marathon is TERRIFYING! Why? Because who is supposed to know what to expect when they run 13.1 miles? That's an insane distance to run! Are you getting ready to run your first half marathon? Are you about to explode with nerves, excitement and anticipation? Well allow my best friend friend and newly crowned half marathoner Stephanie Downes fill you in on everything you need to know for that killer first half marathon!

The Half Marathon Newb Guide

By Stephanie Downes


-"Bib": The paper looking number thing you put on your shirt. (You'll probably have to go out of your way to a giant expo center to pick it up. Make sure you have all documents necessary to retrieve said bib! (bring your ID, patience and a signed form if it’s required. There may be free alcohol, beer is carb. Have a beer. Or 2.)

-The night before select 2 of the 3 following to freak out about --

  1. What you'll eat for dinner (is carbo loading a thing?).
  2. Will your favorite sports bra will be done line drying by 5am?
  3. Long or short sleeve shirt? Pants or shorts? (Go for short sleeve and take a throw away blanket. Bottoms...your on your own.)

Kill the third concern with half a Benadryl and a melatonin. It's going to be fine, go to bed!

-If you’re running with a friend, pretend like your race day partner in crime is someone you've been on ONE date with. Don't blow their phone up the night before! (Warning: They might Instagram your stupidity if you do)


Bad things that might happen before the race…

The Half Marathon Newb Guide
  1. The race may start late.
  2. You'll be cold.
  3. Your watch won’t find a satellite.
  4. You will run late.
  5. You will get lost trying to find security/start line/corral.
  6. You'll be nervous while also trying to act like it’s your 4th half and you are running this as a prep to your marathon in 20 days (nobody has to know!).
  7. There won’t be bathrooms.
  8. There will be long lines for the bathrooms.
  9. There won’t be toilet paper.
  10. People will step on your feet when you’re in your corral.

The race begins! Here's how this just might go down...

The Half Marathon Neweb Guide
  • On mile 1 you'll be packed in like a sardine and feel like you have ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.
  • You'll have to pee on mile 3 and poop on mile 4.
  • At mile 6 you might realize you've actually never ran more than 6 miles without a little rest break. NO REST BREAKS! Just take your energy gel (straight to the back of the throat recommended) and stride it out.
  • Okay mile 8! That’s basically mile 9, which is pretty much double digits, and that is how many digits are in 13 so you're essentially done. JK. You have 5.1 to go. Work it.
  • Now you're actually at mile 10. Check in. Do you want to die? No, you don't because you're a boss. So pick it up! Think about the 5 artisanal donuts you're going to crush after this hell.
  • Mile 11! Think about the crowd cheering for you at the end, especially the bearded hipster dude with his vintage bike and a sleeve of tats (for sure there supporting his sister). Ya you made eye contact, that's the real life equivalent of a mushroom in Mario kart💥. Let's go!
  • Mile 12 don’t check out! Don’t think about how much your hips (yes hips WTF how?), knees, and calves hurt don’t think about how much you’re OVER it. Just find someone ahead of you and catch them, then do that 8 more times YOLO.
The Half Marathn Newb Guide


The Half Marathn Newb Guide

YOU DID IT...ALMOST. Except wait, there’s a speed walking mom ahead of you, ugh OKAY COOL whatever! You can still pretend like you’re Ben Afleck in Armageddon (what a champ)!

You raise your hands in celebration before the finish line and accidentally walk across it because things are confusing and life is hard. Said race day partner in crime is looking like she just got done taking a disco nap, but you’re wiping the single tear off your face because IT’S A BIG DEAL, YOU RAN A HALF MARATHON! And it’s okay to have an emotion! You did this thing that your friends scoffed at for months, you did this thing that you’ve been saying you were going to do out loud just so you’d have to do it. All of your lame Friday nights so you could get up and run on Saturday mornings were worth it (also you love having an excuse to be in bed by 10 while watching gossip girl). The blisters and chafing were half worth it. You’re a serious runner now, you don’t have time for a boyfriend anyways!

The Half Marathn Newb Guide

Final thoughts may include but aren’t limited to:

  • I could have kept going.

  • That sucked/ruled so much!

  • Should I have a coffee or beer first?

  • What’s the turnaround time on the race photos?

  • Omg it’s only 9am!

  • This medal is huge and also a bottle opener!

  • Why doesn’t my phone have service?!? How will I snap chat!?!?!

  • YES please foil blanket!

  • NO thank you chocolate milk!

Then finally you ask your best marathon friend “so…. in April there’s a marathon in London?”...

The Half Marathn Newb Guide

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.