Editor’s note: MRG contributor Jenna Chapman, who is a sophomore at Michigan State University, is running her first half marathon this weekend — the Clarkston State Bank Back Roads Half Marathon is this Sunday, Nov. 8. Good luck, Jenna! ~MRG

By Jenna Chapman
MRG Contributor

Making the decision to run your first half marathon is a big step. Well, it is actually many, many steps over a long period of time (see what I did there?).

So what exactly are the factors to take into consideration before starting a training program? There were a few main aspects that drove my decision to attempt the 13.1.

First, I made a New Year’s Resolution for 2015 to run a half marathon, and I really don’t like backing out on goals that I make. Even though I’m running the race near the end of the year, I chose my race carefully. I knew that I wanted to train during the summer/fall. When choosing a race, keep in mind what kind of schedule you will have in the weeks leading up to it.


Second, my dad inspired me. He ran his first half last year, and ever since I knew that it was something I needed to check off my running bucket list. I am especially excited that we are running the race together. If you ever have a chance to train with a family member, I highly recommend it. Family members can hold each other accountable. It is hard to skip out on a run when you live with your running partner! For that same reason, family running is very rewarding. Working toward a common goal strengthens your relationship and is super fun.

MRG Contributor Jenna Chapman is also a member of the MSU Running Club.
MRG Contributor Jenna Chapman is also a member of the MSU Running Club.

Also, a huge positive aspect to training for a half marathon is the actual accomplishment of finishing the race. Often, runners can get stuck in the same routine of running the same routes and distances week after week. When you commit to a training program, it provides inspiration to change up your workouts. There is a huge variety of training plans, and I found mine through a Pinterest search. I think the best thing to keep in mind while choosing a training program is flexibility. Plans are meant to be a guide, but it is important to listen to your body and keep with whatever work or social schedule you already have.

After making my initial decision, deciding whom I wanted to run with and what training program was right for me, I landed on my choice of running the Clarkston State Bank Back Roads Half Marathon. I choose this race because I loved the idea of running on back roads/trails. I looked at the course map for many half marathons while I was researching, and this route looked great because there was variation. It wasn’t just a straight out-and-back course. I also looked at the location of the race and read all the FAQs on the race website. The research really helped me decide on which half marathon to sign up for!

There is a bit of thought that goes into signing up for your first half, but I am very happy that I did it! With my race just a few days out, I’m really looking forward to the experience.

Jenna will share her half marathon experience in an upcoming post here on MRG. Go get it, Jenna!

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