Photographed by Winnie Au.
Ambition is an admirable trait, especially when it means you've mustered the motivation to sign up for a fitness challenge, such as tackling a half marathon. But, then your good intentions get pushed aside by work obligations and invitations from friends to do anything other than lace up your sneakers. Before you know it, tomorrow is race day and you can't remember the last time you ran, at all. So, should you wing it, or forfeit your race registration fee?
Basically, you have to respect your body, registered clinical exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S, tells Women’s Health. Going from zero to a half marathon is going to be an extreme shock for the untrained runner. Even if you're in decent shape, exercised on the elliptical, and frequented a few cardio kickboxing classes, jumping into a 13.1-mile race will result in some serious body feels during, and following, the race.
During training, which includes gradually building up your mileage over the course of a few months, you ease your body and joints into handling longer distances. This is also when you'll develop a nutrient and hydration game-plan, as both are essential to preventing lightheadedness and muscle exhaustion. Without properly prepping your body and muscles for the distance, fatigue will set in — and early. And, even if you switch from a run to a walk, 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles.
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Head over to Women's Health to learn more about how running a race without proper training affects your body. (Women's Health)