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Be a half-crazy runner

By Erica Moe

What should we do with marathon runners? Commit them! They run 26.2 miles for fun, so they must be crazy, right?

If you’re not crazy enough to dedicate six entire months to training for a marathon, how about this: Go half the distance! Then you would only be considered half crazy! Half-marathon crazy, that is. Whether this is your first race or your 21st, make it your best race ever.

(Courtesy Mission Valley YMCA)

Do you know what could make your best race ever even better? A free entry to the Synchrony Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego races, June 2–3, 2018. YMCA members can earn entry to the 5K, half-marathon or full marathon race by submitting a story (written or video) describing why this will be your “best race ever.” Contact for more info.

Not a YMCA member? No problem! You can use the discount code: MISSIONYMCA18 to save $10 on your entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon, Full Marathon or Relay. Note that the promo code expires May 25, 2018.

For a half-marathon, aim for a training plan that is at least 12 weeks long. You can find a few free novice and intermediate training plans at A good beginner training plan should include:

Base mileage to help you gain your foundation. It can be performed on different terrains like the treadmill, trail or boardwalk. Take advantage of daylight saving time, and take your run outdoors!

Cross training can reduce the monotony and lower the risk for overuse injuries. Spend time on an elliptical or cycle, or try training in the pool to take the impact off your knees and joints.

A weekly long run will help you gradually increase to that half-marathon distance.

Rest day(s) are a necessity for your body to recover from the new demands of your training plan. You don’t actually have to run every day!

A half-marathon will take approximately 2–3 hours to complete. Be sure that you work on a solid hydration and nutrition plan during your training so that you can replicate it on race day. You will need to carry water and fuel with you during the race, in addition to what will be available on the course.

Be realistic. Starting with a run/walk/run plan is a great way to get started. If this is a better fit for you, check out to learn about which of the ratio options is best for you. While training for my first marathon, I ran 9 minutes and walked 1. This form of interval training allowed a consistent pace, less fatigue and quicker recovery.

Want to meet up for a training run? Enjoy the camaraderie of the YMCA Run Club for a 5K on the first Sunday of the month at 9 a.m. and the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Meet on the lower field at Mission Valley YMCA. Contact for more info.

— Erica Moe, M.S. is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA where she is fitness director.

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