top of page

Half-Marathon and Triathlon Training Lessons

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

What doing a half-marathon and triathlon taught me about my health journey, the metabolism, and what I plan to do going forward.

About two or three months prior to mine and my now-husband's wedding, we decided to sign up for a half marathon that would be the weekend before our wedding and a triathlon that would be a month and a half after our wedding.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles and a the triathlon we did was an Olympic style triathlon that was 0.5 mile swim, 27.5 mile bike, and 7 mile run.

We both had never ran or biked that far prior to this training. My husband hadn't even ran more than 3 miles before dating me-- which surprised me since he played SEC baseball.

This had to have been the hardest and most strategic I have ever been with my exercise routine. As most days we would have to work out twice a day in order to get in all of the reps we needed to in order to progress with our program.

We designed our own program that we followed and were successful with for the half-marathon and triathlon. I ran a sub-2-hour half-marathon, which I was extremely proud of. And my husband did a sub-3-hour triathlon, which is also amazing!

Some things I learned after completing this tremendous feat.

  1. Training for a long-distance endurance race in not for those who do not have the time to train. Most training days took 2+ hours of training on our part and often involved us running and swimming, biking and swimming, or running and biking in the same day. Our employers obviously did not care that we were training for a race, so training looked a lot like waking up at 5:00 am, running or swimming on a lunch break, or working out after work. Not super sustainable, but really shows you where you are putting on your extra time.

  2. Just because you have a bad race or a bad training day, does not mean you are not progressing or even that you are falling behind. Everyday is different for runners and bikers. Some days you can PR and other days you can barely do the workout. That's just how it is. Expect that when starting a training program.

  3. Couples therapy and training for a sport with your spouse may as well be the same thing. As two people who have always exercised a lot and have played sports-- me and Tucker imagined that training together would be so fun. And it was. But we also realized that it was work, and work on our relationship. While one person is progressing and other one is lagging-- that take support and communication. It was hard when I would have a bad attitude in the mornings when we were waking up for workouts or when he was annoyed that I couldn't keep up some days but would beat him in running other days. But we always cheered each other on. I would have to say that training with Tucker made me feel even more secure in our relationship.

  4. Men and women train differently. We just do. And it is because men have the same hormone function everyday while women's hormones change daily according to their cycle. My husband could push his limit everyday, while I could really work hard during my follicular phase but would usually be sore, cramping, or low energy during my luteal phase. Endurance training is not great for women's metabolism and hormone health. Running that spike cortisol levels can often make everything out of wack when it comes to balancing hormones and supporting your metabolism.

  5. Strength Training must be in your routine. In order to progress with your running and biking, you need to strength train during your marathon or triathlon training. Running and biking depleted me of, what felt like, all of my muscle strength. I feel as though I am starting from ground zero now that training is over and I am back to lifting everyday. Cardio is great for supporting your lungs and heart, but strength training is the most essential of all of the exercises, and if you are searching to look good, even when you are running and biking, I would still weight train until around 3 weeks out from race day.

  6. For triathlons, swimming is all technique. My husband and I love YouTube. Sometimes, it is all that we watch. We watched a lot of YouTube when it came to the best swimming techniques. We would practice swimming in the lake where I am from and also at the Delta State University aquatic center, right by our neighborhood. I got to where I could swim for 45 minutes straight and barely be out of breathe. It's amazing! It made me want to do an competitive long-distance swim competition. Swimming is extremely relaxing and was honestly my favorite part about triathlon training.

  7. Breathing makes the difference. I equate my half-marathon time almost solely to my breathing. I have been a runner for a long time and I have learned to control my breathe when running distance and tempo runs. When it comes to weight lifting or sprints-- I can't breath to save my life. But when I am able to have breathe that is on tempo with my running, I am able to kick up the speed so much more than if I weren't focused on my breath.

  8. Triathlon folks are crazy, but the nicest group of people. When me and my husband did the half-marathon in Memphis, TN, we did not talk to a soul outside of the two of us. When we did the triathlon in Mississippi, so many people spoke to us and it felt like a true community! Everyone cheered each other on during the running and biking. I think it is because triathlons are such hard work that everyone knows what the other has been through to get to race day. The morning of the race, it was a thunderstorm, but almost everyone still competed. And although I was scared, it was the most exhilarating feeling to be biking with a crowd as all of the participants vocally acknowledged that we were all crazy for doing what we were doing.

Photos of us at our races, after our race, and when I got the certificate in the mail saying that I had placed third in my age group of women running the Great American River Run Half Marathon!

18 views0 comments


bottom of page