I read somewhere that there is a boom in half-marathon running. More and more people are running the half, a distance of approximately 13.1 miles. Participation has been surging for five years now.
Sounds about right. It usually takes me about that long to latch on to a new trend. To be fair I did run my first half-marathon in 2007, but this is the first year that I somehow got the crazy idea to run several of them in one year.
According to running guru Jeff Galloway, "The half-marathon gives you almost all of the satisfaction and achievement of the marathon and far less than half of the aches and pains and fatigue." I'd second that.
Jeff has identified three segments among the people that ask him for advice. About 20 percent, he estimates, do the half-marathon as a stepping-stone to the full marathon. About 40 percent, want to focus only on the half, with no interest in the full marathon. Another 40 percent are "people who used to run just full marathons, but are now primarily doing halves."
I'm in that last group. I ran three marathons from 2005 to 2007. I don't know if I'll ever run another. For now I'm concentrating on the half-marathon.
On Sunday I ran the Run to Remember half-marathon in Boston. It's a great course that starts in South Boston, winds around the historic center of Boston and then alongside the Charles River past MIT and Harvard, returning around Boston Common.
It was hot. I drank at least two cups of fluid at every water stop. I remembered Jeff Galloway's advice to take walk breaks, walking for a minute at every mile marker and again at water stops.
In spite of the heat I ran the course four minutes faster than I had run the half-marathon in Providence four weeks before. I kept up a pretty steady pace through the first twelve miles and still had some enough juice left in the tank for a sprint in the last half mile.
Maybe there's some life in the old dog yet.
So that's half-marathons in Rhode Island and Massachusetts so far this year. Two out of six New England states. Wonder if I could do a half in all six states before the end of the year?
Update: I just realized that the photo I stole to head up this post has snow on the ground. Just for the record, there wasn't any snow on the ground in Boston this Memorial Day Weekend. Even in New England, the winter isn't quite that long.