How to conquer your next half marathon

Are you thinking about running a half marathon or marathon? Did you recently run in one and are ready to schedule your next competitive race? Whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-timer, here are eight tips to keep in mind before you register for an upcoming race.
  1. Think about the time you'll need to prepare. Are you a beginner? Make sure you lay out a training schedule that allows for plenty of time to train. Many plans recommend at least 20 weeks for training for a marathon, and 12 weeks would give you plenty of time to prepare to run a half marathon.
  1. Give yourself time between races. Did you just finish a marathon or half marathon? Everyone is different, but it' important to schedule some downtime after completing a half marathon or marathon. And many agree that downtime means complete rest , not just for a couple of days , but for at least a couple of weeks. Once you have let your body recover, don't forget to add in buffer time to slowly add in mileage and work your way back. If you're looking for products to help make the most of your recovery time, check out the REM-Fit Recovery line for items such as foam rollers, stretching straps, yoga mats and more.
  1. Where do you want to go? Races are a great way to get to know another city that you have wanted to visit. Going to a new destination builds excitement that will help you power through the many hours of training. If you decide to go somewhere, don't forget to factor in hotel, your arrival and your departure times as it' important to give yourself plenty of time before (and after) the run. Staying local is slightly less complicated, but make sure you don't schedule in advance any big events the week before and after the race.
  1. Consider the time of year. It' important to think about the time of the year, not just for the actual event but for your training. For instance, fall is a beautiful time to run. But if you hate running in summer' heat, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea to schedule a fall race, as most of your preparation leading up to the big event would take place in the summer. If you're looking for a race coming up soon, we asked the REM-Fit Life community for some suggestions.
  1. Check out the course before committing. Are you looking for a flat course that will get you a fast time? Do you want a scenic route? No course is created equal, so it' important to take a look before you complete your registration. The type of course can be a deal breaker, especially if you hate hills or you're determined to get your fastest time.
  1. Consider the type of atmosphere and event size. Do you get hyped when you think about running with thousands and thousands of other people, or are you looking for a smaller, more intimate race? Are you looking for bands or cheering crowd? Check out the size of the event the year prior and see if there are videos available, too. That will give you a good idea of how big the event is and what the vibe will be.
  1. Look at the price early. If you're familiar with race registrations, then you already know that the price increases the closer it gets to the event, so it' better to sign up early. Many local organizations and companies may have their own discounts, so be sure to check out your favorite retailers for coupon codes before signing up.
  1. Check out the swag ahead of time. Who doesn't love free stuff? Some events offer free beer and provide live entertainment afterward, and others are more low key (and typically lower cost). There are even runs dedicated to delicious treats such as hot chocolate and Twinkies or even wine tours through vineyards.
  It' exciting to schedule a big life milestone such as a half marathon or marathon and begin training, no matter your experience level. It' a huge time commitment that takes advance planning, but many agree that it' worth it. Good luck as you prepare for your next race!