In it for the long run

LASA students run the 3M half marathon

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In it for the long run

Runners finish exhausted at the end of the 13 mile  run. photo by Helena Lara

Runners finish exhausted at the end of the 13 mile run. photo by Helena Lara

Runners finish exhausted at the end of the 13 mile run. photo by Helena Lara

Runners finish exhausted at the end of the 13 mile run. photo by Helena Lara

Helena Lara, Photo Editor

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Running a half marathon takes more than just on season training according to Cross Country Head Coach Jon Croston; it takes a love for running and dedication, as well as endurance and patience. But runners, and LASA students, like sophomore Emily Thompson, and senior Kathryn Christian, have trained offseason for the latest 3M half marathon that took place early Sunday on Jan. 20.

The 3M half marathon begins in North Austin and spans 13.1 miles all the way to downtown Austin. Although the course is relatively downhill and level, it still provides a challenge according to Christian, who has run multiple other half marathons in the past.

“I ran the Austin half marathon the past two years and that course is pretty uphill and pretty difficult, more difficult than the 3M which is supposedly mostly downhill,” Christian said.

Training for a half marathon is already a test of athleticism and endurance in itself according to Christian, but runners also set goals for themselves, whether it be simply completing the race or working toward a personal record, or PR.

“I’m expecting to run a good amount faster than past years,” Christian said.

Thompson has similar goals.

“I ran it really slow last year, like over two hours, so I was just trying to go faster than that and hoping to break two hours and maintain an eight-minute pace,” Thompson said.

The runners prepared for the half marathon by practicing six times a week, with long runs of increasing distance on weekends, as well as already having a starting point from their fall cross country season.

“Training every week and did a long run every Sunday, I started with maybe just doing five or six miles and just built my way up to 10 miles,” Thompson said.

Although the runners already had cross country training in the fall, it is not enough training for the 13.1-mile race. The training for each race is different because of the distance, which is three miles in cross country, and 13.1 in a half marathon.

“Training for a half marathon is more about endurance, but cross country is more about speed,” said Croston.

Although cross country training does not fully prepare runners for a half marathon or other races, it exposes new runners to races and the benefits of running, giving them a perspective of running that many love, according to Croston.

”Cross country doesn’t really prepare you for a half marathon but it brings people to a love of running,” Croston said.

Also, cross country helps runners get into a habit of running as well as exposing them to a love of running and racing, and this training, although different than normal half marathon training, helped them when training for the half marathon according to Thompson.

“All the strict workouts and just tried to keep in that groove of working out six days a week; I love racing, and I love feeling really good when I do well in a race and when you [set a record],” said Thompson.

Not only did the cross country season prepare runners it also helped them gain confidence and strength that they can apply to the half marathon training.

“It really gave me confidence that I can do better,” said Thompson.
Training offseason paid off on race day says both Thompson and Christian who both accomplished their goals of getting a PR at the 3M half marathon.
“I was hoping to break two hours and maintain an eight-minute pace, and I ran like 7.45 pace,” said Thompson.

Not only does running present runners with difficult challenges like setting a record in a race, but it is also enjoyable, according to Christian, to run a long distance like a half marathon because it allows for a peaceful activity that relaxes.

“I really like running long distance because it puts me at peace, it’s very stress relieving and I don’t have to think about anything, it’s a great way to clear my head and like take a break,” Christian said.