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7575 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Apr 12, 2012 12:26 PM by aok915
aok915 Rookie 5 posts since
Mar 29, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 21, 2012 5:14 PM

Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

I realize this is going to be a little vauge, unless I were to give you a full running history, but any insight you can give would be GREATLY appreciated.


I ran my first 1/2 this past weekend.  I live in PA, so I train in PA and NJ.  The race was in DC, and it was probably around 70 by the end of the race.  The furthest distance I ran prior to the 1/2 was 11 mi.  I was super-hydrating, and loading up on carbs for the better (latter) part of the prior week.  I drank around 24oz of water the morning before the 1/2 and ate a plain bagel.


The first 6+ mi were great.  Around mile 7, I started getting a side stitch (which really NEVER happens to me anymore), and I was getting "cramping" in my chest.  It made me nervous, and I even checked my HR (on my Garmin) to make sure it was still looking ok.  It was.  I powered on, and around mile 9, my legs really started quitting on me.  The cramping was unreal, and I was literally just willing myself to finish at that point.  I walked the better parts of mile 10 and 11.  My legs hurt SOOO BAD that I really felt like they were just going to seize up on me.


I must have been dehydrated because a little while after the race, I started feeling REALLY queasy and just overall not well. That lasted for about -3 hrs.  I got water and/or Gatorade at every water stop and had 3 GU's from start to finish of the race.  I finished in 2:44.


I have another 1/2 coming up in 6 weeks, and I really need to figure out what went wrong so I can fix it.  Thanks so much for any insight you can offer!

  • MarcusB092 Amateur 75 posts since
    Jul 28, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Mar 21, 2012 7:00 PM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    Nothing in particular to give as advice but continue to do more training! If 11 is longest distance you ran then 2:44 seems like a logical time you would have. Before I ever ran a half marathon i was doing 3 hour runs and stuff and 17 mile runs tons of 11's and even some in low 20s  (but ones in low 20s is a little to much at once) . I ran 1:40:56 first time but I did alot of training to do that.


    I would suggest doing more quality medium runs (6 miles) along with more easy long runs and more hard long runs.  You don't need intervals at this point unless its like 1000M intervals and not to often for half marathon.



    Heres an idea every few days whenever your ready try to do 20 minutes as fast as you can at the Same speed the whole time(after a warm up of course), For your fitness level try like osmething like 6.2 perhaps 20 minutes. Battle the time of 20 minutes not the speed. Make it .1 faster every time you do it over weeks and months... By the time you get to 9.0 for 20 minutes you will be able to easily run under 2 hours or even under 1:50.


    If not on a treadmill do maybe 20 minutes as far as you can like a time trial going really really hard i mean tourcher yourself.. But of course recover and rest after that.


    Do your other training you were doing before and do the 20 minute hard runs along with as a hard day. The quality shorter runs build your longer distance speed trust me.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Mar 21, 2012 7:25 PM (in response to aok915)
    Re: Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    It sure sounds like dehydration, doesn't it? It's hard to be sure, but based on what you relate about your hydration, you may have had the opposite problem - hypnoatremia - or water intoxication. Too much water produces symptoms that are much the same as too little/dehydration.  A good way to judge your hydration is pale yellow urine color.  BUT, if you're going to the bathroom more often than every 2 or 3 hours, you're over-doing it.


    Your 2:44 is more of a reflection of your physical problems than your preparation for the race. MarcusB092 offers some interesting training ideas but a lot depends on your goals.  An 11 mile long run is adequate to comfortably finish, with your time depending a lot on your training pace.




  • GinnyinPA Pro 150 posts since
    Sep 29, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Mar 21, 2012 7:41 PM (in response to aok915)
    Re: Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    How many miles a week were you running?  If your mileage was low, that could explain the legs. 

    It might have been the heat, since you weren't used to running in warm weather.


    For the side cramps - were you using 3 Gus in your training runs?  Did you take them with water?  Did you train with Gatorade?  I did only one training run with a Gel and ended up getting a terrific side cramp that stopped me cold.  I couldn't run for a few minutes.  It wasn't until afterwards, when I read an  answer on another forum, that I realized it might have been due to the Gel and not because I was running too fast.  That person said that sometimes the stomach can't handle the sugar overload when it's exerting hard - and so it cramps up. 

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Mar 22, 2012 5:44 AM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Re: Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    Len's advice is good, you should read up on water intoxication just for your info.  I had a bad 1/2 this week-end also it was very humid here in SENC not sure if that was it, but it sounds good.  I like to review my cycle after and see if I can find my mistakes often for me it's overtraining (which I think was some of my issues this Sun).  It's a fine line from not enough vice to much.  Good luck on your next one everything may be just right!  For me my next 1/2 in Apr I understand that I will not run as good of a time (but maybe a better race) as my last one because the temps will be 20 degrees hotter.  Time does not always equal great run. 

  • Lochbain Amateur 36 posts since
    Apr 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Mar 23, 2012 8:10 AM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    My first thought is you might have over hydrated. It's effects can be just as damaging as being dehydrated. Another thought with the cramping is if you are hitting to many energy gels, or were you trying a new brand / mix of gels? If I hit more then 2 an hour I will start cramping. Same with the different brands. I thought I would try a different brand a few months back. I hit one and within a few minutes I was just about doubled over on the side of the road. Also what was your training like the weeks just before the race? If you didn't taper down a little and had just kept building up then you might of just been feeling the effects of over training kicking in (learned that one the hard way).

  • Michael Lohr Rookie 3 posts since
    Sep 21, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Mar 28, 2012 9:16 PM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    It is possible that instead of deyhdration you actually were suffering from water poisoning.(Hyponatermia). Ironically many of the symptoms are the same. One can not "stock" up on water. All this does is mess up the sodium and electrolytes balance. Ironically this over abundance of water causes one to be more thirsty. .The will lead to early fatigue and cramps.


    For more information go to ..


    Go to the hyponatermia section.

  • Ericd3043 Legend 266 posts since
    Aug 2, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Mar 28, 2012 10:13 PM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    I think the guys have nailed it on the head - too much fluid.  You had the water in your system but not enough minerals.  I did the same thing in my first marathon and many of the things you described, I felt during it.  I finished in just over 5 hrs, but spent most of the 2nd half walking due to crashing.  Yes, part of it was training - but... partly because of my fluid.


    I went to the first aid station right afterwards and asked for asprin.  The guy looked at me, my hands were swelled up and started loading me up with pretzels, gatorade and anything with salt.  I had too much fluid and not enough minerals.


    During my 2nd marathon, my time was only 6 min faster - but.... I felt much better during the run.  I still crashed but that was due to training.  I used a fuel belt with 4 bottles and took with me Endurolytes.  One of those at the beginning, then 1 per hour.  It helped to keep my minerals in line.


    It is a fine line you have to watch.  The pee test is a good one to follow - too yellow and not enough water.  If it is almost clear, then too much water.  Good luck on your next one.  it is all something we have to watch as we go.

    My race times (2012)

    Race Schedule for the year:

    May 6th Frederick Running Festival 1/2 Marathon

    May 28th Run through the Park, Ligonier 5k

    August Tentative - 5 miler in Chambersburg, PA

    October Baltimore Running Festival Marathon (also the 2nd part of the MD Double challenge)

    Personal Best :

    5K : 28:32 Run through the Park, Ligonier PA

    5mile : TBA- Marine Corp 5 Miler in August, Chambersburg PA

    10mile : 1:44:52 Cherry Blossum Festival Run, Washington DC

    Marathon : 5:01:22 Akron Marathon

  • SlappyJack Rookie 2 posts since
    Feb 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Mar 29, 2012 12:57 AM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    I ran my first 1/2 last December at the las Vegas Rock-n-Roll fiasco.


    In all honesty, I didn't worry about loading up on fluids, or carbs, or anything special.  I typically run first thing in the morning with nothing more than a little water before and don't worry about hydrating or eating.  I stretch, then run.  That's how I ran my race in 2:06.


    Run your event like you run any other day without making a big deal about it and you'll be fine.


    More importantly:  Relax and have fun with it.

  • artiefxst Rookie 5 posts since
    Mar 15, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Mar 29, 2012 3:55 AM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    Hi aok915.I have only been running for a year, so i'm no expert.You didn't say if during your training you ate a bagel before long runs,that could give you cramps.Also did you do any kind of taper the week before your half,maybe you were overtraining and not fresh on race day.Eat only what you have trained with and make sure you don't train too much the week before a half.Good luck next time i'm sure you wiil feel better.

  • alohadreamer Amateur 35 posts since
    Jan 1, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Apr 11, 2012 7:20 AM (in response to aok915)
    Ran my first 1/2 - what did I do wrong??

    Wow this post is really interesting to me(and scares me too!) I'm doing my 2nd 1/2 in 2 weeks and it feels worse than my first 6 yrs ago! I am training sinilarly to you and I sound like you in my goals.(I am PRAYING for 2 30 and that is the slowest pace group so we will see) but i am worried I will have the same thing happen. How are you feeling now on your runs? I die in th heat and I am always drininking too. Thanks for posting. Do you think mental anxiety came into play at all ? Because that's what I am facing-a fear of not finishing, legs dying. Is there anything you wish you had done different now? Thanks agian I am interested in all the replies! Good job regardless of your struggles. IT AIN'T EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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