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JUNE 22, 2024



Tips to Help you go Beyond Monumental in your First Half, Full, or 5K

Tips to Help you go Beyond Monumental in your First Half, Full, or 5K

Judy Hasselkus
Judy Hasselkus

We’re less than three weeks away from the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. (A sell-out!) Less than three weeks till you toe the line and test your mettle. If this is your “first” marathon, half marathon, or 5K, congratulations! You may have some serious miles ahead of you, but here’s the thing: Some of the really hard stuff is already behind you. If it’s your “first” of any distance, just registering was a courageous leap. You’ve trained. You’ve navigated pavement or trails and conflicting priorities—maybe setting out in the early morning hours in order to make it to work on time or putting on reflective gear after the kids were in bed so running didn’t intrude on precious family time. Maybe you’ve endured mind-numbing hours on a treadmill at the gym. Whatever your story, on November 5 you’ll be among a few thousand friends who have done the same.

One thing I love about the running community (in Indy and all around) is that we appreciate the effort it takes just to show up—whether we’re in the elite group or (my) “G-is-for-glacial” corral. We offer nods and waves, atta-boys/girls and advice born of experience. When needed, we offer throw-downs or kicks in the “asphalt,” if that’s what we sense our runner friends (or we) need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We are all “coaches.”

So, it is in that collegial spirit that I offer timely tips from a few of your fellow runners. Whether you’re running your first half, your first full, or your first 5K on November 5, may these words serve you well during the next mile (or several) of your running journey.

Without further adieu, here are tips from a few friends who know how to “go the distance.”

“Nothing new. Nothing. No matter how cool it seems at the expo. Get it for after, not for the race. And enjoy the race.”
Rose Scovel, triathlete, half marathon pacer, Indy Runners board member and RRCA state rep, Indianapolis, IN“Run, walk or crawl, miles are miles. This is your race and your pace. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s pace. Trust in your training. Believe in yourself. Take it one mile at a time and celebrate each mile.”
Kelly Beck, half marathoner and director of administrative services for the Pike YMCA, Indianapolis, IN

“If you’ve tapered, you’ll feel really fresh the first few miles. Try to hold yourself back a bit (slower than your anticipated pace) the first few miles and you’ll feel a lot better later. Also, if you can run with a friend and talk (or lurk around the edges of someone else’s conversation running about the same pace, of course!), it makes the miles go faster.”
Kay Ecken Schuetter, Indy Runners member, physical therapist with St. Vincent Hospital, and yoga teacher, Indianapolis, IN


Rose Scovel
“Trust your training. It will get you through! Listen to your body; only you know what feels right or wrong. Invest in shoes that are right for you! Never underestimate the power of hydration and refueling—very important! Lots of emotions will be present on race day: Stay calm and have fun!”
Aubrey Hinton Lehman, experienced half marathoner who has raised more than $3,500 for cancer research while training for her first full marathon, this year’s New York City marathon, Indianapolis, IN“Be prepared to take what the day has to offer. If you feel like you need to slow down, try speeding up first. If that doesn’t work, you can always slow down. (I think many of us finish without “giving it all we’ve got.). If you can approach the start line with a calm veteran, do. If it is VERY cold and you haven’t practiced tearing the tabs off your gels with frozen fingers, snip them part way before you leave home.”
Steve Gilbert, Indy Runners, Personal Best Training, and Rock Steady Boxing participant, Indianapolis, IN

“Best advice: Have fun, no matter what. Meet new people. Do amazing things! Best advice from an experienced runner: Go in with 3 plans, one if you are feeling great after half the race, one if you are ok, but not great at half, and one to get you to the finish line if things are rough halfway through.”
Jen Savage, Marathon Maniac, Half Fanatic and Double Agent, Peru, IN

“My advice: Enjoy it. Leading up to your first half marathon, training will stink some days. But if you use training and racing to relieve stress or just as a way to get in better shape, you’ll see progress. There’s no better feeling than knowing you worked hard and achieved your goal!”
Jesse Miser, former Butler University soccer team member, IU School of Medicine, and 500 Festival Mini Marathon 2016 finisher (his first!)

“I recommend that new marathoners leave their expensive watches at home and not worry about their time. Let your body dictate your speed and enjoy the marathon experience.”
Larry Macon, Guinness World Record holder for the most marathons in one year, 50 States Marathon Club, who began running at age 52, San Antonio, TX


Jesse Davis
“At the end of the day, trust your training. Believe in yourself and do the best you can. You may not finish in the time you THOUGHT you would, but as long as you finish, that is the goal.”
Endora Burroughs, half marathoner, Black Girls Run Indy and Pike YMCA member, Indianapolis, IN 

“Best Advice for a first-time marathoner: “Remember, it’s the marathon. It’s supposed to hurt!” It’s Mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon, and I’m starting to understand what everyone was talking about when they said the last 10k of the marathon is no joke. I’m dying, and I see my coach Matt Ebersole. I’m looking for any excuse to just pack it in. He looks at me and can obviously tell I’m struggling. As I go by, all I hear is, “It’s the (expletive deleted) marathon, It is supposed to hurt!” For some reason that is exactly what I needed, and I managed to finish when I thought all was lost.”
Jesse Davis, winner of the 2015 Monumental Marathon, qualifier Olympic Marathon Trials, manager at Runners Forum and board member with Indy Runners, Indianapolis, IN


Judy Hasselkus is indebted to her runner friends who provided input to this blog post, and looks forward to pounding the pavement with many of them on November 5 She is on a first-name basis with every deer and squirrel at Eagle Creek Park after doing her weekly long runs there this summer.