INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The largest half-marathon in the country is May 4 and if you haven't started training, now is the time.
"We're coming up to Feb. 1, which is really the time where you've got to decide whether you're going to train for the Mini or not," says Mini-Marathon Race Director Don Carr.
Carr is the president of Tuxedo Brothers – an event management company best known for organizing timed athletic events around Indiana. While the 500 Festival plans and produces the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Carr and his team help certify the 13.1 mile course – which has sold out with 35,000 participants for the past 11 years.
Most people can't run 13.1 miles without training, so there are multiple training programs available throughout Central Indiana to get you prepared.
"[Training] is really a progression," says Carr. "Starting out low-mileage and then building it up to where you can run 13.1 miles comfortably and feel good about it before and even after the event."
The Mini-Marathon has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis to sponsor a half-marathon training program. This 17-week training program includes 3 times per week training, training plans, nutrition, injury prevention and race preparation. The cost is $84 for facility members and $159 for program members. The cost does not include your entry into the Mini-Marathon , which currently is $75.
There are several other running groups and training plans available . Some of the most notable are through BlueMile , Indy Runners and NIFS . The plans are all similar, but vary in group run times and cost to participate.
"Most of them do have group runs, at least once or twice a week where you do run with other people," says Carr. "Then, you're on your own to do the other days of the week on yourself. So, you've got to have a little bit of self-motivation, but it does help to have those group runs together."
Julie Patterson of WISH-TV's Daybreak is a seasoned runner. In the past nine years, she has run countless half-marathons, seven marathons, and has met the designated time standard for her age group six times to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon.
"I actually started running because of the Mini," says Patterson. "A group of friends and I would always walk the race, but one year, one of our friends decided to run. So, we all started running."
Patterson has participated in running groups for nine years and has spent the last five years coaching them. She currently leads a women's only running group called Circle City Go Girls , where she trains groups of women for 5k and half-marathon distance races.
"We're a community of women who support each other and train together to maintain a healthy lifestyle," says Patterson.
If you have running experience and prefer to train on your own, there are several reputable online training plans. Runner's World Magazine offers several half-marathon plans for the beginner, intermediate or advanced runner and also Time-Goal plans to help runners train to break certain finish times.
Whatever training plan you choose, Carr suggests starting with good equipment.
"A good pair of running shoes [is most important]. We have a lot of really good running stores in the city of Indianapolis and the metro area – and just having proper running gear for the weather, that's very important," Carr said.
To register for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here .
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