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The Background: I am fairly new to the running game, I have just completed my first 5k ever this weekend (32:43). I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I have never ever been super fit but in an effort to loose some post pregnancy weight I have taken up biking, yoga, and running. Of the 3 I prefer running as I feel the most confident in my bodies abilities while running (and also I took a spill on my bike last week, which I must admit was not a surprise to me.)

Before I finished the 5k I was tossing around the idea of training for a 1/2 marathon with the goal just to complete it. After the thrill of finishing that first 5k I have the bug. I have found a 12 week training program in which the long run in the first week is 3 miles and every weeks long run after that increases by 1 mile. Does this sound about right?

On a similar but slightly different note, in 3 weeks my training program for my half marathon begins. What sort of training should I be doing prior to my official training program?

Any advice on shin splints? I just got a new pair of shoes which I love and have helped a lot in this area but is there anything else I can be doing to decrease them even more?

And finally, I was reading online that a runner must stay hydrated while running long distances. I have found that on my 3 mile runs I haven't necessarily needed to carry water with me but as I increase my mileage I know that I should and I have a strong suspicion my body will require more fluids. What are some ways to carry water with me and what are guidelines as to how much I should be drinking? I don't want to feel water logged or puke.

I really and truly appreciate any knowledge and advice. Thank you much in advance. :D

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Congratulations on starting your half marathon, that is wonderful! I think you find it a very satisfying experience.

I think it is OK that your training program increases your long run by a mile each week. You do want some weeks where it is cut back though to give your body a rest. Your long runs for the weeks could go something like this: 3,4,5,3,6,7,8,6,9...

Also pay attention to your total miles per week. You really don't want those to increase more than 10% per week.

Regarding hydration, I think you'll find you'll want to carry water once you are running more than 40 minutes. Depending on the weather, I'm ready for a swig of H20 at the five mile mark. You can purchase hand held 10oz bottles, or a belt. I like the belt. Mine can carry four bottles, which is handy for marathon training.

Another trick is to cache water. On really long runs you can "hide" a water bottle along the course and fill up your hand held.
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