How I Ran a Half Marathon (the App, Habits and Music That Got Me There)

Running is like therapy to me, but trust me when I say it was a long road to get me there. I recently signed up for my second half marathon (ever) this October. Since running is back in my daily life, I have running on the brain. To celebrate, I wanted to share what got me into running in the first place.

So, why did I start running?

The short answer: I was depressed and needed a project. Long answer? When we moved from Seattle to Monterey in September 2016, I was in between jobs. As exciting as picking up and moving to California with my boyfriend was, I had so much anxiety about my career. Seattle was all that I had ever known. Monterey, while beautiful in all its glory, did not offer much in the realm of PR jobs. The tourism industry there really operates on their own, and after countless unanswered emails and coffee meeting rejections, I started to feel depressed.

Looking back that was such an important time for me, to slow down and really see the bigger picture. What I came to find out about myself was hard to swallow. I realized that so much of my identity and confidence was tied to my career. Now while it’s great to be ambitious, this really bothered me. I knew who I was. I knew I would find something. But why did this little lull make me question everything about myself?

For a few months I started freelancing, and rejoiced in the flexible work schedule. I decided I needed a project, and without a commitment to a Crossfit gym (or “box”), I also needed to workout. I decided to train for a half marathon. I had the time and flexibility to run nearly every day (ugh) and I had the beautiful, Monterey summer (September-November) where it was sunny every day.

It’s funny how life works out. While I was training I continued my job hunt, and as it would turn out I started my full-time job the week before the race. It made that half marathon all the more sweeter.

How did I do it?

The idea of running beyond five miles was laughable, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I had done a 10K before, but that was the furthest I had ever ran. So I signed up for the Monterey Bay Half Marathon three months in advance. Most race fees cost upwards of $100-$150, and while that’s a huge negative, I found it to be positive. Similar to expensive gym fees, those fees make you show up. You have to show up. Spending that much money and time training for this thing, I knew I had to follow through with it.

I downloaded the 13.1 Half Marathon Trainer App by Zen Labs. The app provides daily, attainable training for 13 WEEKS. Yep, 13 weeks. The program follows a walk/run method to help you find your pace and slowly ease yourself into longer runs. The app holds you accountable and requires you to check off each day as you go, which I loved.

The half marathon was so grueling, but an experience I’ll never forget. Here we are in Connecticut and I’m once again freelancing (flexible work schedule, check), and I have a craving to run another race.

Like most forms of exercise, running is both physically and mentally challenging.  It’s so hard to give into your thoughts and not quit after mile two.  Music was my saving grace, as it allowed me to day dream and forget what I’m doing. I could never run without a good playlist.

Here’s four playlists I love:


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