5 Reasons You Should Make It A Goal To Run A Half Marathon In Your 20s

On June 8, I completed my first half marathon: the North Face Endurance Challenge. Despite being a former high-school athlete and a runner in college, I never thought I would be able to cross the milestone off of my bucket list.

When a friend approached me during my semester abroad in Australia about running a half marathon with her, I was a little hesitant due to the lack of training time I had while traveling.

When I got back to the States with only six weeks left to get my ass in shape, I surprised myself with how much physical and mental power I had when running.

I know running is not for everyone, but for all of the people out there looking for a way to get involved in fitness, I think this is your ticket. A half marathon consists of 13.1 miles and is one of the fastest-growing race distances.

Still, I got this weird, “you're crazy” look from people when I told them I would soon be running 13.1 miles. Well, here are five reasons why you should consider tackling this challenge:

1. Your body is in its prime.

In our 20s, we find ourselves exploring our bodies in many different ways. Some people define themselves as “runners” because they have run enough to know it is their default form of exercise. The older we get, the harder it is to push ourselves and run ungodly distances.

Not to say it can't be done when you are older because there were definitely some grandpas running my half marathon, but I'm sure for them, the training process was much more extensive and harsh on the body.

I came back from a semester abroad with six weeks to prepare and since I had never run more than five miles at a time prior to my training, my goal was to complete at least one 10-mile run before the race. I surprised myself and ran the 13.1 miles once before the race, as well as a few other long runs.

This major mileage spike was manageable for my body because I am young, motivated and simply able to beat up my body from time to time.

2. You like to party.

Many races have the drinking benefit waiting for you at the finish line. Let's be real: Who isn't ready for a beer after running 13.1 miles? ...Even if it is 10 am.

Not only do you have this perk to which you can look forward upon completion, but you are also most likely spending your weekdays at happy hour and your weekends at bars.

Seeing as my favorite beer (Blue Moon) consists of 171 calories per drink, it is almost necessary to burn off those calories in some way. Each person varies, but the typical amount of calories burned during a half marathon is around 1,300.

This equals out to nearly seven Blue Moons! Your 20s are a time for rambunctious partying, so next time you pick up that drink, cheers to running!

3. Social connections.

During this time of our lives, we are constantly changing locations. While this makes for a typically enjoyable existence, it can also make creating and sustaining friendships difficult. Finding a running partner can make a huge difference in your social life, as it can serve as an introduction to new people.

In most major cities, there are local running stores that promote group running. Get out there and find someone to help motivate you on those days you're feeling lazy.

4. But you like to travel...

Well, running a half marathon can be the perfect excuse to travel! Maybe your trip to Portland, Oregon is long overdue and you're just dying to get out there. Or maybe, a good friend just moved out to the middle of the country and you've been meaning to visit him or her.

Look up what races are taking place in your desired location and plan accordingly.

5. It’s a good distraction.

As you enter your 20s, you might find yourself in a crappy new job you don't like or in a duplex with people you absolutely cannot stand. That run at the end of your eight-hour day could end up being the best part of your day.

Whenever I feel stressed, exercising is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of ways to release tension. It may not be the thing I'm most excited to do, but I know it will leave me in a good mood.

Releasing endorphins nudges your body into positive mental and physical states. Put aside the negatives and run until you forget what made you feel frazzled initially.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr