Everything You Need to Know to Run a Half Marathon in NOLA

Running a half marathon is like a right of passage for babes at the brim of their “quarter-life crisis.” As soon as my friends started trickling into this phase of life, more and more kept telling me how they were “running a half marathon, and going out less.” At first I was like “ugh so lame,” but then I started having a sense of needing to check this off my life list to feel like I had my s**t  somewhat together. So, I decided to go for it. Here’s what I did:

Set a Date

There are a few half marathons offered throughout the year in New Orleans:The Jazz Half Marathon and 5K  is usually held on the last weekend of October. I’ve never been able to commit to this one because let’s be real – Nolaween.

I decided to go with the Rock’n’Roll, held on February 5th this year. In the past, this race has coincided with Mardi Gras (another no-no), but with a late Mardi this year (Feb. 28), this seemed like a safe date.

Other races with a half marathon option include the Best Damn Race and the Big Easy Running Festival.

Download One of These Handy Dandy Training Guides

Don’t get too freaked about following this schedule to the tee. At first, I was relentless in making sure I completed every single run, thinking if I didn’t I would never make it the full 13 miles. However as time went by, (and holiday parties filled my calendar), I found that as long as you do one or two short runs during the week to stay in shape, and be sure to hit the long distance run every Sunday, you will be fine. The Sunday runs are what’s essential.

half marathon training

Invest in New Kicks

I know you think you can make it in your trendy weekend athleisure, but don’t fool yourself babes. The right shoes will make or break your ability to run 13.1 miles. You’ll be running nearly 300 miles in these kicks so consider it an investment and pick comfort over style.

The staff at Varsity Sports on Magazine Street are super helpful, and are pros at helping you decide which shoe is best for your foot. You’ll want to buy your running shoes a half size to a whole size larger than your typical shoe.


Babes tipYou may also want to invest in some wool socks. We know it sounds crazy to wear wool socks in Louisiana, but believe us these socks actually keep your feet cooler than cotton socks. They make for a much more comfortable run when you begin to go the long distances.


Find a Running Buddy

Surely at least one babe in your krewe is looking to drop a few LB’s or fulfill a new year’s resolution, so recruiting a friend to run with you shouldn’t be too difficult. Running with a friend is so much better than going solo for so many reasons.


Motivate each other to get out of bed and run on Sunday instead of brunching with the rest of your krewe, and spend your Saturday’s Netflixing & Chilling together. There’s something comforting in not being the only one with a case of FOMO – am i right?

If you can breathe enough to actually speak at the same time as running,  a good gossip sesh makes the run go by so much quicker. If this is impossible, exchange Spotify running playlists. Here’s one of my faves.

Safety. Do I have to say it? Especially if you’re running through the neighborhoods of NOLA, things can go from safe to sketchy real fast.

Adjust your Social Calendar

This is by far the hardest part to commit to babes. You are going to have to adjust your social calendar for a couple of months while training for the big race. Being a NOLA babe, you’re probably used to binging Friday, Saturday and Sunday on brunch, cocktails, & everything in between.

That’s not to say you have to stop going out altogether, but I’d recommend making your party plans for Friday nights. The long runs on Sunday will be pretty much impossible if you’ve decided to drink your body weight in vodka sodas the night before, and soak it up with a crab cake Benedict the next morning. Consider this a detox. It is only three months of your life after all!

Take Advantage of Nola’s Natural Beauty

Not only does running in one of our city’s beautiful parks or down St. Charles Avenue make time pass quicker, but is kind of necessary to avoid the treacherous streets of NOLA. The last thing you want is to twist your ankle in a pothole, and not be able to make it to race day. Not to mention, it’s safer. Here’s a few of our favorite places to train:

City Park boasts the world’s largest grove of live oak trees making it one of the most picturesque places to run. It’s also one of the most diverse. Take the paved path around the lake and get a glimpse of the sculpture garden or get off road in the Couturie Forest.

Audubon Park, located between Magazine St. and St. Charles Avenue, is easy to jog over to if you live uptown, and makes for one of the most beautiful runs in the city. The paved jogging path that winds through the park is about 2 miles long. It’s a little short to head there for one of your long trainings. Instead I’d recommend running down St. Charles Avenue into the park, and making a couple loops around the path depending on your distance that day.

St. Charles Avenue is one of the most iconic streets in NOLA. The streetcar tracks on the neutral ground in the middle of the avenue are one of the most popular places for a run on a beautiful day. Try not to get distracted daydreaming about your future home goals, and side swiped by a streetcar in the process.


Babes tip: Make sure you are running in the direction of the oncoming streetcar so one doesn’t sneak up behind you while your jamming out to Queen B. When you turn around to go the other way, switch the the other side.

Get it Done

In the week leading up to the race, you’ll want to taper your running down to get your body rested and ready. Learn more on that here.

Now on to the best part. If you’ve ever chatted with a legit runner before, they’ll tell you about this magical diet you must go on before the big race. This is hand’s down the highlight of running a long distance race babes: CARBO LOADING. Yes, it’s a real thing. No, it’s not something you do when you get your heart broken.

For 2-3 days before the race, have a bagel for brekkie, and cook yourself the GD biggest bowl of white pasta you’ve ever had and probably ever will have again for dinner. Enjoy every last bite because it’s going to give you the energy you need for the race. Don’t ask me how it works, it just does. Disclaimer: read more about all the science-y reasons this works and how to properly do it here.


When your friends snap you dranks becuase they think hey’re having a better time than you are, you’ll just laugh.


Treat Yo’ Self

YOU FREAKING DID IT. Take a few moments to take a photo at the finish line #fortheinsta to let everyone know what a self-respecting adult you are. Then it’s time to celebrate. We knew you could do it babes!


Stay posted on how race day goes on our Instagram story. Share you running tips in the comments babes. Happy running!


Babes & Beignets