January 25, 2019
A half marathon (13.1 miles) is a distance that is a challenge, but still achievable to train towards with a busy lifestyle.
If you’ve already had success racing a 10k you may not need to make huge adjustments to your current training, just a few slight alterations. The biggest change will most likely be to lengthen your long run and add some extra weekly miles.
My tips to a ‘winning’ half marathon:
- Ideally you should start a training plan at least 3 months before your race date and already be running a minimum of twice per week.
- It’s important to have a solid aerobic base before ramping up the intensity of runs. Start steady and take your time to build up endurance over a few weeks.
- Increase the length of one run and include a bit of intensity to another. Do not increase both length and intensity in one workout. It is not necessary to have covered the full half marathon distance in training before race day. A run of up to 10 miles should be enough for you to safely complete the distance.
- Along with your long steady run another important session is a tempo run. This is an effort that you could hold for up to an hour at most. To start with, break down these ‘comfortably hard’ efforts into blocks, for example 4 x 5 minutes with 1 minute easy jog recovery. Then progress to longer duration efforts or shorter recovery, or both. You should never finish these sessions on your hands and knees, but always be in control. Done correctly tempo runs can bring you lasting benefits come race day
- Check out the course profile. Is your race is to take place on an undulating course? If so, you should incorporate hills into your plan. These hills could be included within your long steady run or if you are running 3-4 times per week, as a separate repetition session.
- Nutrition and equipment are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Practice taking on fluids and/or extra calories in some form during your long training runs. Each individual is different so don’t rely on consuming the same as another runner – it might not suit you. Generally most longer events provide drinks and gels at aid stations. Check out which brands they will be supplying and experiment with them in training.
- Only use tried and tested equipment on the big day. All race day kit must have been trialled beforehand so that you know it’s comfortable.
- Finally enjoy training and racing the Half Marathon. If you’re lacking motivation find other like minded athletes for encouragement and company.
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