Running long distance races is the new fad of the hour. These days, people enthusiastically sign up for marathon events and competitions and thus embark on a lifelong association with races and fitness. Before you get on this brand wagon, understand that these races demand prior training especially marathon and half marathon. But if you run up to three miles comfortably then all you need is some half-marathon training guidance and you can do it easily!
Are you resolute enough do a half marathon? If yes, then here’s how you can begin your half-marathon training.
Half Marathon Training Tips: Nail the 21.1 km Run!
With the beginning of the health-conscious era, running has turned out to be a favourite sport to keep up the fitness and good health. In accordance with this lifestyle, marathon running is all the rage, especially half-marathon.
Half-marathons are easier than full marathons (of course!) while giving you that same sense of accomplishment and your fitness assessment. The 21.1 race (half marathon total distance) is the fastest-growing long-distance races. For many runners, setting a 21.1 km goal—whether it’s to undertake the distance for the first time or creating a new personal best—is a doable challenge, offering almost a similar elation that is involved with finishing a marathon. And what’s more, you also dodge the extra wear and tear of running (and training for) twice the distance, and you can bounce back quickly enough!
Planning to Run Long Distance? Check the Benefits of Long Run Training
So, if you have resolved to devout your life to marathons then lace up with these amazing half marathon training tips, check out!
Know that it’s possible. Half of the race is won when you believe that you can do it. Train your body to deal with the hurdles like fatigue, lack of stamina, long distances et cetera. And train the mind to give you the extra nudge. It is possible to reach the goal through intelligent training and preparation. Wrap your heads around and expect the unexpected, believe in yourself to really succeed.
Prepare for Your First Marathon - Ready, Steady, Run! - Tips and Training Plan that you will need.
Do Not Compromise on Shoe Quality
Your feet are utmost important, so give them the respect they deserve by investing in a good pair of running shoes with comfy cushioning and proper fit. Go to a decent gear store in your neighbourhood and ask for assistance in selecting your kicks. They will perform a gait analysis to help decide what style of shoe is best for you.
Build Your Base
Your running base is the number of miles and weeks of running you have in the bank before you begin your half-marathon training. This will build a strong foundation for a successful training season. Remember the stronger the base, the more easily the body can withstand the demands of a training program.
Find the Right Training Plan
Before you zero in on a regime, question yourself on your goals, what are they and how do you plan to achieve them. Then work accordingly. The rule for long distance running is quite simple- run faster, longer and better. So, your training must be oriented in the same way. Choose a plan that suits your style and fitness level and gradually increase the grade. When you know where you stand and start from there, you progress more readily and enjoy the journey.
Check out our Marathon Training GUIDE for YOU
Take enough time to prepare
Do not rush! Not only does the body need time to adapt to the progression of the mileage, but sometimes life gets in the way, so it’s wise to have a little extra cushion. Look for training schedules that fall between 14 and 16 weeks. This gives you weeks to play with in case something happens along the way, time to live your life and have vacations and plenty of time to build up the longer runs safely. Plus, the shorter the season, the higher the risk of injuries as well as burn out.
Never Skip Training
Every run has a purposed so, don’t skip any. The long runs on the weekends are the very important. This is when you build your endurance and polish your ability to run faster and farther. The shorter, faster workouts build speed and fitness. And the easy mid-week runs bridge the gap between these two. Get into the habit of training by your breath, like in yoga and tuning into how it responds to the workout on the given day. “Some days will feel easier, and some harder, but when you train your body, you’ll always be in the optimal zone.”
Keep Long Runs a part of the Training Plan
For some of us, long distance runs are a pain in the neck. Nevertheless, it's important to get a handful of them. This will give an idea of the length of time you expect to be out on the course. Just as important as getting comfortable with the amount of time you’ll be on your feet, training your mind for those miles is equally crucial. The challenge for distance runners is that you have to keep your mind engage. Our minds aren’t used to occupying that amount of time, and after an hour or so it begins to wander. And an idle mind breeds negative thoughts that make us want to walk or stop and it is much harder to resist.
Set Your Nutrition & Hydration Right
Among the marathoners, a condition called Marathon Wall is quite dreaded. It is the point when your body runs out of glycogen and starts using fats as fuel to keep going. When your muscles exhaust their entire glycogen content and hit the wall, the body experiences extreme fatigued. You begin to feel weak, and it only gets worse if you don’t slow down. The use of fats as energy isn't enough if you do not wish to finish last. So, to avoid this, fix a good nutrition plan that includes high protein and iron-rich foods for runners.
Learn what are the favourable foods for runners before a race.
During the race, keep yourself nourished with water. A well-hydrated body can easily avoid muscle cramps, fatigue, and dizziness.
Hit the Gym Regularly
You may assume that as a runner, you just need to pound the pavement to prepare. Well, that’s only half of the training, keeping your body strong through weight training is also a factor that plays a big part in your success. Stronger muscles will improve not only your performance but help to keep injuries at bay. Include strength days into your training- one to two times per week, along with alternate days of cross-training in some form of cardio, such as spinning, swimming, etc.
And don’t forget to work that core; a strong one can improve running biomechanics, making you more efficient at pounding that pavement.
Pick your choice of cross-training for runners.
Get on a Roll
All that running and strength-training can leave your muscles super tight. Warm-up stretching will lose them up. As experts suggest that daily self-massage can go a long way in terms of keeping runners injury-free. In fact, studies show that stretching and massages can boost tissue repair, increase mobility and decrease soreness. So, grab a foam roller and get rolling on it. This will keep your muscles happy and ready for the next run.
Mix it up
As soon as you feel a sense of comfort sticking to the same route day in and day out, change it! Taking the same route will bore you and ultimately lead to easy burnouts and overall resentment of those miles. For the sake of your sanity, and to keep things fresh, opting for a change of scenery or surface (track, trail, treadmill) can be motivating. You can also jazz up your run routine a new playlist or buddy it up with a friend if you are not a solo strider.
Get these cool workout apps for runners.
Research the Race
Another important step in training for half-marathon is doing a good research on the race/marathon. Study the race route carefully, maybe practice on a similar terrain and scope out at which mile markers water and/or aid stations are available.
Find out what sports drink will be provided at the race. If possible, train using the same sports drink, never use a sports drink or gel during a race, that you've never tried/tested during training.
In case you plan to carry your own sports drink, wear a hydration belt. Also, find out if and where Porta Potties will be placed along the route. Knowing their location can come in handy when you begin to experience stomach distress along the run.
Run NegatIve Splits
This is an age-old marathon mantra. In this strategy, runners intentionally set out at a slower pace in the first half of the race, only to pick gradually and practically fly in the second half of the race. It is essential to understand the difference between a sprint and a (half) marathon. Running for 21K or its double engages you in a long time running wherein the energy tend to drain out gradually.
Check out more on Average Human Running Speed and Learn How to Increase Your Pace
Smart runners begin slower in order to reserve the energy and stamina for the latter stage of the race and thus go for the win.
And most importantly enjoy the thrill. Running is not just an exercise but a whole-body experience. It a therapy that reduces your stress and anxiety to clear up your mind. Take time to have fun, as you build toward your goals.
If you like to run alone then this is how you can make your running more enjoyable.
Believe it or not half marathons are manageable races. If you are in the habit of doing at least four to five km of running daily, then you can aim for a half marathon. The figure, 21.1 km might seem impossible, but you will make it, as long as you take it one week and one mile at a time.
In addition to training, you must also give your body the required rest. Rest and recovery are an integral part of your training plan. Avoid pushing your body to the extreme level, lack of rest will bring about injury chances and increase the risk of over-training syndrome. Therefore, an intelligent half-marathon training plan and a positive mindset will prepare you to get going from the start line. And smart pacing interjected with strategic walk breaks will help you reach the finish line, maybe even win it.