I recently completed my 7th half-marathon which I trained for in 7 weeks. So I thought I would share 7 tips for training for your half marathon. Of course, by no means are these tips complete. They should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m an amateur in the sport and these are just based on my experience. If you’re serious about running a half marathon, please contact a professional and a medical health practitioner. Now that I got all of the legal stuff out of the way… here are my 7 Tips for training for a half marathon
1. DO take the time to train properly. Ideally, you will require 12 weeks (three months) to properly train for a half marathon. However, if you have a passion for running and enjoy doing it on a regular basis and have had some experience with running, don’t let a limited time frame stop you from signing up to run a half marathon.
2. DON’T try to pick up any new exercise while you’re training. All you really need is some times on your legs. Achy muscles may make it harder for you to go out on a run because you might need to stay home and recover / rest.
3. DO purchase a good pair of running shoes. Go to a New Balance store and get fitted for a proper shoe based on the size and shape of your feet. A foot exam done by a trained personnel will check to see whether you have a rigid or flexible foot, a low or high arch, or are flat-footed.
4. DON’T buy a new pair of shoes a few weeks before the race. You need to work your shoes in and make sure they’re comfortable for running long distance and that the shoe is compatible with your foot.On the other hand, you don’t want to be running on a worn pair either. You need cushioning and support. So if you do buy one a few weeks before the run, make sure you put in a good long run on them before race day.
5. DO motivate yourself by keeping the eye on the prize. That is… finishing the race in your best time! Avoid “awarding” yourself with treats like candy or chips after a long training run (you have no idea how many times I’ve been tempted). It’ll only take away from the real rewards which will be to cross the finish line. It will also stand in the way of obtaining the results of all of your hard work.
6. DON’T start out too strong out of the gate. You don’t want to give up before you even start. Training means taking it slowly and building your way up to longer runs. Start with a short run like 1KM and each week, increase the length of your runs and frequency. You should try to complete at least one 15 – 17 KM run during your training. It’s all about muscle memory.
7. DO drink a lot of water during training and especially the week leading up to the big race. Enjoy a nice carby meal the night before the race, (pasta is great) but don’t over do it or eat something you wouldn’t normally. The worst thing is to have an upset stomach the morning of race day.
Most of all, get out there and have fun. Running is a great way to relax and be one with your thoughts. Personally, I enjoy running alone and without any music. However, most people I know prefer running with a partner (or even a group) and listening to music. Find your groove and stick to it. Good-luck!