Are you a regular runner who needs that little bit more to keep your training on track? Or maybe competitive running has been on your radar a while?
A half marathon event may be just what you’re looking for.
It’s the ideal introduction to longer distance running and a challenge in its own right. Training for a half marathon can fit into a busy schedule – it won’t take over your life and is less likely to put you at risk of injury than some other longer distance events.
Sound like it could be something for you?
Here’s some tips to help prepare for your first half marathon.
1) Start with a solid base
If you’re managing to run three times a week for 30 minutes or more, you’ve already on your way to preparing for a half marathon. This level gives you the ideal platform on which to build your training.
2) Manage your motivation
It’s one thing to find motivation to start training, it’s another thing to stay motivated. Set some clear goals for yourself to help stay on track. Finding a training buddy or group can be hugely beneficial to maintaining training stamina and accountability, as well as enjoyment.
3) Pick your race
Are you after the energy of a big city crowd, or is something low-key more your scene? Do you want to start out with a flat course, or maybe one with more challenging terrain but awesome landscape appeals? Do a bit of research and find a course that suits you.
4) Tailor a training plan
There are tons of training plans specific to half marathons. Search online to find one that matches your lifestyle and fitness level. Most plans range from 10-16 weeks in length. A longer plan gives more time to acclimate to training demands, but if your running base is already high you’ll obviously manage a shorter plan.
Include cross-training and light resistance work to optimise your running fitness, and make sure you allow adequate recovery between training days.
5) Get your gears on
Don’t compromise on the correct footwear – see it as a necessary investment in comfort, injury prevention and protection. Running shoes can cater for all sorts of different requirements including running biomechanics and foot position, size and width. Come in and speak to one of our Fit Technicians in-store at The Athlete’s Foot, where gait analysis and your specific footwear requirements can be properly assessed.
You may also like to invest in sports socks designed to wick moisture and sweat away from feet to help avoid blisters and slipping in the shoe.
Running clothing needs to be comfortable and lightweight, allowing for air circulation and also keeping moisture away from the body.
Sunglasses should be a correct fit so they don’t bounce or rub as you run. Avoid very tight designs that may steam up due to poor ventilation. Opt for polycarbonate or composite lens (not glass), so they won’t shatter if you fall or something hits you as you’re running.
6) Nut out your nutritional needs
Keeping well hydrated and nourished will enhance both your running performance and experience. Generally, as your training demands increase so will your energy requirements. Again, there are heaps of online resources that cover this topic. You might need to experiment with what sort of nutritional plan, ‘fuel sources’, meal timings and supplement options (if any) work best for you. Undertake this early on, so at actual race time and the days beforehand you’ll be confident in your requirements and choices.
7) Sort the specifics
Before the big day do your event homework. Read the pre-race instructions, be familiar with the course, parking and transport, pit stops and port-a-loos – it’ll all make for a much less stressful day. Assemble and check your kit in the final week – include tried and trusted emergency items, clothing, fluids and any gels/snacks you’ll need for quick energy.
Completing a half marathon is not just about crossing the finish line. Enjoy running your best race and congratulate yourself on showing the commitment to step it up and see it through!