For many people the half marathon is their favorite distance. It’s a challenging distance but also very attainable for most people. Plus, they’re a bit easier to recover from than the marathon distance.
In this episode we share tips on half marathon success for both beginners and experienced runners. Plus, we tell you about the first ever MTA Virtual Half Marathon!! Coming soon to a running route near you!
How you approach training for a half marathon will depend on whether it will be your first one, whether you’re coming back from injury, whether you’re running it for fun, or whether you’re pursuing a personal best. Many runners also use half marathons as training runs in their marathon training.
If you’ve decided to tackle the half marathon for the first time you’re in great company. Here are some tips to help you have a good experience.
1. Get fitted for running shoes at a specialty running store. Having your gait and foot evaluated in the beginning can be a great first step to running comfortably.
2. Start to build a solid running base. It’s important to gradually build your mileage to avoid injury and burnout. Don’t hurry the process of training. Even though it’s possible to do a half marathon on little training, it won’t be that fun of an experience. I was just reading a story today of a woman whose long run was 8 miles and by the time she got to 12 miles she wanted to quit.
3. Consider doing a run/walk method. If you’re totally new to running using run/walk intervals can be easier on the body and help you go the distance. One popular run/walk method is the Galloway Method, created by Jeff Galloway who we had on a past episode.
4. Choose a training plan. Find a smart half marathon plan that’s suitable for your level of running. Your first half marathon is not the time to be setting aggressive time goals. Make sure that you don’t choose a plan that has you running 5-6 days per week if you’re a newer running or coming into training with low weekly mileage.
5. Pick a race. You may want to choose a local half marathon for your first to reduce the pre-race stress. Sleeping in your own bed and not having to worry about tense race morning logistics is nice. But destination races are also very popular and provide a good training incentive. Pretty much any destination you want to travel will have a half marathon, including National Parks.
6. Don’t forget to cross train. Doing focused low impact exercise will make you a stronger and more injury-proof runner. Activities like yoga, swimming, cycling, core training, Pilates, rowing, and strength training are all excellent ways to supplement your running.
7. Avoid chaffing. As your runs become longer you may notice that the skin rubs together or causes friction with your clothing resulting in chaffing. This can especially be a problem in warmer temps. Be prepared by using some sort of anti-friction ointment pre-run to eliminate this pain.
8. Wear technical running clothes for more comfort. Avoid cotton garments as this doesn’t breathe well and can increase the risk of chaffing. Finding the right kind of sports bra for women and socks for both genders can go a long way to increase your comfort with running.
9. Keep a running log. This can be on paper or online and will help you track your progress and identify any issues before they become big problems.
Listen to your body. Don’t ignore small issues. Identifying potential aches and pains early and seeking help can help prevent long-term injury.
10. Develop a fueling strategy. As you begin running for over an hour to 90 minutes you may need to consider some type of fuel for sustained energy. Start to experiment early in your training so that you have a tried and true system for race day.
11. Educate and motivate yourself by learning more. There are a variety of podcast, magazines, books and running forums that can take your knowledge to the next level.
Run your own race. When it comes to race day don’t worry about what other people are doing. Focus on running well and finishing strong.
12. Have fun! Long distance running is very fulfilling. Enjoy the way your life has changed for the better.