Running a half marathon has become a standing item on many personal ˜bucket lists’, increasingly becoming less of a pipe-dream and more of an attainable goal.
However, last time you checked, your runners were taking up permanent residence in your closet despite your best intentions and the thought walking five kilometers sends shudders down your spine, forget running 21 kilometers.
How do you move your bucket list entry to the ˜been there, done that’ category and still live to tell the tale? The following are easy tips and techniques to keep in mind as you work to train for your goal.
Invest in good running shoes
Avid runners swear by their running shoes and don’t hesitate to make the investment in them over worrying about cute shorts. Your feet are doing the brunt of the work, so make sure your runners are light weight and have the specific support you need. Most specialty running stores offer free assessments and advice on the best shoe for your foot.
Identify your goal and make a plan
Be as specific as you can about your goal. How fast are you looking to cross that finish line? Once you have identified a clear goal for yourself, develop your plan. How are you going to get there? You can find a wide variety of training schedules online for rookie half marathoners or if you feel you need the added support, work with a trainer who has experience training long distance runners.
Careful not to over-train
A common mistake that can be avoiding by simply planning backwards. Most training schedules will peak at the 10 to 12 week mark. Back track from this date and begin your training so you are at your peak as close to race day as possible.
Don’t forget strength training
Experienced long distance runners incorporate three strength training sessions in a week, with a focus on core, back and legs. Change up your routine here from week to week to keep your body guessing and ensure you keep progressing forward. You will eventually notice better form and a stronger run.
Eat as well as you can and keep what you put on your plate as balanced as possible. Experts suggest women running long distances should consider supplements so if in doubt, consult your family doctor or nutritionist and ask what they suggest for you.
If you are new to racing or long distance running, try running smaller races in your community to get a feel of race day atmosphere, the nervous energy and the amount of people that participate. You want as few surprises as possible on your big day.
Train in a variety of conditions
You’ve been training all summer at the gym and have made fast friends with the treadmill. As beneficial as this training is, make sure you split your time training in outdoor conditions, similar to the ones you will be running in on race day. Weather included. Again, you want to eliminate surprises as much as possible that might rattle you when it counts, so armour yourself with experience.