So you’ve run a few 5ks, and maybe even a 10K and now you’ve built up the confidence to challenge yourself further with a half marathon.
A half marathon is long enough to intensify your routine, but it’s not so long that you devote all your time to it.
Like with any type of competition, it helps to gather a few training tips to build a routine that is best for you.
Keep reading for some excellent techniques most marathon runners swear by.
Create a Foundation
Most new runners make the mistake of believing that a 12-14 week half marathon plan is going to be enough to take them to the finish line, even if they’re complete beginners.
A half marathon plan assumes that you already have a weekly mileage of at least 15 to 20 miles in your arsenal.
Anything less than this will overwhelm your body’s system, prevent it from adjusting to the new routine and even put you at risk for injury.
If you have a solid foundation, your half marathon training will only allow you to acclimatize to the demands of the race.
If you have a weak foundation, the training will cause your body to strengthen your base, while adjusting to the demands on your half marathon.
A training volume that is much higher than what you can withstand increases your risk of overuse injuries significantly.
Find a Training Regime Fit for Your Needs
The human body can adapt and improve at an effective rate – if you’re ready to make small changes along the way.
The key is to choose quality over quantity when it comes to workouts and going longer and stronger, from your current fitness level to the finish line.
Your first week of training should be similar to your current training regime.
Avoid jumping into a program that requires a huge leap in intensity, mileage and frequency as this will call for aches, pains, overuse injuries and a potential drop out.
Remember less is more when you’re getting started with a new training program.
Look for the Right Gear and Test it
Although running is one of the most accessible sports that can be performed anywhere, choosing the right footwear can make a massive difference to your running performance.
It helps to go to a specialty running shop that will assess your running form and help you find a shoe that best suits you.
Bear in mind that what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.
So even if a particular shoe comes with thousands of positive reviews online, it helps to make the extra effort to get the right footwear for your running style.
You’ll also want to test your running clothes, socks, headphones before the race day.
Trust us, socks that ride down or clothes with parts that scratch your body are the last things you’ll want to take care of right before the race.
As a rule, never race in clothing or gear that you’ve not tried before.
Avoid experimenting with caffeine, new energy drinks, breakfast foods or anything on your race day.
Have a solid meal plan ready. This should include 30 to 40 grams of carbs per hour of running.
Whether this means adding more fruit or oatmeal, it’s important to understand that you know your body best.
Energy foods that work for your friend may not necessarily work for you.
Listen to Your Body
While committing to your plan is important for a successful half marathon, it’s more important to avoid injury.
Luckily most injuries can be addressed quickly and treated, if detected early.
Note that overuse injuries are more common than acute injuries in running.
Therefore, it is critical that you are honest with yourself if anything feels out of the ordinary.
It’s also important that you include plenty of rest between training days.
Studies show that athletes who rest for less than 2 days a week have 5.2 fold the risk of overuse injuries.
At the end of the day, you may miss a couple of workouts, but ultimately, it won’t ruin your chances of taking part in your race.