If you’ve recently graduated from the 5K or 10K club, you might now be thinking of taking the next step up to a half marathon. It’s completely understandable to feel daunted by running your first longer distance run, but the 13.1 event is still achievable for runners of all experience levels.
To help you get to grips with a half marathon, and run your best race yet, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for training and running a half.
It might seem like a good idea to sprint ahead at the start of your race when you are full of energy, but in doing so your body will release lactic acid and become fatigued quickly. It’s better to pace yourself over the course and reserve some energy for the last few miles.
Use a training plan
Whatever running experience you already have, a training plan will only help to enhance your performance on race day. For a half marathon you’ll want to include a mixture of running, cross training and strength training, building up to longer distances as you get closer to your event.
Never underestimate the importance of the humble warm up routine! Not only will warming up effectively prevent injuries, but it can also help to prepare your muscles and help you to perform to the best of your abilities during your run.
If you are trying to improve your average speed, add interval training into your training plan. You should aim to run hard for intervals of 30 seconds to one minute to get your body used to running at a higher intensity.
Find your soundtrack
For many, running and training for a longer distance like a half marathon can start to become a bit dull. A good running playlist can help keep your runs interesting and motivated, and higher tempo tracks can help spur you on to run that little bit faster too!
There’s an app for that!
The best way to track your training and progress is to use fitness apps or trackers. These clever technologies can monitor your pace, heart rate and more allowing you to see in real time where you can improve your technique.
Research your course
The more you know about your course, the better you can prepare. Knowing about a steep hill 6km into the course will help you to better manage how you pace yourself, and to incorporate hills into your training.
Run with friends
Running with friends, or even joining a local running club, can add an element of fun to your training and help keep you motivated on reaching your 10K goals. What better way to celebrate crossing the finish line that regrouping post-race for a victory meal?
In the last couple of weeks before your race it might be tempting to switch your training into overdrive, but do resist this urge! If you train too hard before your race you’ll find yourself exhausted and risk injury. Start to taper off your training before your race to perform at your best.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself! Completing a half marathon is a great accomplishment and something to be truly proud of whether you walk the whole course or get around in record time!
If you are looking for your next half marathon, take a look at our event listings to find the perfect event for you - Half Marathon Listings