If you are an enthusiastic runner and are thinking of running your first half marathon then this blog certainly can help. Perhaps you have a 5K under your belt and now are ready for something a little more demanding. The half marathon is ideal, as it is long enough to be taxing and will stand you in good stead for perhaps a marathon, but not overly taxing that it takes up your whole life.
Build up a Base
To prepare for a half marathon takes time, no matter how you feel or what anybody has told you. Proper half marathon training will take about ten to sixteen weeks depending on your starting point. Really you should already have been running approximately twenty miles per week and have at least one five mile run under your belt.
Starting below this level will not give your body enough time to acclimate to the longer run of a half marathon. Starting from a good platform is seriously important as when you start your training you will only have to acclimate to the half marathon demands, and not from scratch. A weak starting point is making your body to come to terms with building up your base and training for a half marathon, this is bound to put too much stress on the body, you will be over training and an injury is bound to occur.
Formulate a Plan
A common time frame for training for this race is twelve weeks, although it can take anywhere from ten to sixteen. Perhaps give yourself another couple of weeks and opt for fourteen weeks, especially if this is your first real distance race. This will give you the luxury of a fortnight extra if you come up against any setbacks such as injuries. There are many training plans on the internet, they vary in length and content, look at all the options then select one that you feel is most suitable to you and your lifestyle, you still have work, family, and social life to fit in also.
The plan also has to fit your fitness level, so if the plan calls for an eight-mile run the first day and the longest you have run is five miles, select another plan. Plans are called Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced but this really does not indicate anything, read the plan carefully and decide what you are yourself.
Quality Training Not Quantity
Of course, time on the road is a good preparation for a half marathon, but too many miles can increase the possibility of injury. Divide your running evenly between quality running and maintenance running, quality is at tempo and maintenance is a leisurely distance.
Tempo runs vary considerably but quite often start and finish with a mile warm up and cool down session, and every other mile run at a slightly slower pace. When you are running at tempo it will feel uncomfortable and it is designed to be so as it is builds your VO2 Max, which is your body’s ability to take and use oxygen to make energy. We continue our tips on training for a marathon in part two of this blog where we look at cross training and other factors to get you fully prepared.