A half marathon is a great way to challenge yourself. Whether you're a complete beginner or elite runner, the half marathon is a prestigious event. It's long enough to be a tough event, but short enough to be achievable and measurable against yourself or others, without getting injured or having to recover for a few weeks after.
Here are some of our tips to get you to the start and finish line in the best way possible.
Related: Top ten tips for your first race
Related: Make the best training plan and routine for you
Choose the right kit
There is nothing worse that being uncomfortable or having for knees, legs, feet etc. when trying to train or race. You’ll need to be sure that you choose the right kit for you to be able to do the work necessary to succeed.
Trainers are VERY important. Loads of people underestimate the value of trainers with regards to their training… after all, if they are the reason that you’re getting injured, or having blisters… then you’re not going to be consistent as you’re not going to enjoy the training and therefore be unmotivated to go out and get the work done.
Get a good pair of trainers to train in (talk to a professional, not a so-called expert in the trade just trying to flog you some product) and then make sure you replace them when the sponge is flatted. Dependant on your weight, this is after running around 1000km.
Likewise for racing. The Nike zoom x foam is outrageous but there are other great options out there with carbon soles that will be great for racing in.
Training: Nike pegasus 39 / Nike infinity react 3
Have the right program
It seems obvious… but if you aren’t training correctly to make the most out of the time you have, then you can’t expect to achieve the time you’re capable of.
Finding the right program for you can be easy as there are loads of templates out there that you can download or find free examples of online that you can try and stick to.
Related: HOW to make a training plan yourself
The key things to consider with running, is how much you’ve done in the previous 3-4 weeks and start from there… Effectively, average out the past 3-4 weeks worth of training you’ve actually done… ie. if you’ve done a total of 30km in 3 weeks, then aim for your first week of training to be 10km and work from there.
Don’t do too much too soon. Don’t run before you can walk! And on that note, done be afraid to walk! Just get the time on feet and you’ll get to where you want to be. You just have to be patient.
Don’t be afraid to cross-train
The beauty of triathlon Is that you have two other sports to boost your aerobic fitness. This crosses over to your running, to enable you to run faster for longer in comparison to what you’d be able to do if you were to just increase your run volume.
Cross training, whether it be swimming, cycling, or time on the Cross trainer… is amazing for increasing fitness without having the risks of increasing run volume too quickly.
Panic training isn’t advised
Don’t think that just because you haven’t trained much over the past 2-4 months that you have to smash a load of training 2-3 weeks out from the event itself… this is only going to end in tears.
Lot’s of people think they have to prove to themselves that what they want to do is achievable. Whether this be through doing a massive session at a high pace to show they are fit enough, to doing the whole distance of a half marathon a week out from the event… ‘just to see if I could’… that’s what the day is for!
Instead, try taking a step back. Keep doing what you’ve been doing for the past couple of months… if you want to do a bit more, then concentrate on eating healthy, some cross training (nothing too new, only low injury risk exercise), and just make sure you get to the event injury free and healthy.
This is where a coach is massively beneficial. If you have someone you trust to tell you it’s ok not to up the training and that you’re more than capable of achieving your goals, then it gives you the confidence to not ramp things up and cause an unintentional injury.
Eat what you normally eat
Don’t change your diet. Don’t carb load. Keep it normal to your usual week. It’s tried and tested and you know it’ll sit well.
Do make sure you eat a few hours before the start time of your race, and allow whatever you do have to settle / digest well beforehand. Try not to have too much dairy as this never sit’s well whilst running.
Make sure you’ve chosen good foods to eat during… if you’re running for more than the obscene 60-75minutes some of these whippets run, then you’re more than likely going to need a snack and hydration. Keep it simple and something you’ve tried before that you know isn’t going to upset you.
Pace it well
Again, seems obvious. But… people often get to the event thinking that they are all of a sudden going to be able to do far more than what their training suggests. This is rarely the case. Trust your training and what it’s suggesting you’re able to run, and stick to that for at least the first 5-10km.
There are plenty of ways to pace a half: see here
The best way is for it to be individualised… again… having someone you’ve worked with to advise how best you run your own race is highly advisable. This can be from sticking to a certain HR, or knowing that from certain sessions you’ve completed, what pace you’re able to sustain for your Half marathon. Either way, knowing how your training will correlate to a performance can be fundamental.
If any of this does relate to you of you want to question us more, do be sure to send us a message for more advice and tips… just click here.
If you’re looking to do a half marathon soon, do be sure to enjoy it and take in the atmosphere! It’s always electric and a hell of an achievement for all involved, from the elites to first timers. Have fun, congratulate yourself… and be sure to take the positives from it, however you do.