These golden rules will make half marathon training easier:
Ready to take on your first half marathon? We love this distance – especially the Windsor Half Marathon! Set yourself a new goal – make this the year you complete 13.1!
Half marathon doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, with enough time and consistent training, anyone can take on 13.1 miles. Running a half marathon is impressive – an undeniable statement that you are a runner. It tests your endurance, stamina, fitness, and pace. But it’s nothing like as demanding as a full marathon.
Here’s how to fit half marathon training into your busy life:
This might sound counter intuitive, but you need to make sure your half marathon training fits into your existing life. Sure, the ideal approach might be to drop everything and tick off every run in a perfect training plan. But this is real life. Choose a plan you will actually be able to stick to. An “OK” plan done 100% is better than a “perfect” plan done 75%.
To complete a half marathon, you must make sure you are capable of covering distance. Sounds obvious, but so many people skimp on mileage. You’ll need to do a long run every week (gradually increasing the distance), plus a midweek distance run of 10K+. Once you’ve established a solid base level of fitness, add 10 minutes to your long run every week. This steady, consistent approach will develop your cardio fitness and prepare every aspect of your body (and mind!) for the half marathon distance.
You might think there’s no time to do strength work in a half marathon training plan – but it’s really important. Support your legs, hips, and back with some strength training and it will help keep you free from injury – and could even boost your running pace. 1-2 short simple strength sessions per week for the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core will work wonders. Try wall sits, lunges, glute bridges, bodyweight squats, and planks.
There’s a risk involved in half marathon training – the risk of falling into a steady pace and getting stuck there. Make sure you maintain your ability to kick up some pace when it matters. Include a midweek training run for speed and pace. Intervals, threshold runs, or sprints will all keep your pace higher and prevent you from becoming a plodder.
You can’t wing it and hope to fuel your body properly for half marathon training. Become a nutrition ninja: plan your meals, batch cook, have a meal prep day, and make sure you have healthy snacks to hand. Meals before and after training should be lower in fat but high in carbs with moderate protein. Snacks should be rich in protein to keep hunger in check. If you feel really hungry once the mileage increases, don’t reach for sugary manmade snacks. Try snacking on hard boiled eggs, real Greek yoghurt, leftover meat based meals, crudites with hummus – think protein, fibre, and healthy foods.
Training for a half marathon will seriously impact your energy levels. And this will be even more noticeable if you have a busy, stressful life (who doesn’t!) If you’re training for a half marathon as well as working, commuting, bringing up kids, being Mum-taxi, running a business (etc!) then you simply have to take rest and recovery seriously. Start going to bed earlier (even half an hour counts). Make your bedroom dark and cool. No phones in the bedroom. Avoid late night online scrolling and just one more Netflix episode. Sleep matters more.
Half marathon training is a wonderful opportunity to discover what you’re capable of as a runner. You are almost certainly faster than you think! So find out what your true endurance pace is over these long training runs. Thought you were a 10 min/mile runner? You might surprise yourself by uncovering a comfortable 9:30m/m pace. By working on mileage and speed over your training programme, you’ll uncover your natural tempo pace. The more you run, the more this pace will feel familiar and comfortable. One day, it will feel like you could run this way forever!