Running your first half marathon isn’t an easy ask, especially if running isn’t exactly your thing. Like any other race you’ve ran before (or not), it’s going to take some training.
Yes, some people brag they’ve completed one without giving the 13.1 miles a second thought in the months leading up to the big day. But these people are more likely to be the ones hobbling around for days (or weeks) afterwards with post-run problems, such as tight muscles and torn tendons.
PREPARING YOURSELF FOR YOUR FIRST HALF MARATHON
So when its your first time braving the mammoth milage, how do you ensure you’re prepared?
Even if you’re not a runner, there’s nothing stopping you from signing up to a half marathon. Even if you’ve only ran fun run 5kms or an odd 10km before. You just need to get your training right.
The people around you, especially those who were experienced runners or those who work in the fitness industry, will tell you that you need a plan. You need a programme to follow for training, and you need to stick to it.
But not everyone is great at sticking to programmes. They either get bored or distracted, or life gets in the way and after a few days off plan, they never end up looking back at it again.
But really, not having a plan and just running when you can, is better than not running at all. If you’ve set your sights on clocking up morning miles, get up and run the distance you want. The distance you feel like. Some mornings that could be 10km before your morning coffee, others it could just be a light jog to the nearest steep hill to run five speedy sprints before then heading back home to bed. Weekends are more convenient for longer runs; starting by aiming for 10km and work your way up to around 18km.
18km is a good distance to train to. Why? Because if you can run 18, another three and a bit on the day is nothing.
You may hear people mentioning speed training too. Is it essential to getting you over that finish line? A few sprints here and there are likely to help when you’re faced with your last few metres, but simply finding a pace you feel comfortable with, working out the pace you need to average to beat your goal time and continually tried to run between these speeds works just as well.
EXTRA ADVICE FOR YOUR FIRST HALF MARATHON
Anyone can run a half marathon. It doesn’t matter how long it would take you, crossing that finish line is satisfaction enough. But these three training tips will be sure to help.
1. Push yourself, but don’t push yourself too hard
Run what you can, when you can. Even a few kilometers is better than nothing.
2. The atmosphere on the day is more motivating than any playlist
Don’t worry about how bad your training miles may be. Race day ones are easier.
3. Enjoy it
Because at the end of the day, the hard work you put in is over in just a couple of hours on race day. The medal and the memories will be all you have.