As the New England winter rears its head and marathon season draws to a close, I’ve had some time to reflect on my big race. In the post about my first half marathon, I promised a follow-up blog with tried and true half marathon advice. Below are 10 simple tips to consider in the months leading up to the race. Over the next few days, I’ll also include posts with tips to keep in mind during the race (mental toughness is key) and after the race (don’t plop on the couch just yet). So check out the tips below, and I hope they inspire you to take the first step towards your 13.1.
Before the race:
- Start off small. You should run a 5K or 10K at some point before your first half marathon. This helps with nerves and makes sure you’re capable of the next step.
- Pick a customized plan and set a realistic goal. There are tons of free plans available online, but pick one that is tailored to your fitness level and weekly availability.
- Prepare with the right gear. Most importantly, make sure you have a good pair of running shoes that you can break in before the race.
- Practice proper breathing, pacing and form. Your long run days provide a good time to get this tricky trio down.
- Research your race and train accordingly. Learn the course, and run it at least once before race day. Know what surface it’s run on, what the weather should be, and whether the course is hilly or flat.
- Stay motivated and on-track with a training journal. I used the Nike+ Running app to keep track of my pace, distance and routes.
- Don’t skip the weekly long run, which you can treat as a practice for race day. Eat, dress, and prepare as you will on the big day.
- Eat right. This is often half the battle, and can make all the difference on how your body functions.
- Rest and recover. Don’t push yourself to or through an injury. Listen to your body and take a break when it’s telling you to.
- Taper in the week leading up to the event. Failing to do so could leave you sore and exhausted at the starting line.
What do you think of these? What worked for you while training for your first half?