Running a half marathon can be exciting. It’s a milestone that requires training and persistence. When you’re all done, you’ll have more than just a medal. You’ll also have a sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that you’ve done something hard. With this in mind, there are some strategies you can use to make the experience more comfortable. Here are five tips from a seasoned runner, Gabriel Patterson of Winnipeg, to a person running their first half marathon:
1. Get the right pair of running shoes
Any experienced runner will tell you that footwear is critical. You’ll hurt your feet and even your back if you head out in your old pair of New Balances. Get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. Make an investment on the front end that will last throughout your training.
2. Don’t think you must run 13 miles multiple times before the race
One of the most common mistakes is thinking that you’ll need multiple 13-mile warm-ups under your belt before race day. In reality, you will have adrenaline on the day of the race. You’ll be able to go farther and faster on that day than in your practice. As long as you can successfully finish around 10 miles before race week, you can grind out a finish on race day.
3. Pace yourself as you prepare
If you’re starting with no distance running experience, try to give yourself at least three months to train for a half marathon. Ideally, you’ll have closer to six months. Don’t start off trying to stretch your distances. It’s alright to run a few miles every other day in the beginning. Many runners burn out well in advance of their race if they aren’t careful.
4. Run in conditions similar to your race
Are you going to be running in hot weather during the middle of the day? It will be essential to practice some in those conditions. Is the race early in the morning like most half marathons? Be sure to get up early to allow your body to adjust.
“One of the most prominent mistakes runners make is training only on flat ground when their chosen half marathon has various hills. Make sure you recreate the conditions reasonably well so that you’ll be prepared for what comes on race day,” stated Gabriel Patterson, Winnipeg fitness coach.
5. Find a running style that works for you
Some people run at a slow and steady pace for the entirety of the 13.1 miles. Other people run fast and then slow at various intervals. The approach you choose must work for you. Figure out a strategy that will allow you to enjoy what you’re doing. If you’re the sort of person who loves a long sprint followed by some fast walking, then employ that approach. Don’t think that you’re tied down to one method just because everyone else is doing it.
Preparing for a half marathon can be fun. If you give yourself enough time and take the training seriously, you may walk away with an immense feeling of accomplishment. It’s essential to be smart in your training, though. Many people have burned out early or gotten injured because they failed to heed the advice of more experienced runners. If you can adequately prepare, race day should be a fun coronation for you.