Running a half-marathon may sound like a daunting task if you’ve never run a marathon before. But before you even consider doing such a thing, you’re going to need an extensive training plan that will test to see how your body reacts. Once you’re past that point, you also need to think about what happens on the actual race day. Keeping a certain pace, staying hydrated and your bladder empty will matter in whether or not you’re successful at finishing your half marathon.
The Very Beginning of Training
If you’ve never done extensive running before, your half-marathon goal will have to be further out in the future. That’s because you should be able to run at least 15 miles every week before even starting a half-marathon training schedule. This pattern should go on for a year in order to get your body acclimated to such long runs.
Be sure to get a doctor’s approval as well before taking on a training program. You don’t want to be running 15 miles a week if you have an unknown heart problem or other health issue. Remember to take some days off to rest without going weeks in-between running again.
The More Serious Training Program
After that year is up and your body is trained to withstand longer runs, half-marathon training is going to mean running most of the week for up to 20 weeks. Just as the earlier training, you have to stay with a consistent schedule if you want to make progress in getting prepared physically. That can be a challenge if you’re busy, though keeping a visual record can sometimes be a motivator. Even some apps are being developed that can help you track your progress in marathon training.
Ways to Help Stay Motivated
If you have problems getting motivated each week, perhaps running with a friend who’s also training for a half-marathon would benefit you. When you have someone else to run with who’s more motivated than you are, it can be an inspiration to keep going and making time for long runs at least three days out of the week.
The Importance of Rest Days
Your body can get burned out fast during an intense 20-week training program. Because half-marathons are very grueling, you need days off during your training to restore your body. Don’t keep going consistently without allotting at least one or two days for that body restoration. During this process, get as much as sleep as you can, because that’s when the healing of your body will occur.
Having a very long sleep before the day of the race will also be essential so your body is stronger to avoid the possibility of unexpected injury.
What to Do During the Day of the Half-Marathon
Half-marathons are generally a little over 13 miles, so the pace you keep in the first quarter of the race is going to make a difference in how well you finish. It’s not much different than playing any other high-energy sport like basketball. You remember Michael Jordan holding back until the 4th quarter when all his energy held in reserve came to life. He then left the opposing team in the dust.
Start out at a slower pace and then start picking up the pace in the last leg of the marathon. Most likely, you can gain a lead because so many other runners will have spent their earlier adrenaline.
Be sure to never skip drinking water when it’s made available to keep yourself hydrated. Obviously, this could also create the problem situation where you have to use the bathroom along the route. Be sure to empty your bladder at least twice before starting the race so you don’t waste time waiting in line to use an outhouse.