Useful Tips for Half Marathon Beginners

The half marathon is one of the most popular race distance in the U.S, with over 1.9 million people racing in 2,800 races 2016. The 13.1 miles distance is a manageable distance for anyone to challenge themselves and feel accomplished without feeling like its mission impossible. With the proper training, just about anyone can do a half marathon. The key is to prepare your body and mind for the training without overdoing it and causing injury.

Follow these half-marathon tips to get your training started!

Find a reason to run and determine if you’re ready

Training for and competing in a long race can be mentally and physically draining regardless whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner. Ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”, and use the answer to that question as a motivation to keep yourself focused throughout your training as well as race day.

Choose a training plan that you can commit to

Most beginner half-marathon training plans start with a three-mile run in the first week while gradually increasing distance with time. To build up a habit, you should be running at least three times a week, with weekday runs averaging up to 30 minutes, then work your way up to a three mile run on the weekend. Depending on your running game, 13 weeks is a sufficient period to safely build up your long run with weekly mileage and critical workouts.

Be honest with yourself and listen to your body

Committing to your plan is the key to success with your training, but the more important thing is to avoid injury. Many injuries can be addressed and prevented if you can be honest with yourself to acknowledge when something hurts. In the long run, missing one workout won’t ruin your race, but ignoring an injury that may get worse can put you out from training for a while. Listen to your body and take rest days accordingly.

Select the right gear can go a long way

The miles do add up over the course of time, so it is important to be training in comfortable shoes and clothes. It may sound common sense, but gear makes a huge difference. Head to a specialty running store that can help analyze your form and help you choose the best shoes that are most suitable for your feet and running style. Test out different leggings, socks, and headphones and pick the ones that work best for you so you can train in confidence for the big race day.

Refuel after your key workouts

What makes you run fast on race day is consistent training, but what you intake into your body is what will fuel you to make that training happen. 90 minutes before your run, intake a mixed meal that’s low-fiber and complex carbs like protein, oatmeal, whole-grain toast, eggs, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and vegetables. These high complex carbs foods will increase blood glucose and insulin to deliver and store sufficient energy when you start running. Your post-workout meal should compose of a mixture of carbs, protein, and fat to promote faster nutrient absorption to speed up muscle recovery. As a rule of thumbs, always load up on water throughout the day.