The marathon season is right around the corner and it seems like training is on every runner’s mind. Although you may not be ready to run one yet, hanging around a group of runners is a fantastic way to get motivated and get into better overall shape. You will find the excitement and the atmosphere around the event inspirational and motivational for your own running and fitness goals. Join your friend(s) in training for the shorter runs, or crash one of the trainings of a local running group to get a feel for the workouts. Running communities are close-knit groups and always welcoming to new members, so don’t feel shy to reach out!
Does running 26.2 miles seem overly intimidating to you? Consider training for a half. 13.1 miles is a challenging distance, but with the right training routine, is feasible for most fitness buffs. However, before training for a half, make sure you can cover 6 miles on your own, whether that is running the whole distance, or even walking part of it. Being able to get the 6 under your belt is a great indicator that you are ready for the journey of a half marathon training.
Give yourself 14-16 weeks before the event to train. If it is your first half marathon, find a training group in your area. Finding a fun group to share the experience with is one of the most special and memorable parts of the entire voyage. Whether you’re a run-walker, a leisurely jogger, or a speedy runner, try to pick a group that fits well with your pace. That way you will grow together, share mutual challenges, and always have someone to talk to on your longer runs.
The biggest question most beginning half marathoners have is: how long should my training runs be and how many times per week should I run?
During the training, your mileage should gradually increase each week. In general, the total distance covered should not increase by more than 10-15% from week-to-week, thus guaranteeing that your body slowly builds up the physical and mental strength and stamina needed for the big event.
Schedule your long runs on the weekends and shorter workouts during the week. Getting a track or a hill workout in every week is beneficial to build up the speed. In addition to the weekly long runs and speed workouts, squeeze in two easy jogs that build up from 3 miles in the beginning of your training to 6 at the end. On the days you are not running, or in addition to your light jogs, do not neglect the importance of cross training. Strengthening your upper body and core is crucial to keeping the right form and balance on those long runs. Not to mention, in addition to injury prevention, cross training will help you get the lean muscle that will increase your endurance and help burn fat.
As you get ready for your race, remember to give yourself enough rest. Generally, a day off after the long and speed runs will give your muscles the well-needed break. Train hard and build up your distance to 13-14 miles 2-3 weeks before the event. Choosing to train past the distance of the event is more of a mental preparation than physical. After covering 14 miles, 13.1 just won’t seem as daunting and will prepare you for the finish. You should then taper off in the final weeks leading up to the half marathon to allow your body to recover from training, allowing you to be your strongest on the anticipated day.
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Svetlana Kolesnikova is a former model, current business student and a fitness blogger born in Vladivostok, Russia, and is currently based in San Francisco, CA. With a true passion for wellness, Svetlana stands by health and fitness as a lifestyle rather than an afterthought. Being a champion half marathon runner, cross-training enthusiast, and a nutrition fanatic, Svetlana motivates readers throughout the United States with her personal tips on how to feel, look, and perform your best. For more fitness and nutrition tips and workouts follow Svetlana on www.GoFabGetFit.com.