Half Marathon Training Plan

Half Marathon Training PlanSo you have done some running before and you are thinking of taking it further and competing in a half marathon. You need a half marathon training plan and in it you need to allow yourself at least ten weeks serious training to prepare for the big race.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Nutrition

The 10 weeks before the race is looming so it is time to begin thinking seriously about nutrition. Try to ensure you are near your ideal body weight and if you haven't been doing any training prior to this point it is a good idea to pay your doctor a visit to just have a check of your fitness to run. This is because whilst it's comforting to have those nice Ambulance men on stand by, you don't want to be the one passed out in the back of one of their vehicles! Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to make sure your body has all the vitamins and minerals it's going to need. This combined with a diet full of whole grains, breads, pastas and potatoes (yay go carbs mad!) you will be making sure that you have a good store of glycogen, which can be converted into the glucose needed for energy. Your diet in the run up to the race needs to be around 70% carbohydrates (this is known as "carb loading") and is necessary because when you hit that wall it's your glycogen stores that will help you over it. Your body will also need a good fat store to rely on later in the race – a mans ideal body fat ratio on race day should be around 15% with a woman's around 25-30%. As long as you have a good, balanced diet there is really no need to up protein intake, as this isn't relied on for energy just for growth and repair of tissue after the race. Click here to read more about Carbohydrates.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Hydration

Along with diet, keeping your body hydrated during half marathon training is vital. You don't want to end up near the end of the race with agonising cramps or suffering the effects of heat stroke and not being able to finish. Get in the good habit of drinking around 16ozs of, preferably, plain water an hour before each run (any later and you may find yourself taking an unwanted "pit stop" at the side of the road a la Paula Radcliffe). During running you also need to keep your hydration levels topped up by taking in a further 6-8ozs of water every 30 minutes or so. And don't be tempted to drink coffee or coke instead of water thinking the caffeine will give you a little boost it will have a negative effect on your hydration. Go here to watch a video all about the importance of drinking water to your health.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Clothing

With your diet and hydration sorted start thinking about what you are going to wear on the day. Your clothing needs to allow your skin to breathe and not rub or irritate you so wear them while your out training to check that they are going to serve their purpose. Also stick to snug (but not tight) clothing, as you don't need a t-shirt that's going to billow up around you if it's a windy day and slow you down. Footwear is obviously also going to be important – trainers or running shoes need to be comfortable and light weight but also need to provide lots of support so again try them out when you're training and don't save them so they're all new and shiny for the big day. Snazzy, spotless trainers may look the part but you may also find yourself limping away from the race with blisters that deserve a gold medal!

To find the right trainers you need to understand your foot type, as this can nake a huge difference in your performance. Go here to read Running Shoes – The Ultimate Guide.

Training For A Half Marathon

You may have already done some long distance running and even competed in a half marathon previously and want to get your time down to, maybe, under two hours. Whatever your experiences don't rush into full intensity training seven days a week – even professional marathon runners have rest days! Allow yourself 2 to 3 of these rest days a week. Then on another 2 or 3 days do an easy to moderate training session of around 20-30 minutes. This way you'll only have one or two days a week to dread (I mean to do a high intensity training session). On this day you'll be training long and hard, beginning with an hour long, high intensity run building this up to two hours by the end of the ten weeks. Don't forget as the weeks go by to add in some hill running using a cross-trainer if you live somewhere flat. It is important to remember that whatever else you do NO RUNNING on the two days before the race.

"Don't do anything more than 10-15 minutes of light jogging before the race" advises Scott Douglas of Runners World. You don't want to deplete those glycogen levels you've worked hard to amass over the last ten weeks. A small jog and some stretching exercises are enough prior to the race. Then go and find yourself a quiet space to calm yourself down and ensure yourself this is going to be a "walk in the park" because any long distance runner will tell you, determination and a will to succeed is one of the surest ways to "go the distance".

This should have given you some great tips and the motivation to start your training for a half marathon. Once you have done a half-marathon a few times you can build up to the full 26-mile marathon. Just think what an accomplishment that would be.

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