7 Tips to help you prepare for your first half marathon.
You just signed up for your first half marathon.
You are probably feeling excited but overwhelmed with where to start.
First things first you need a training plan. These days there are so many different training plans that you can follow online. Do a little research and pick the one that looks the most manageable for you and has the best reviews. Another route you can take is to hire a running coach. It all depends on what your goals are. A running coach will design a plan tailored to you and your running fitness and goals and may also provide nutrition planning as well. You can also ask a friend who has trained for half marathons before and try out a training plan that they have liked.
Get a good pair of running shoes. You may already have a pair of running shoes that you love but if you have been training in them for awhile you may want to start with a fresh pair as you begin your mileage build up. You can shop for shoes online if you know what you are looking for or head to your closest running store and get fitted for a new pair. A knowledgeable running store employee will find you the perfect shoe for your running goals. There are so many choices out there it can be a bit confusing so having some guidance helps. If you are shopping online be sure to read the reviews!
Map out some running routes. As your mileage increases for long runs you will want to have some good routes to run. I like to find some good loops to run. If the half marathon course that you will be racing on is hilly make sure that you add some hilly routes into your training.
Find a running buddy. Half marathon training can be hard as you get to your peak mileage. It can be nice to have a buddy along for the long miles. They can help to push you to go farther or faster (depending on your goals) and the company is nice too.
7 Tips for Preparing for your First Half Marathon. #running #halfmarathon #runchatTweet
Be prepared to be sore. As your mileage increases and also if you are doing speed work your body will get sore. Make sure that your training plan has ample time built in for cross-training and rest so that you give your muscles time to recover. Dynamic warm-ups pre-run to loosen up and stretching and foam rolling are necessary to keep your body loose and to help ease muscle tightness and soreness. Schedule a massage during training to address muscle soreness should it arise.
Get nutrition dialed in. As you train you will also need to determine your nutrition plan for race day. This includes what to eat before long training runs, during training runs and the post run refuel. You will need to find what works for you because everyone is different. Some people prefer energy chews, some gels, some prefer to take in real food nutrition as they run. Again there are so many choices out there for what to try that you will need to try some different things before finding out what works the best for you. This Olympic Trials Qualifier Ashley Paulson even discovered that eating Cheetos pre-race is the food for her! It really is personal preference and making sure that you are getting the right blend of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes etc.
Practice hydration. Like nutrition this is also something that you will need to practice. You need to make sure that you get adequate hydration during your runs and also enough electrolytes. Races will have their electrolyte drink of choice on the course so it can be a good idea to practice with what you will be having on race day to ensure that it does not upset your stomach. Sometimes during my training I will wear a hydration pack (I use an UltrAspire race vest) during long runs to make sure that I have enough to drink as I run.
Hopefully this list will get you started and also excited to train for and race in your first half marathon.