The half marathon distance cannot be disrespected! I've been caught out with complacency before so respecting the distance is critical!! Here's my Half Marathon tips for you to succeed at this distance!
Tip 1 - Train with the same trainers AND clothes that you are going to wear! Reduce the risk of blisters, chaffage, bloody nipples with clothes (including underwear + socks) and trainers that are well worn in!
Tip 2 - Sounds an obvious one but wanted to get it in early .... TRAIN
Not only train but train specifically for the half marathon, increment distances slowly and try to do at least 1 x 10 miler, I’d recommend a few more of these but 1 is minimum! Recovery well and do some strength work as injury prevention! My training plan is in the comments below, feel free to use or to join me if live in or near Cardiff!
Tip 3 - Do your long runs on the same day and same part of the day as the event.
Re-create the day as much as possible, this is why I started a social running group that goes out every Sunday morning - everyone welcome to join us if near or live in Cardiff, join the facebook group here
Tip 4 - Put your name on the FRONT of your t-shirt! I’ve run events with and without my name and can honestly say when thousands are shouting your name in support you get a much better buzz! If you do have a nickname or something unique then put that on!
I use iron on letters, thats how some charity t-shirts arrive but you can order just the letters if not running for charity! ⠀
Tip 5 - Have a race day nutrition strategy that works for you - use trial and error during your training runs to work out what is best for you to eat;⠀
- on the run up to the event⠀
- the morning of the event⠀
- during the event. ⠀
For the latter, I use High 5 Isogels as they are more liquidy than some which are more solid like jelly! Find out what gels are being provided on the day, you may not get on well with them (some can upset stomachs) so carry your own! ⠀
Tip 6 - Know the route⠀
I’d recommend running every part of the route at least once, I don’t mean do the whole 13.1 miles in one go, but try and do some of your training runs on the route. I appreciate this may not be possible if you live away but if you near the course I’d definitely recommend it! ⠀
This will allow you to get perspective on distances and know the uphills and downhills. If you can’t get to course I’d definitely recommend knowing where the inclines are!⠀
Tip 7 - Organise your spectators along the route
I wrote a blog about the London Marathon, the advise for spectators is transferrable - read it here
Tip 8 - Know how you are going to get there!
I’d recommend getting there early but know exactly how you are going to get down to the start! The roads close early so plan ahead if getting dropped off or driving in! Don’t add extra stress but worrying about getting there on time. Remember there are many other thousands trying to get the same place as you. If you need to go to back drop allow even more time!
Tip 9 - PACING. Don’t lose your head, it’s very easy to get carried away at the start, the amazing atmosphere will make you feel great, don’t start too fast as you’ll pay for it! In one of my events my first mile was one of the quickest miles I’ve ever ran ... I paid for it later!
Tip 10- Know exactly where your meeting people at the end, and when I say exactly I mean exactly, after the event you don’t want to walking round aimlessly looking for family and friends, agree to meet on a pin point!
Tip 11 - Prepare mentally
There may be times during the half that you find very very tough and just want to quit! Preparing for this isn’t easy but trying to put yourself in some difficult situations and building resilience by getting through it successfully will help on the day. Always focus on how many miles you’ve done rather than what you have left!! e.g. I’ve done 8 miles is more positive than I have 5 miles to go.
I also split the race up into a 3 mile warm up, then 2 x 5 mile runs. Mentally that works for me but you may prefer to split it up as you wish!
Tip 12 - ENJOY
Whatever your reasons for doing the half, enjoy it, whether you are experienced and flying round for a PB or it’s your first time and your aim is to run and walk! We chose to do these events (as hopefully no one is forcing you!) so whether its a doddle or a huge challenge for you enjoy it!
Hope you've enjoyed the tips and hope they help you enjoy your half marathon! Let me know how it goes! Please like and share this blog to help other runners benefit from these tips!