Wednesday Resources: The Half Marathon Edition
I have had lots of conversations with friends recently who are doing their very first half marathon. Firstly, congratulations! Making a decision like this is a huge deal and it will make a big difference in your level of dedication to running, especially if you are just beginning or getting back into it.
I love the half marathon distance.
For this post, I wanted to give a high level how-to for the 21.1 KM distance.
First off, just lacing up on race day will not be enough. You need to put in some time training. I normally suggest 10 – 14 weeks with a build and a taper. Your goal will vary depending on your level of running, but you should incorporate some key practices into your training no matter what your race goals are.
Stretching – Stretching is a vital part of ensuring that you stay mobile and healthy throughout training. I use dynamic stretches in my cool down as well as spending time with my foam roller. Angela wrote a fantastic post on foam rolling here.
Other than foam rolling, I like to use the lacrosse ball for active release. I find that this is more effective for me than static muscle stretches. Check out this article of Self-Myofascial release exercises for runners.
Strengthening- While you are focused on building your endurance and strength for a race, regular strength training is important but you need to be careful to avoid putting on unwanted mass. I normally do one solid strength session a week on Friday mornings and the rest of the week, I will do 5 – 10 minutes of core work a day. I will also mix in glute, hamstring, hip flexor and calf work, often right before I foam roll. These are my favourite exercises for each:
Hip Thrusters (Glutes) – I obviously use a lighter weight than the ones used in the link but this is a great exercise to tone and strengthen the most attractive muscle of the human body which also is the power house for running.
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curls – OW. That’s all. Also great for treadmill runners as your quads tend to be stronger than your hamstrings.
Monster Walk – A perfect exercise for strengthening the hip flexors and preventing IT band issues.
Standing Calf Raises on Machine – This exercise saved my life. I use it to restrengthen my fractured leg and prevent achilles tendonitis. If you do it with bend knees, you also strengthen the hard to reach soleus.
Beginner (Assuming you have never run before)
Intermediate (Assuming you can run 20 miles a week)
There are a thousand other things I can get into such as nutrition, shoes and form but this is the basic template for anyone who is beginning in the half marathon distance.
Recommended local half marathons:
Goodlife Fitness Half – Toronto – May
Harvest Half – Waterloo – September
5 Peaks Kortright Centre – September – Remember – you can get $5 off all 5 Peaks entry fees with discount code: JESSICA
Pre-Race Preparation for a Half Marathon
Love the half marathon! I’m thinking of running the St. John’s Ambulance half in April (http://www.waterloomarathon.com/) – know if any other local people are planning on doing this one?
Jen @ Pretty Little Grub says
Great tips. I think those strengthening exercises are super important and the key to not getting injured. They are however very often overlooked by newbies or even seasoned people like me.
Neal @ How I'm Building My Life says
Thanks for the tips!
One of the things that I learned the hard way during my first half marathon is not to try something new on race day! I had coconut water for the first time ahead of a run in an attempt to increase my electrolyte count…unfortunately it caused a terrible GI issue for me that left me dehydrated and wishing I never had the coconut water.
Be smart. Learn from me!