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.
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