The half marathon is becoming an increasingly popular race event for running enthusiasts all over the world as it is a significant physical challenge but does not require as much training as a full marathon, making it a more ‘accessible’ race with a training regime that can be more easily incorporated into the average person’s weekly life.
Why Are You Running?
As with all challenges, motivation is essential if you wish to successfully complete a half marathon. You need to feel motivated to go out running in the weeks and months prior to the half marathon and you need to feel motivated on the day of the race in order to get over that finish line. Motivation is often intrinsically linked to goals. Know why you want to run a half marathon – you’re far more likely to succeed if your goal and motivation are based on personal achievement rather than weight loss. Weight loss may be a result of your training, but if it’s your primary goal, you’re unlikely to follow through and complete your half marathon.
The Right Gear
Running can be tough on joints, muscles and bones, particularly in your legs, so it’s worth investing in good running shoes. You’ll probably even need two good pairs of shoes to get you through your training regime and the run itself. Other useful running gear could include t-shirts and shorts made of wicking materials rather than cotton, as these won’t soak up sweat and weigh you down as cotton does.
Pain and Injuries
When training, listen to your body. If you feel pain, there’s usually a reason. Dull aches might be a normal side effect of training, but sharp pains should be attended to or checked. If your joints are sore, you can ice them down on rest days to help reduce swelling and minimise the chance of a serious injury.
Race Day Tips
On the day of the race, start slow. It can be tempting to race off ahead of the other runners but remember that slow and steady wins the race. You need to reserve your energy for the second half of the race, when your body begins to feel the pressure. Half marathons can be mentally challenging as well as physically challenging, so try not to get overcome by emotion when you see your friends or family cheering you on. Stay emotionally and mentally stable by focusing on the race and your goal to the exclusion of all else.
Running a half marathon can be a very rewarding experience but it is also a tough physical challenge that requires due preparation and precaution, so train well, rest when necessary and kit yourself out in good quality running gear and there’s no reason why you can’t make yourself, your family and your friends proud on race day.