So you’re looking to transition from running 10km to half marathon. Congratulations for taking the leap of faith, and believing in yourself that it’s possible and you can do it. Below are some tips that helped my clients and I from running 10km to a half marathon.
Belief is the first step in anything. By believing and committing to something even if you don’t know how you’re going to get there, you are half way to the ‘finish line’
Set a Date
Once you’ve committed to running a half marathon, look up a race calendar to see when the next one is. Plan for 16 – 18 weeks out.
Build up your mileage gradually
There are many half marathon training plans out there, to suit all levels of fitness from beginner to advanced, from running 3 times a week to 6 times a week. I followed an 18 week program, 3 runs a week – sprints, tempo run and long run. Increase your long run by not more than 10% each week, this will ensure that you build up the strength and endurance in your legs, thus preventing injury. Including hill running in your long runs, as this will also help build stamina, strength and endurance.
Track your progress
Once you have your race date, and you’ve got a plan you’re happy with, track your weekly progress against it. There’s nothing better to look back on your plan and see your incremental progress over time towards your goal. During your training there will be ups and downs along the way, so it’s good to schedule in some monthly rewards to, so you can celebrate your small wins of achievement along the way.
Once your training mileage increases, consider eating as ‘refuelling your body’ rather than ‘eating for eating sake’. That said, consider real food for all meals. Every runner’s metabolism and stomach is different, so experiment with different options until you find the right one for you. e.g. Pre-run – Apple/Carrot/Beetroot juice and banana or 2 x toast or cereal etc (aim for 1-2hrs before long run). Post long run – refuel with a meal that has a good mix of carbohydrate & protein e.g. poached eggs, spinach, toast or pancakes, bananas or rice, salmon, veggies etc. Great power snack
Consider running with a fuel belt around your hips on your long run to carry water and/or gels in it. This is especially useful if your ‘long run’ route doesn’t have water fountains on it. There are many ‘electrolyte drinks, powders and gels’ on the market. It really is a runners preference, so again during your long run training trial different makes, until you find you are happy with one. In the past I’ve used GU gels and Vega Sport Endurance Gel (Raspberry). Post run – Drink plenty of water and electrolytes. If you want a more natural option, other than sports drinks – have a banana, date, ginger smoothie.
As you increase the miles, you will learn mind control to ‘quieten the little voice in your head’. You can ALWAYS go further than your mind thinks it can go. Say your favourite affirmations: -
- I can, I will, I must. YES!
- I’m a lean mean running machine
- Just another km I have this
Visualise finishing and celebrating in style, whatever works for you. Remembering to connect to YOUR WHY, the reason you decided to run a 1/2 marathon in the first place.
As well as stretching after every run, book yourself in for a monthly leg massage. You’ll be surprised how great you feel after all the built up toxins are massaged out of those tight spots in your legs. Regular massage is also a great way to prevent injury.
Run with another and/or music
Run with a partner/friend who has the same goal as you. You’ll then be able to cheer each other on by doing it together. Listen to your favourite tunes. There have been many early Sunday morning runs, that I’ve plugged myself into my dance tunes to keep me in that happy place, running to the beats of the music.
Review the course beforehand either online, or if you can, actually run some of the course so you’re familiar with it on the day. Arrive in plenty of time before the start. Congratulations you’ve made it to the starting line. Believe that no matter what, you’ve down the right amount of training to get you this far, so enjoy the race.
Remember this is your run and you’re competing against yourself (the 10km version of you) no one else, so go at your own pace. Start off slower, even if the rest of the pack is going faster than you, this is a 1/2 marathon NOT a sprint, and you want something left in the tank at the end of the race. Break the race down into 3, (1st 5km, 10-15km and last 5km) and just focus on the section you’re running in.
Follow the same re-hydration plan that worked for you on your training runs, as well as refuelling after the race.
This is an important part, obviously after the race, as well as along the way whilst you’re training.