Marathon season is officially upon us, and although those accomplished marathoners on Instagram make it look easy, gearing up for your very first race can actually be pretty daunting, and not to mention hard work! So for anyone who's about to start training for their first half marathon, we've rounded up some of our favourite top tips to make sure you smash your expectations...
Pick a Training Plan
There are plenty of free running programmes available online to get you half marathon ready, but picking the right one is key. Do you need an 8, 10 or 12 week programme? Are you hoping to hit a PB or just get through the race in one piece? A plan that suits your ability will make sure you don't do too much or too little, helping you to reach your true potential.
Mix Up Your Training
Just because you're training for a running race, doesn’t mean all you should be doing is running! Including resistance and HIIT training into your programme will not only keep things interesting, but will benefit your running performance too.
Remember To Rest
Getting in your training is important, but making sure you take rest days and schedule in proper recovery sessions is just as crucial. It can be easy to get carried away and feel like doing more is better, but it’s actually the quickest way to end up injured! Quality over quantity is definitely the rule to remember here.
Research The Course
It's all well and good running the same old flat route through your local park week in week out... until you get to the race course and find out it's super hilly! Make sure you've researched the route so that you can adjust your training accordingly and avoid any nasty surprises!
Invest In Good Trainers
Your battered old trainers might be okay when you're just going for a gentle jog every now and then, but when you start clocking up those miles you'll really begin to feel it! A good pair of running trainers will give your body the support it needs, making all the difference to your performance and comfort.
But Don’t Buy Them The Week Before The Race!
In a panic because you've forgotten to replace your trainers? The week before the big day is definitely too late, and your trusty old trainers are a much safer bet! New shoes need to be worn in properly and running 13.1 miles with sore, blistered feet is not going to be much fun.
In Fact, Don’t Try Anything New Just Before The Race
Whether it's a new workout class or one of those fancy energy gels – trying something new too close to the run is likely to cause you trouble. Work out what nutrition, pace and clothing works for you during long training runs and do exactly the same things on race day - practice makes perfect after all!
Don’t Skip Your Taper
It might be tempting to add in some extra miles or to push yourself in the gym the week before the race, but remember your body needs time to recover. Make sure to taper down your workouts so that you have fresh legs and feel ready to go!
Bring Some Supporters
There’s nothing like having your very own cheer squad to get you through a tough patch where you feel like quitting. Persuade a group of your friends and family to come cheer you on between miles 9-11; it'll give you the extra motivation you need to push through to the finish line.
Take It All In!
You've trained so hard to get to race day, so don’t just plug in your headphones and zone out! Soak up the atmosphere, use the crowd for motivation, and get some high fives (and free jelly babies) along the way. The more you focus on enjoying yourself, the more you'll forget about the pain!