I had this one published in the Spectrum magazine.
Training for a Half Marathon in 2020?
Having a “challenge” to train towards is a highly satisfying goal. The buzz and achievement you feel on race day is unbeatable! When it comes to preparation though, life often gets in the way; thus, our training and motivation suffers. Stay on top of your game with these simple tips and have an enjoyable, rewarding race.
Steady does it
It can be tempting to jump straight into your long runs; however, this can lead to boredom and unwelcome injuries. Aim to set yourself weekly goals with gradual increases in distance. For example, Monday – walk/run, Wednesday – medium/fast-paced jog, and Friday – long, steady run. Try to incorporate some weight-based exercises as well such as squats, lunges, push-ups and planks. Gradual increases will ensure you safely adapt to your running; furthermore, weight training will strengthen the muscles and joints as well as improve your endurance.
A highly important aspect of any training routine. Pre-training – opt for carbohydrates such as oats or try peanut butter and banana on wholemeal toast for a super energy boost! It’s also very important to stay hydrated. Water is usually adequate for your shorter runs, but once you start going over the one-hour limit – you may want to try a sports drink. For a basic recipe, mix 500ml water, 500ml unsweetened fruit juice, and add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Post-training – simple, sugary carbs such as fruit will help replace your energy levels. It’s also important to get some muscle repairing protein as well; try peanut butter flapjacks for a delicious carb and protein combo.
There will be times when you feel deflated; maybe you feel like you’re losing, not gaining results. This is perfectly natural. When you feel sluggish – don’t give in. You need to reward yourself for how far you’ve come and what you’re going to achieve. A half marathon is not easy – it takes discipline – so pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your ‘zing’ comes back!
Wearing the right gear is essential for a comfortable race; for example, trainers, shorts and a top that helps keep you cool. If you’re unsure what trainers to buy – professional advice is available in many (running) shoe stores. There is also a simple test found online known as the “wet footprint test”. This offers a general guideline to help you choose your optimal shoes. Another top tip for the men: to avoid the dreaded “runners nipple” – ensure you lather up with Vaseline!
It’s best not to try and run every day. Aim for at least one day of rest between training; if you get itchy feet – maybe go for a swim. Just remember: your body needs to recover to get faster and stronger!
A.T Hawthorn – 30.1.20