Signing up for a half marathon can be exciting, but daunting, especially if you are a beginner. So, how do you know if you’re ready to tackle that 13.1 miles (21.2km) distance?
A half marathon is on the bucket list of many runners and a great challenge many people love to take on, but you need to make sure you are doing the groundwork in your training sessions to prepare. How do you know if you’re ready? One of the many mistakes runners make when signing up for a half-marathon event is not respecting the distance!
You can run for 90 minutes.
You should be able to run/walk for 90 minutes. The idea here is that you are able to continue exercising for this length of time. Covering 13.1 miles doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run the whole race, but you should be able to keep moving this whole time.
You don’t have to cover the whole half-marathon distance in your training, but you should be getting in at least one long run a week. This long run is critical to your training and is the point where you begin to build stamina and endurance ready for race day. Your longer runs also improve your ability to store glycogen (Carbohydrates) and utilise the fat for fuel.
If you are new to running and your plan is to finish your half marathon with a run/walk, then start off training with blocks of running incorporating walking. As the weeks go by, you want to aim to reduce the amount you walk and increase your running. Walking is completely fine, as long as you are always on the move!
Consistency in your training!
Consistency for your race is important no matter what distance you are doing. It’s ok to miss a run or two, but you must not let it become a habit. There’s no need to build up the miles of an elite runner, but you do want to have some consistent training in the bag.
Many typical half marathon training plans generally advise 12-16 week plans, ideally 2-3 times a week. You training doesn’t have to be record-breaking, just consistent with no long breaks from training. If miss a couple of runs, do not stress!! Just make sure you get back on the wagon as soon as you can, getting you ready for race day.
It is important to get at least one run in a week on the same terrain as your race. Whether it is a road race or trail run, get this type of training included in your plans. This helps condition your legs to the impact of the surface you are running on and avoids injury on race day.
It is not necessary to run a 5K or 10K before a half marathon, however, we highly recommend it. Not only does running a race allow you to see where your fitness levels are at, but it also introduces you to that race day buzz. Participating in a race will open your eyes to all the pre-race organising that is needed and help you better prepare for your half marathon.
It can be a big commitment when signing up to run a half marathon race, but with a steady training plan and the determination to cross that finish line, you will be loving running in no time!