Once you have decided that you would like to run in a half marathon, it is very important that you properly prepare. It goes without saying that it is a good idea to ensure you train properly in order to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. The amount of training necessary depends on what shape you’re in when you decide to run the half marathon. In order to get the most out of the time that you have before the race, you will want to find a half marathon training plan that is going to suit your needs. Typically this is as simple as picking a beginner, medium or advanced plan. Choosing the right plan will help you get ready, remain injury free and better understand what you will need to accomplish in terms of personal goals.
A good program or training plan for the half marathon should include more than a daily workout plan. I believe that a complete plan not only includes specific running workouts, but also information on nutrition, cross-training, stretching, exercises for injury prevention and rehab. If you go into the race without any sort of guidance or structure, you could end up failing and will likely finish far short of your goals. Some people who train for a half marathon will actually put both short term and long term goals in place. For example, with a 12 week plan, a 10k race with a goal time may be scheduled for week 8. This way, there can be smaller victories along the way as your training progresses.
Most half marathon training plans assume that users are already regularly running. This is called a base and can be completed by running 3-4 times per week and also completing some kind of cross-fit exercise (bike, swim, aerobics class, elyptical, etc). You’re running should be at different speeds and various distances. A training plan does not need to include heavy weight lifting. However, if you are hoping to build a little bit of muscle before the race, consider completing regular cross-fit conditioning classes. These classes, with workouts that generally last 30-45 minutes, supplement or replace weight training and are a great way to build your core and leg muscles. They are excellent because they don’t take up much of your training time either. The key to a successful training plan is to follow it as best as possible, yet find the perfect balance. Too much running on hard surfaces can lead to injuries. However, too much cross-fit and weight lifting can slow you down. The best plans include weekly long run, short run, hills or track work and some kind of tempo (just short of race pace).
The main focus that you need to keep your mind set on during a half marathon training plan is getting your body ready for a variety in terrain and weather conditions. If you work on a variety of distances, speeds, or even what you may face in terms of fatigue and pain levels, you are going to find yourself prepared for whatever comes your way once the half marathon is under way. The more you are used to all sorts of conditions, the easier they will be when you are right in the thick of things on race day.
Take the time to realize your baseline level as a runner, which is your maximum output. Increasing your baseline gradually and pushing your levels will help you to endure a lot more as you are running your half marathon. It is all a matter of knowing your limits, understanding not to push them too far and setting goals that will help you to build up your endurance. In the end, you are going to be proud of yourself and the work that you put in during your training for the half marathon.