Last weekend many people will have watched the BBC coverage of the Virgin Money London marathon. Whilst nobody can fail to be impressed by the achievement of covering 26.2 miles around the streets of London, it can be easy as a bystander not to appreciate the achievement that it is simply to reach the starting line in the first place.
On Sunday the 26th of June around 2,000 runners will line up for the Hudgell Solicitors Humber Half marathon. You may have passed the first barrier – making the decision to go for it and entering the race. Making a commitment to train for a race can be as difficult as the training itself, so well done if you’ve taken that first step! The next bit will take more commitment, drive and support from those around you, but I guarantee it will be worth it for the sense of achievement. Running a half marathon requires preparation, there are very few people who could simply turn up and run! In this blog I will be presenting a few helpful tips to get you to both the start and finish lines.
1, Have an aim
If this your first half marathon completing it will be a great achievement in itself, don’t set yourself an unachievable goal as this will only dishearten you on the way. With 12 weeks to go until the 26th most runners should be in a position to cover the 13.2 miles, although those with a very low mileage at present level may benefit from aiming to run/walk the distance.
Those who have completed a ½ marathon in the past may have a more time-based aim this is great but once again try and be realistic, it is a good idea to give yourself a time range to aim for. For example 2hrs- Good – 1:55 Great and 1:50 out of this world, and if you miss out on all these times there’s always another race! If you do have a timed based aim then a plan (see below) with speed work sessions in it is a must.
2, Get yourself a plan which is suitable for your aims and ability (but don’t be afraid to adjust it!)
You will have much more chance of effectively training for the Humber Half if you have a written training plan which can be stuck up on your fridge and ticked off as you go.
Many websites have generic training plans which can be used, or alternatively, many local clubs have coaches who will be happy to assist and write a plan for their members. There are now 12 weeks to go until the race which will be about right for many programs. Make sure you choose a plan which is suitable for your current level of fitness, choosing a plan which is unrealistic may only lead to disappointment and injury.
Once you have a plan, don’t be afraid to adjust it if you need to. Unfortunately very few of us will be able to train like the elites. Other external factors often crop up and get in the way of the best-laid plans, although you can keep these to a minimum by careful planning – sometimes they are unavoidable. If you can complete 90% of the runs on your plan you will be in a good position on the start line.
Remember, the Humber half is a relatively hilly course. Whilst a generic training plan may not specify, it is always a good idea to do some of your training runs on routes which have a similar undulation to the race which you are training for.
3, Find a training partner (who is as committed as you!)
Finding a like-minded individual to run with is a great way of keeping you motivated through the next 12 weeks. A good training partner will help you get out of the door to do those runs when you aren’t feeling 100% and will help you get through those harder runs when things aren’t going as well as you would like.
4, Join a club
There are plenty of running clubs within Hull and the East Riding who cater for all levels of runners. If you join one of these clubs you will have many experienced runners around you who will be able to offer you help, advice and support. By joining a club and paying an affiliation fee to UK athletics you will also be eligible for discounted entry to other road races. (See below for a list of clubs)
5, Get the right trainers.
If this is going to be your first half marathon it is likely that you will be increasing the amount of running which you will be doing on a weekly basis. With this increase in mileage, there is also an increased risk of injury. One way of reducing this risk is to get yourself kitted out in the correct trainers. There are a number of shops in Hull which offer gait analysis to help you make that choice.
Fitmums and Friends – Clubs in Cottingham, East Hull, Hedon, Beverley, Boothferry and Dearne Valley
City of Hull Athletic Club
West Hull Ladies
East Hull Harriers
Beverley Athletic Club
Kingston Upon Hull Athletic Club
White City Road Running Club
Hull Springhead Harriers Athletic Club
West Hull Ladies
Neil Thompson – Coach in Running Fitness (CIRF)
Fitmums & Friends