I received an email from active.com this week with a bunch of half marathon related articles, including 7 Ways to Improve Your Half Marathon Training by Coach Jenny Hadfield. The article starts, “In case you’re wondering if half marathon training is easy, it isn’t.” Thanks for sugar coating that, Jenny.
As I started looking over the tips, I thought to myself, “am I doing this? The USAF half marathon is just over 50 days away!” To to ensure some success on September 17, let’s do some analysis.
JENNY’S TIP #1: Personalize it.
There are lots of ways to prepare for a half marathon, but the plan that will work best for you should line up with your goals, interests and life schedule.
I did this! One of my favorite sayings: “fail to plan, plan to fail”. I did not plan to fail when I made this schedule – those workouts in italics are what I completed each day
JENNY’S TIP #2: Mix and match.
Burn out and lack of motivation can arise from doing the same thing over and over again.
I’m doing this! In addition to doing yoga, biking and kickboxing, I’m mixing up the location of my runs. From around my neighborhood, on the towpath, on vacation and even back at the gym, I’ve been everywhere man!
JENNY’S TIP #3: Invest in rest.
Rest days and cutback weeks are woven into the program to give you time to recover from the demands of training and adapt and grow stronger.
I’m doing this – perhaps too well! The day on – day off schedule I have for my scheduled runs is working and is allowing for fresh legs when I’m ready to get those miles in. However, I probably could be a bit more active on those “off” days with some low level activity – a few more pup walks are in order…
JENNY’S TIP #4: Listen, adjust, and keep moving forward.
Listen to your body for aches and pains or just plain fatigue. If your body is giving you a yellow flag with a few aches, take an extra day off and adjust to allow full recovery.
I’m doing this! I’m listening to my body after my long runs. Interesting enough, I recover faster and with less post-run pain if I stay moving the rest of the day. Sunday fun days on the couch lead to painful Mondays at work!
JENNY’S TIP #5: A little core strength and flexibility can improve your form.
Investing a few 15-minute sessions on core strengthening exercises can improve your form and durability for race day… Dedicate five to 10 minutes after every workout to stretching and foam rolling and it can release tightness, alleviate aches and pains, and keep you running strong.
I’m doing half of this! No surprise, I’m loving the yoga sessions that I’ve woven into the training plan. Saturday mornings at Nishkama balanced with sun salutations after each run are making me feel longer and stronger. That said, I don’t hide the fact that I HATE weight training, but know I should be working it into my regular routine. The hubby has offered to help with this so I just might have to take him up on it.
JENNY’S TIP #6: Be social.
Research has shown that when runners train with a social group or buddy they run longer and faster than when alone.
I’m not really doing this quite as prescribed. It’s mostly because of my inconsistencies as a run/walker, but I prefer to run alone. One thing I LOVED however is bringing together the Ohio Blogging Association members for the Run for the Pierogies. It was so much fun to run with friends that day, even if we weren’t going the same pace.
Rumor has it Amanda loved her first 5K so much she’s joining me next week at the Independence 5K Run/Walk to A Healthier You! And on a side note: did you see the pictures of the July 9th race the organizers recently posted online? Check out this uber weird finish line photo of me:
JENNY’S TIP #7: Train by effort rather than pace.
When you train by your effort level, you flow with the rhythm of your life and make the most of each day. Keep it simple, run from within and you’re more likely to recover efficiently and run strong longer.
I’m doing this – both in running and in life! All things in moderation, right? I’m finding when I stop over-processing (“I HAVE to do this run today”) and start living in the present (“It feels great to be up and moving”), I’m so much more grateful for the results.
Based on Jenny’s tips, are you improving your race training? If not, how could you improve?