If you’re on the verge of training for a half marathon, but aren’t too sure on the best way to prepare, then you’re going to need to learn how having the proper half marathon training schedule put in place is going to save you a lot of time, effort, and pain.
Below are five steps that are going to get you on the road to completing your first half marathon, and they’ll give you a grounding in the things that you’ll need to know to get the right half marathon training schedule put in place.
Step 1: What is your starting point?
Before getting down to action, you’re going to have to work out what your current level of fitness is, and what your current running level is, too. Knowing both of these things will help you decide what sort of training for a half marathon you’re going to need, which helps to set your training schedule.
If you have any doubts about whether you’re going to be fit enough to tackle a half marathon – or before you do any exercise in general – it’s going to be a good idea to talk to your doctor. Getting a physical check-up may dictate your training schedule before you even take your first steps, on the path to getting ready for the start of the race.
Step 2: The motivation
Before you even get started, you’re going to have to make sure that you can keep going through to the end of the training for a half marathon; a good gauge of whether that’s likely to happen is to first know what your motivation is.
Can you picture getting out of the front door, and running the number of miles that you have to, even if the weather is less than inviting? Do you tend to put things off when you aren’t really in the mood, and think that you’ll catch up some other time? If that sounds like you, then you’re probably lacking the right motivation to see things through.
Your training can get tough, so you need to have the right motivation to keep you going on your routine, no matter how much you might want to take a break for a day or two. Those short breaks can end up stretching to a lot longer than you’d expect.
Tell family and friends what you’re plans are, as having people who know what you want to achieve, can help to spur you on when you just want to stay at home and relax.
Step 3: Start training before beginning your schedule
Yes, that may sound a little odd, but you really should start the whole process off by doing low impact and aerobic exercises, long before you even take to the roads. This is all about endurance, and even though you may be doing your road running with a buddy who can help you out, you still want to make sure that you have the physical strength to complete each stage when training for a half marathon.
You should be starting your training schedule some months before the big race; but even before that happens, you should have done a couple of months of strength and stamina work.
Step 4: Dressing for the part
Even though this may not sound like part of a training schedule, it’s going to have a big influence on your running, and therefore your training. You’ll need lightweight, comfortable shoes, which are the right size. You’re going to wear tight fitting clothing, to reduce the chafing. You should be wearing the right sort of hat for the weather, which applies to all of the rest of your running clothes, too.
By wearing the right clothing, you can reduce the amount of injuries that you get, so it’s worthwhile looking at it as part of your half marathon training schedule.
Step 5: Shorter races and cross training
Although you’re on a half marathon training schedule, and think that because it’s a shorter distance, that running that distance constantly is a good idea, it may not be at the start of your training.
You have to run distances that you feel comfortable with, in the beginning, so tackling the half marathon distance will probably not be the way to get started. If you decide that you want to get some competitive practice in, then this is another good time to try a smaller distance. The shorter competitions will help you build up your techniques of running with other people, and it will help you to get used to having spectators cheering you on.
Cross training can help you to exercise the muscles that you’re going to be using, and you can do it on days when you wouldn’t have been out running. Also, training in other ways is going to help because it will be a change in your routine, and that can stop the whole process from getting to repetitive.
The five steps mentioned above should get you on the right track for that half marathon that you’re looking forward to completing; but they’re by no means a complete list of what you could be doing to give yourself an edge. Having the right half marathon training schedule is key, but there are other thing that you could be doing to get the most out of your efforts when training for a half marathon.