Hello divas! I hope that you have had a fantastic week so far. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things after my trip to St. Louis this past weekend but I am getting there lol. It wasn’t exactly the weekend or races I had planned but it was a great weekend nonetheless. Be sure to check back later this week for all the details. If you have been following the blog you know that I love running half marathons. This has been a busy year for me with a planned 6 halfs (I have run 4, dropped to a 10K for another and have 1 to go). Things have not always gone how I wanted and I have learned so much along my journey and in my 16 half marathons and numerous other races that I wanted to share some tips on how to make your next race (half marathon or not) a success.
While on this running journey, I have had good races (see my PR at the 4 Bridges Half in 2014), super fun races where time didn’t matter too much (see my Vegas half recap) and some really bad races. So today I want to share some things to keep in mind if you are training for an upcoming race. I am lovingly calling this post How Not to Train for a Half Marathon because some races I was simply was not prepared for. At all. So if you are considering running a half marathon in the near future, here are some tips of what NOT to do.
- Ignore hills. Some races are advertised as flat and fast so why train for hills right? While a certain race COULD be flat, there are usually some inclines involved which would be easier if you just suck it up and run some hills in training. After a couple of my bad races, I am a believer in adding at least some hills to every training plan.
- Not get acclimated to weather. Weather can be wonky for sure and sometimes it is hard to prepare for races that are out of state. But if you are running a race in early fall, you should probably practice running in the heat just in case. If you have a race planned in early February you will want to bundle up and run in some cold so that your body is used to the conditions. While this doesn’t guarantee a good performance, it will at least help so your body doesn’t get too much of a shock.
- Running too few miles. This is a biggie if you are planning a longer race such as a half marathon. While cross training is a great thing (and I do workouts from home at least 5 days a week besides running), you also need to get your miles in. If you are new to running half marathons, you don’t have to run 30 miles a week. But at least 1 long run of 10-12 miles needs to be in the training plan so the your body knows what it feels like to run for that long. And obviously you need to work your way up to that point. This is where I have lacked the most in the past – finding motivation to get outdoors and run for 3 hours as practice for a race. When it is too hot or too cold, it is so easy to just fall back on those home workouts.
- Not listening to your running partner/coach. My bestie Chris is my running guru since he has been running for much longer than me and has seen quite a bit. He has tried to motivate me throughout each training season and give me some tips to improve my form and my training. Which I have pretty much ignored at times (sorry Chris!). It’s great to have someone who has been where you are to give you advice if you need it. It’s also great to have people in your life that can sit there and motivate you when you need it or give you some tough love when it need it as well.
- Choosing the wrong run/walk interval. Anyone who has read this blog or knows me knows that I use a run/walk interval. Usually I get it in my head that I can do a 1:30/1:00 run/walk ratio or a 2:00/1:00 ratio. While I probably can for the shorter races and distances, I usually tire out by the halfway point. If you are using ratios like I am you need to find a good pace that works for you. It may drive you crazy at first because it seems so slow but after 13.1 miles, your body will thank you – and you just may find that you set a new PR.
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