So this is it, you have been following the training program, you have at least six months of running under your belt and the last three or four months have been devoted to training to run 21K or 13.1 miles.
If you have been following your training program and eating healthily then you should be in a condition where you can not only complete the course but you can really enjoy the experience.
Some people will be running a half marathon race in preparation for a bigger challenge, such as a marathon or an ultra event. For other people this will be the pinnacle of their running career; they will have started on the C25K training program and worked their way to this point. Whatever the reason for running, this article aims to answer the many questions you may have and ease some of your fears with some top tips for race day.
There are many training programs to help you run half marathon race. You need to have a look at these and choose one that best suits your lifestyle and training preferences. If you are someone who is time-pressed during the week, then you will need a program that concentrates on shorter, faster runs in the week and a long, gentle run at the weekends. Or you may be someone who picks up injuries easily and so your training may involve other activities, such as swimming or cycling, to help improve your endurance but to save your legs from so much strain.
Most training programs for running a half marathon race work on the basis of three months. If you are a complete novice, or have had a long lay off from running, then you should expect to train for six months before running a half marathon race.
This is the first distance at which you will encounter tapering. This means reducing the amount you run in the fortnight leading up to the race. You will have built up to the full distance during your training and then, with two weeks left, you will reduce the mileage and allow your legs to re-fresh. You should not stop running in the days before the half marathon race, but your runs should be gentle, just enough to keep the muscles loose.
While you are preparing for your half marathon race you will need to pay extra attention to your body. Make sure you stay flexible by stretching every day. In the week before the race this is especially important as you want to feel at your very best on the day of the event. Particularly concentrate on the major muscles of the legs – calves, hamstrings, quads and the gluteals (muscles in the buttocks).
A lot of half marathon runners are advised to load their diet with carbohydrates in the days prior to the race. At this distance this is not necessary. If you are eating properly with plenty of fruit and vegetables and getting enough energy through your normal diet then no change is necessary. Runners often make the mistake of bulking up on carbohydrates, particularly the night before, but all this will do is overload your system with glycogen and you will suffer on race day as a result.
For your pre-race breakfast a bowl of porridge or a couple of pieces of toast with preserve will be sufficient. If you are suffering with nerves and feel that you will struggle to eat, set your alarm earlier than you normally would so you have time to eat some food and digest it.
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