Steps Prior to Starting Official Training for your first Half Marathon
Congratulations on considering this! No worries, we’re only in Stage 1 and have plenty of time to get you ready! We’re going to, um, say you’re going to run the Biltmore Half for the first time in March. Let’s look at appropriate training thoughts at this point.
Look ahead for a race
Its always good to look ahead several months when signing up for a race that is longer than a 10k. For 5 and 10k races, someone who is keeping up with general running will likely be able to run one of these without much additional training.
However, most runners don’t train at levels that are needed for a half or full marathon all year round, unless they are running half and full marathons all year around. While some runners’ bodies can handle those levels of miles on a regular basis, most people would have a high risk of injury or an ‘itis’ as I call it.
Sign Up Early
Signing up early does 2 things.
A) Commits you to it. Placed on your calendar. You’ve paid for it-gotta do it, right?? I feel comfortable saying many bodies can handle this race with the appropriate training, you just have to convince your mind of that 🙂
B) Best Deals. Races cost money. Bigger and longer races cost more money. Most races promote an early sign up discount. Often you’ll see a tiered pricing system dependent on date signing up. Some, like the Asheville half, have ambassadors (like me) offering discount codes if you sign up by a certain time (CRYSTAL2016AMAROCKS before July 31st gets you a 15% discount)
Like a race’s facebook page and you’ll see their news flashes on these discounts throughout the year.
Make Sure you have Appropriate running shoes
Working with running athletes, I’ve seen people show up with hand-me-down shoes, or the Nikes or Sketchers they wear when they play sports at the YMCA.
Just any shoe doesn’t cut it for a runner, or you risk injuries or a dreaded ‘itis’ (plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome…’itis‘, trochanteric bursitis :)). If you have no idea, head to a knowledgeable running store like Jus’ Running, or FootRx and they’ll watch you run and pick a shoe that works for you. You will likely buy a shoe there (ask if they have any on clearance that work for your feet) Once you know, you can purchase that shoe anywhere you can find it on sale.
Shoes should be changed out about every 300 miles, or when the tread is wearing thin, or assessed for a change when you start noticing new aches and pains.
Find a Friend to train with you that you are both willing to work together schedule wise to run at least once a week together and hold each other accountable for other runs during the week. Someone who will keep you motivated. That you can whine to, but will still keep you pumped up 🙂
Find a canine running partner! Certain breeds of dogs can be trained to be great running partners up to a certain mileage limit. I take my lab-mix Lizzy with me on anything 5 miles or less. If you do this, be conscientious of the temperature at the time you run. Here’s a link that may give you an idea of your best running dogs.
Establish a Base 3-4 miles
Official race training for a half marathon doesn’t need to start more than 4 months in advance. (So for a March Race, not til November) Once you start you’ll be adding around .5 mile per week to safely and slowly build up to race mileage 2 weeks prior to the race.
However once you start this, you will feel the best if you can already run 3-4 miles several days a week.
The C25k (couch to 5k) program is one of the best out there for a safe lead up to this. If you have a desire to run, download this app to your phone (its free) or print off the plan. It takes approximately 9 weeks and alternates a walking and running plan to get you to 5k status! There’s a 10k C25k plan available too once you reach the 5k called the Bridge 2 10k!
Don’t stress about running the entire time. The Galloway method for the half is amazing as well. it’s a Walk-Run interval training. I did this last year in my training for the Princess half and I think a lot of my training runs were actually faster than the year prior when I didn’t walk at all. So, no worries, there is a plan for you!
We’ll talk Official Half Marathon Training at a later time.
You can sign up for the Asheville Marathon or Half Marathon at
http://ashevillemarathon.com/ use code CRYSTAL2016AMAROCKS before July 31st to get your 15% discount!