Sorry for the late post! I've been having issues with my server most of the morning. I think (& hope) it's working for good this time!
It's finally cooling off here. It was in the 70s yesterday afternoon during my run and in the low 50s (with some humidity ahhhh so refreshing!) for my 6.81 miles this morning. I always used to lvoe ending my runs on the .5 or .0 marker, but I've relaxed a bit over the years ; )
Since I decided to make a half marathon my training goal for this Fall I figured it would be helpful to share some of the things that I've learned to help you train smart for your next half (whether it be your first or 50th)! I love running the half distance because training is never crazy-intense and you can still do other fun activities while training for one! I think it's taken me several marathon training cycles to realize that half training isn't as intense as I *once* thought it was!!
- Know your course & train for it. If your course will be hilly, make sure to throw in atleast one hilly run a week. If it's going to be downhill, maybe do a few longer runs on the treadmill on the decline option.
- Map out your prior commitments and know how you'll still fit in your training that week/day. This is something I DIDN'T do during my first half training cycle and ended up missing a few long runs towards the end of my training cycle. If you know you'll be out of town on the weekend, maybe plan to get your long run (or harder run) in before you leave.
- Have a target pace range for what you want to run the race in and then know what your "easy" pace will be. I didn't start to vary my training paces until the last few years and WOW did it make a difference! My easy paces are typically 2:00-2:30 minutes slower per mile than my target half marathon pace range (7:40-8:00 min/mile).
- Try out various gels and chews during your longer runs. Long runs are a great opportunity to test out various gels/ chews/ water/ nutrition before the run and how often you need a gel. I would only typically take a gel after 6 miles, but found that I actually needed one every 4.5 miles to keep me from potentially bonking.
- Wear your race day outfit at least once on a longer run before the race. Maybe your perfect race day outfit works great for a three mile run, but it starts chafing at 8 miles. Knowing that your outfit is still comfortable in those later miles will make all the difference come the big day.
- Train in the climate that your race will be at. Will your race day typically be hot or rainy or at night? Try to get in a few runs to help acclimate and simulate race day temperatures. I know for running Las Vegas Marathon last year (it starts at 4:30pm), I would do one marathon-paced run a week starting anywhere between 3 & 5pm after work. It wasn't the ideal start time for me, but I learned to make it work and practice my nutrition leading up to the start time.
- Don't give up if you have a bad training run (or two). When I was training for my first half marathon I remember getting really frustrated with how many times I had to stop and walk during those 8 miles. I didn't take into account how little sleep I had, how hot (and humid) it was outside, what my nutrition leading up to the run was like, etc. Accept it and move on. Bad runs happen to everyone- don't dwell on it.
- Adjust your goals if training isn't going the way you'd like it to. Not able to get in all the mileage on your training plan or something came up that made you miss an entire week of training? Regardless of your circumstances not every training cycle will go perfectly and know (and accept) when maybe this training cycle isn't meant for you to chase down a PR, but have fun or wear a crazy costume or focus on nailing a negative-split. There's a season for everything.
What else would you add to the list of tips?
Rainy (but slightly humid runs)- love 'em or hate 'em?
Favorite temperature (and time of day) to run in? --> probably 50s/ low 60s cloudy 8am.