Tag Archives: Tips for running a half marathon

Marathon Countdown – less than two weeks to go! #GCAM15

25 Jun

marathon prepWow I can’t believe it – it’s less than two weeks until the Gold Coast Marathon. What a roller coast ride it has been! I’m almost there now. Tapering off on my longer runs and gearing up to go.

The flu  that I had has gone now – yay and my shoe issue is 90% sorted. I’m still playing around with strapping to ensure that the skin where the whopping blister was doesn’t rub whilst I am running and I think I almost have that sorted. Have decided on my kit for the race so that’s all good so now I just have the Legends Lunch to get through the day before – I will be interviewed for 5 mins on the stage (very nervous) and then it’s just a matter of finishing the race!

So below are some tips based on what I have been done and done in the past at this stage with a race around the corner:

Tips for when the marathon is on your doorstep 

Taper

By now whatever program you have been following you should be well into tapering off in your training. Your long long runs should well and truly be a thing of the past. It is tempting if your sessions haven’t gone well to try and squeeze some long runs in but don’t. I was so tempted a week or so ago to attempt another 30-36k but my running trainer was quite firm and said no. So I listened to him and I didn’t. My legs feel fairly strong and it’s just psychological now – convincing myself I can finish the race.

Carbs

I’m not going to profess to be an expert on nutrition or carb loading. There are lots of theories re carb loading etc.  and if it is something you want to do properly have a chat with your trainer or Runners World has a great article on Carb loading. I have been ensuring I am eating enough carbs as, as being someone that generally follows a low carb high fat diet I have had to really up my carb intake and have been eating oats, rice and a small amount of bread.

Check final details 

Check the race website to ensure you know where you are going on race day, how long it will take you to get there and all the details such as baggage drop areas and where the water stations are etc.

Gels

SIS Energy Gel

SIS Energy Gel – I use these as they don’t have caffeine in them and a lot of gels do unfortunately.

Buy your race gels if you are using them and not using the official race ones and make sure you have decided what you are having for breakfast and have tried and tested it and got a stock in for the week/night before. I am using SIS (Science in Sport) ones because their orange flavour has no added caffeine and I can’t have caffeine too much and I have had no adverse effects with using them so I am sticking with them. The only issue is they are a bit bulky so I think I will be running with my Camelbak!

Sort your tunes 

If you are planning on running with a music player sort out your music now so you don’t find you are scrambling around at the last minute and also if you are staying somewhere overnight the night before make sure you pack the charger for your music player!

Breathe!

This is what I am trying to do at the moment – trying not to be nervous about the race and trying not to put too many expectations on myself. I used to get so nervous before a race I would almost vomit. Determined not to this time!

I’m sure I have missed things that other people do, this is what I am doing at the moment and like I always say I am not a qualified expert I am writing from experience – so any hesitations about your training please make sure you consult a professional.

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Training for a Half Marathon – Part 2 – Race Day Tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

18 May

What a lovely fresh weekend it has been. Very cold in the mornings these days. I had to be up early this morning and really didn’t want to a) get up in the dark and b) get out of bed until the air con (heating) was on – what a sook I am. Remembering the days in the UK when I used to run in the snow I really have become a lightweight!

Following on from the post I posted a couple of days ago with some running tips from Aussie champion runner Liam Adams – I have the rest of the interview to share today. I figured it was a bit long to post all in one go – and this one is concentrated on race day so the questions split nicely.

Tomorrow is the Sydney Half Marathon which I am intending on running next year and it just so happens Liam is running in tomorrow’s race so I want to wish him the very best of luck and everyone else running too 🙂

Race day tips:

Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

Liam Adams – Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

I don’t know about you but the last few races I have run I got very nervous and stressed before race day, and then on the day my poor husband has had to put up with my almost OCD tendancies to get to the race start! I have written a few posts about race preparation previously but Liam has given me some great tips to share with you all. Hope you find them useful.

1) Pre race food intake

Before race day, you should already know how well your body handles food before a session and/or race. Most Half Marathon races are in the early hours of the morning so you should have a little plan or routine in place. For myself, I find that if I eat within 3 hours of the race I run the risk of not feeling to well whilst racing or getting stitch. I tend to eat a large high-carb meal the night before the race in an attempt to satisfy my appetite for before the race & be well fuelled for the race. If you need a snack or have a meal before your race than maybe wake up during the night/morning, have a snack and go back to sleep for a couple more hours. Work out your best routine before the day so that it all goes to plan on race day.

2) Pre race hydration

You should start hydrating well before race day. Start at least a couple of days out from your race and maintain hydration until the end of the race. If you try to just hydrate in the last 24hours leading into the race, you can’t completely hydrate in that time and adapt to having that much water entering the body.

Zoe’s tip – to find out how well hydrated you are do the pee test! If your pee is brown you are seriously dehydrated – if light and clear – all good 🙂

3) Wear appropriate clothing

Wear clothing that you will feel comfortable in for the whole duration of your run/race. Some people get caught up with how cold it is before a race and decide to run in their long sleeve or long tights. This is usually a decision that is regretted before the halfway mark. Your core temperature naturally warms up as the race goes on and the decision to over dress could lead to the body overheating.  I find that the lightest most breathable material singlet is the best gear to wear whilst racing.

Zoe’s tip I use a black bin bag and rip two holes in it and one for my head of course so I can wear it in the line up – and then discard as the race starts

4) During race hydration & Snacks

For optimal performance of the cardiovascular system, it is important to try and stay hydrated for the whole duration of your race. This might mean taking on water whilst running which can be a hard thing to do when exhausted. Practice taking on some water in lead in races or sessions and see how well the body handles it.

As for snacks during the race, many people use energy gels. These also takes quite some getting used to so practice using gels at the later stages of your long runs.

5) Pace yourself

Many people use Energy Gels such as these BodyScience ones in races.

Many people use Energy Gels such as these BodyScience ones in races.

If you go out too hard at the start it can be quite a battle to get to the finish line. Ultimately the best way to run a Half Marathon is to run even splits the whole way but you can also run quite well going through the halfway mark just outside your goal target.

Tips to pace yourself:

  • It’s better to be slightly off pace and come home strong than going out to hard and blowing up.
  • Be controlled and relaxed at the start. It might feel ridiculously easy at the start but you will slowly start to notice that the pace starts to get hard as the race goes on.
  • Have the split times that you want to run on your hand and check to see if you are on pace when you run past the split markers.

6) Prepare to battle the mind

Your mind can be quite the limiting factor when it comes to the later stages of a race. You’ve always got to positively reinforce yourself that you are running well, that you’re strong enough to push harder, or that you strong enough to maintain the pace. When you start having negative thoughts and doubting yourself, then you start giving into the physical exhaustion and won’t run anywhere near your maximal potential for that race.

Tactics to draw attention away from physical exhaustions and those negative thoughts

  • Try to correct form and run more efficiently. Technique usually goes out the window towards the end of the race so if you can hold good form then you will run more efficiently but the thought process in correcting form will also distract yourself from the physical pain that you feel. You can take off a lot of time by using this technique.
  • Set mini in race goals/targets, concentrate on catching the next person then the person after that
  • Concentrate on the support from spectators, remember a race/session that you finished strong in and convince yourself that you are going to do the same etc.

7) Celebrate and reward yourself

A lot of runners enjoy just getting that satisfying feeling also known as the ‘runners high’ after completing the half marathon, but why not also reward yourself with a massage or treats that you have deprived yourself from in the lead up to your race. For most, a half marathon is a distance that is quite deserving of a reward or celebration.

Training for a Half Marathon – top tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

16 May

Brrr it’s so cold this morning. Went out to exercise and it was freezing at 6am. I think winter is definitely on its way!

This weekend is the Sydney Half Marathon and I was really hoping to run it this year but because of not being able to run at the moment I didn’t enter. Am going to do it next year instead and combine the weekend with a bit of retail therapy!

Anyway, in light of the the race this weekend I thought I’d write a post around training for a half marathon. A bit late for those running this weekend but for those of you that are thinking about training for one hopefully this post will help you. I have written a few posts in the past about race preparation but I had the opportunity to be put in contact with an expert Aussabout this before a fair while ago  and I got them from an expert – marathon runner Liam Adams. Liam has won a number of running events including the Gold Coast Marathon 2012, City2Surf 2011 and the Australian Cross Country Championships 2011.  His best half marathon time was 1hr 3 mins which is awesome and a 5k in 13.31 mins – I could never dream of being that fast!!

Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

When it comes to training for a Half Marathon Liam has shared some awesome tips. I’ve listed half today and will list the other half in the next post in a few days which will cover off the actual race day. Hope you find them useful.

Tips

1) Set and understand your goal

Set a goal at the start of your training and understand what it takes to reach your goal/target. Train and gradually build up to that goal or target.

2) Make your training social

Enjoy and make the most of the social aspect of training and running with a group. It can be one of those encouraging factors that helps you get up early out of bed, get out in that miserable weather and/or get out there when times are tough.

3) 2-3 sessions a week

Try your best to get 2-3 sessions in per week and the rest should be easier running. The most important types of runs that you should get in are tempo/threshold run, long run and either repeat efforts or fartlek work out. Any other running you do for the week should be easier so that you can absorb the benefits of your workouts.

4) Get the miles into the legs

One of the simplest ways of improving your half marathon time is by increasing your weekly mileage (kilometers per week). Of course there is factors such as work, family, ability to recover, overuse niggles or injuries, and other limiting factors that reduce your ability to do so but if you can get out there just a couple more times a week than you’ll be better off. Make sure to listen to your body and don’t over do it if your body isn’t handling it well. It might be necessary to take days off so don’t be afraid to do so.

5) Picking the tempo up

I find a great way of breaking up the monotony of a long run and making it a lot more enjoyable and satisfying is to slowly pick the pace up towards the end. You’ll be surprised how fast you can get down to and how easy it feels in actually doing so. You can gain so much strength and confidence in building up the pace towards the end of these long runs and you will definitely notice the difference come the later stages of the race.

6) Train to race not race in training

Don’t be that guy or girl who dominates every workout and then fizzles on race day. People who have the tendency to train too hard leave their races in their workouts and are too flat/exhausted when it comes to the big race.  Recovery is as important as the session. You have to make sure you get enough rest along the way through rest days and easy runs that are built in to the training plan for a reason.

7) Lead up Racing

Nothing will prepare you for the big day like racing in a smaller event. You can practice your nutrition plan, work through pre-race jitters, and learn what it feels like to run that bit harder than what you have been in training.

8) Variety

Quite often we use the same training sessions or the same running routes over and over to gauge how we are going. Yes it’s a great way to see our progression but sometimes our body gets so used to it that we could probably do these sessions in our sleep. If you feel you’re training the house down but not getting the results you need or that you are struggling to get excited about training, then maybe change up the training stimulus just a little. Also go out and explore new places to run/train at and enjoy the different training environments.

9) Pre race taper

By the time it comes around to that final week before your important race, you should have already done all the training & hard work that is going to give you the best result possible. In that final week you can’t really gain any extra fitness through training hard or doing extra miles for your key race, you can only really cause a detrimental effect on your performance.