It's that time of the year again... half/full marathon training! I have one half in the bank and now working on a few more. One would assume since I've complete a half before I'm prepared for the mind torture. However, the feeling of accomplishment after crossing that finish line makes all the training worth it. Here are a few tips for a recipe to completing a half:
1. Find a good training guide for a minimum of 4 months. Join a running group for support if you're able to. A good training guide will slowly increase mileage and dedicate one day of the week to your "long run". It's important not to increase mileage too quickly because the risk of injury increases at the same rate. Slow and steady always wins the race. :)
2. Proper hydration and nutrition. It's very important to keep your muscles hydrated especially before a long run. Drink water throughout the day. It take a few days for the water to reach the cellular level of the muscles. You should get the proper amount of nutrients as advised by USDA each day. http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/index.html for more information of the daily recommendations. Proper hydration and nutrition do a body good keeping your bones and muscles strong for the amount of mileage your body endures through training.
3. Don't cheat your runs. Don't take shortcuts. Do what your training guide states. Cheating yourself will cause failure in the long run. Part of training is pushing yourself. It's going to get hard; otherwise, you aren't gaining any advantages.
4. Run with music. Create a play-list of music that's upbeat. Your play-list should entail a big variety of music; therefore, you won't hear repeated songs throughout your workout. A good play-list can put you in the mood and help determine you to run faster and harder.
5. Good Shoes! After about 400-500 miles kick those old shoes to the curb. After 400-500 miles shoes loose their ability to absorb shock properly. Less likely to absorb shock means an increase risk for injury. Proper distance running shoes need to be light in weight and fit your foot accordingly.
Now it's time to deposit those miles in the bank. No matter how hard you think your training is getting stick to it because it only gets easier.