Get Ready To Run Your Fastest Half
Not your first time? Take the chance to get a new PB with these half marathon tips.
Your first race over any distance should be about pure enjoyment – taking in the experience, and getting to the finish line with a smile on your face. But what about your second time? If you’re ready to chase down a PB at your next half marathon, it’s time to think about the little details that go into giving your best performance yet!
#1 Eat enough
Food really matters for half marathon success. Not just what you eat, but how much and when. Carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend (although protein and fats are key too). Nail down the pre-race meal that suits you best by getting into good habits during training. Porridge oats, banana, and dried fruit would work well. Or scrambled eggs or turkey bacon on toast. Even a bowl of cereal ticks the boxes. Go for easily-digested carbohydrate with a little protein, and minimal fat in this meal. Avoid anything that will upset your stomach.
#2 Have a race plan
Develop a structure for your 13.1 miles and follow them for your longer runs. What pace will you start at? When will you aim to switch gears for a negative split? What do you want your split 5k/10k times to be? Or will you pace by mile? Learn to run by feel so race day flows smoothly.
#3 Caffeinated yourself
Caffeine is one of the best-researched (and cheapest) sports performance tools. So if you get on OK with it, use it. A well-timed espresso or filter coffee before a run can work wonders – reducing perception of fatigue, offsetting muscle tiredness, focusing your mind, and giving you mental clarity.
#4 Get the PB mindset
There’s a difference between training to get round, and training for a PB. And it starts in your mind. You need to switch your mindset from runner to ruthless. What will it take to get that PB? We don’t mean your attitude to other runners! But you will need to be serious about how you approach your pacing, your splits, your warm up, and even your mental focus on the day. Are you willing to step up?
This mind sound harsh, but you can’t let your mind wander if you want a PB. Choose a race where you can focus on the course and on your pace. It’s a case of head down, get in the zone, and push through. Make other races in your season social. But keep your A-race focused on the goal.
#6 Run the shortest route
With most races, you can save at least a minute by taking the smart route. Study the course map and learn where you can take tight corners, avoid bottlenecks, or run on the inside of the course. It all adds up.
#7 Be prepared for a tough race
There’s a reason we celebrate PBs. They are hard won! If getting a PB was easy, we’d all manage it every time. So go into this with your eyes open: you’re going to have to be smart and methodical in training, and focused on race day. You will need to push through. You can’t let up. It might hurt. But…. your PB is waiting for you at the finish line! Are you ready to try?