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1. Make sure you train

Okay, this sounds blindingly obvious and it will be considered foolish to most people to embark on running a Half Marathon without doing any training. However, it does happen and, of course, the people who do so are daft.

There is more to this point than those people silly enough not to train. Firstly, it is important to train specifically for running a Half Marathon. You may be fit already as a result of going to the gym, playing football, swimming etc, but if your body is not conditioned to running long distances on tarmac, over various road contours and in varying weather conditions, then you will not be ready for a Half Marathon run. Even if you are already fit and active, it is important your training is all about running. Well, not quite all, but the vast majority of your training in the months before a Half Marathon should involve running.

Finally, it is important to complete your training schedule and run on every day you are supposed to. Always remember it is those days when do not want to run but do so anyway that will mean the most on race day.

So, whatever your level of fitness or general motivation, this message is important: make sure you train.

2. Pick the right schedule

A Half Marathon Training Schedule is a great way to not only plan your preparation for race day, but to also ensure you do enough training. Half Marathon Training Schedules are tried and tested with every day of training planned out in advance, making it easier to build training sessions into your daily routine.

Selecting the wrong schedule, however, could be disastrous.

Firstly, be realistic about your abilities. It will be incredibly de-motivating to struggle to complete each day’s training. That is an important sentence as a Half Marathon Training is as much about building mental toughness as physical fitness. By completing every day of training (even the rest days), you are one step closer to completing your ultimate goal. The sense of achievement will be particularly pronounced on the days with long distance runs.

To finish this point, it is also important to avoid schedules that are too easy. It is all about finding the balance – you will want a schedule that is challenging enough that you improve as you train while not being so difficult that you cannot complete each day’s run. It is also important to be realistic about the time you can allocate each day to training. It is no use choosing a schedule that will require an average of one hour training every day if your lifestyle does not allow that.

Finally, choose a training schedule that has been designed specifically for Half Marathon preparation. A lot of the schedules on the Internet are designed for those training for full, 26.2 mile marathons. They are often crudely adapted for Half Marathon Training, i.e. by cutting the runs by 50 percent. It is better to choose a schedule designed solely for Half Marathon Training.

3. Choose shoes (and socks) wisely

Your feet are the second most important part of your body to look after during Half Marathon Training. The mind is the most important part, but feet come a close second, before legs, joints, lungs or anything else.

Choosing the right shoes and socks is therefore incredibly important. This is not about individual brands, but rather the process to ensure everything is right on race day. To achieve that aim, choose and buy your shoes and socks at the start of your training. It is a very bad idea to attempt to break-in new gear close to a Half Marathon event. The earlier you select your shoes and socks, the better. At the very least, you will have time to change your mind and buy alternatives if your first choice is not working.

All the leading brands make great running shoes so we do not have a recommendation on specific brands in this article – that is more down to individual choice. The key point is to choose running shoes. Not cross-trainers or shoes designed for any other purpose – just running shoes. Running shoes should fit well and will offer support.

If you find it generally difficult to find comfortable training or running shoes, you could try a Wet Test. Your local running equipment or quality sports shop should do this, and it should be free of charge (if there is a charge do-it-yourself by simply laying white paper on the ground, wetting your feet, and running over it). If the imprint of your foot is shaped like a driver (golf-club terminology), then you have a normal foot and most standard running shoes should be comfortable. If the imprint is more like a thick club-shape, you are flat footed and may need a shoe that has a firm mid-sole. You will want to stop the inward roll of your foot so stay away from shoes that are highly curved, highly cushioned, or do not have much stability.

If the imprint of your foot narrows dramatically in the centre to look like two eyes (or single quotation marks one on top of the other) then you have a high-arched foot. You will need a shoe that is cushioned with lots of flexibility to encourage motion as your foot is not rotating enough.

Finally, we turn to socks. Socks can often be the most overlooked item of clothing for Half Marathon runners. The advice is to buy running socks as they do not move which reduces the possibility of getting blisters. They will often be left and right footed, which helps in this goal. There is nothing worse than dealing with a small, but painfully crippling, blister in the middle of Half Marathon Training, so indulge yourself with a pair of good running socks.

4. Include strength training in your schedule

Leg strength is a key element of Half Marathon Training. It is one of the main factors in determining whether you run the marathon in the time you want. It is also a factor in determining whether you can complete the whole event running, without having to walk.

In preparing for a Half Marathon, many people say they are prepared for the pain and will just run through it. That sort of comment often comes from people who are fit and are therefore used to training. For many of these people, the pain associated with training gives them a buzz and is part of the reason they keep doing it.

When your legs stop working because they are too tired, however, no amount of will-power is going to make them start working again. The only solution is to prepare your legs for a Half Marathon by including as much strength training as you can.

This may sound daunting, but it does not need to be. Strength training can take many different forms, including using a cross training machine at the gym or going to a circuits or spin class. It could also be much simpler, though. You could do plenty of hill work during your normal training runs – the steeper the hill, the better. Or, you could incorporate speed work into your normal training runs.

Any sort of strength training you do will reap benefits on race day.

5. Get in the right frame of mind

Being mentally fit is as important as being physically fit when it comes to being successful in a Half Marathon run. It is no different to any other sport, or in fact any other aspect of life. If you are not in the right frame of mind, it is very hard to achieve your goals.

The most important things is to stay positive throughout your training. Tell yourself every day that you feel good, fit and strong. That may sound silly to some, but it does work. Treat every completed day’s training as an achievement and congratulate yourself for taking another step closer to your goal.

It is hard to stress just how important mental positiveness is to training and completing a Half Marathon. There are hundreds of stories of sportsmen and sports teams who loose despite being more skilled than their opponents. Lack of confidence and poor mental attitude are often to blame. Even for normal people (like the majority of us non-athletes who run Half Marathons) can be affected by not being in the right frame of mind. There are many stories of men and women who run on the day of the Half Marathon far below the standard they were regularly achieving during training.

Of course, mental toughness and a positive attitude will not by themselves get you through a Half Marathon. You will need to do the physical training, but remain positive while doing so and constantly tell yourself you are doing well.

6. Train with others

Half Marathon Training can be a lonely pursuit, particularly when on a long run. Runners do many things to relieve that loneliness (which, occasionally, turns into boredom), including listening to music or radio programmes through headphones (try also listening to audio books as a page-turning bestseller is a great way of getting through a run).

Sometimes just being entertained while running is not enough though. The solution to loneliness, boredom and low motivation is obvious – run with others.

You will have to make sure the person or people you plan to run with are at the same level of training as you. You will not want to be held up by a running partner who cannot keep up with you, and similarly you will not want the strain of running faster than you are comfortable with so as to keep up with a quicker partner.

One final thing on this point – running with others does not necessarily mean running with other people. Dogs make great running companions and are the partner of choice for many in training.

7. Fund raise until you can’t fund raise anymore

There are two main reasons for fundraising ahead of running a Half Marathon. The obvious first reason is that charities and good causes will benefit from your efforts. This is of particular importance if your chosen charity has had a personal influence on your life. If it was not for the millions raised around the world every year by people running Half Marathons, charities would be much worse off.

The other reason for fundraising is much more selfish. If you use your Half Marathon entry to fund raise, you will be under a greater obligation to compete on the day and ultimately complete the race. Following directly from this sense of obligation will be a greater motivation to train. It will no longer be just a personal decision of whether you feel too tired on a particular day to train as another thing on your mind will be not letting down the charity you have selected, or the people who have committed to give you money on completion of the event. That could be enough to keep your training going when motivation is low.

8. Stay hydrated

Studies have shown that being as little as 2 percent dehydrated can have a negative effect on your running performance. Being dehydrated can make you run slower and may make you feel sluggish and light-headed. You may also start to cramp. It is therefore important to make sure you take on enough fluids while Half Marathon Training.

Fluid intake should start before your training run. Ideally one to two hours before the training session where possible and the amount you should take should be between 8 and 16 ounces (250mls to 500mls). Throughout the training session, the same amount of fluids should be taken for roughly every 30 minutes of training. This should be done by sipping rather than gulping down large amounts or you will just find that you will need to go to the toilet.

The type of drink you choose is down to personal choice, but it should be cold rather than warm. Water works well, as do sports drinks.

You may need to plan your fluid intake on training runs. Such planning has been shown in studies to improve performance. There is a more practical reason for planning in that when training, you are on your own and will need to carry enough drink to get you through to the end of the run. It will be different on race day when often the organisers will have drink stations throughout the course route.

Finally, it is important to drink after your training run. The amount you will need will vary depending on how strenuous your training run was. As a guide, you should drink enough so that you will have to go to the toilet within about an hour of finishing your run.

9. Sleep and eat well

This may be common sense, but for many people living busy lives it can be a challenge. As much as it is possible, meals should contain high energy, non-processed food. Heavy, starchy meals will feel like a lump in your stomach so should be avoided. Fruit and vegetables should be eaten as much as possible.

You should eat at least 30 minutes before your training session, more if it is a larger meal. Also try to use the toilet just before going out for your run as it is not just about putting good fuel into your body – having a system that works well is also important.

Sleeping well is also critical. Because of the modern and demanding lives many of us lead, it is not always possible to get 8 hours sleep every night. However, your Half Marathon Training will progress better if you get plenty of rest. Your body needs time to relax and recuperate when going through a Half Marathon Training Schedule, and sleeping is the best way to give your body this time.

10. Try everything before race day

Everything you have read in these Top 10 Half Marathon Training tips, and every other piece of advice you get when preparing for your race, should be tried well in advance of the event. Do not, for example, buy a new pair of running shoes a week or two before your race. In fact, do not do anything in the week or two before the race that you have not done many times during your training.

The clothes you plan to wear on race day should be worn on training runs – if it is going to chafe, it is better you find that out well in advance. This applies to everything, from your underwear to your t-shirt; your socks to your hat.

The fluid you plan to drink during the race should be used while on all training runs, and if you plan to use energy gels make sure you try them in training long before race day. Before long training runs you should also try to eat the food you are planning to eat before the event.

Finally, most Half Marathon events take place in the morning. If possible, train at a similar time of day, particularly on your long training runs.

William Best is a writer and journalist. He currently edits Half Marathon Training, a website specifically focused on training and competing in a half marathon.


Talkin’ Dirty

Posted: December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

40 ways to increase your runnign speed @


It’s inevitable, once you’ve been running for awhile, someone is bound to mention these two dirty words.  That’s right, SPEED WORK. The distance runner’s nemesis.

“But”, you say, “I don’t want to run fast, I want to run far.”
“But”, I say, “you do want to run far faster.”
At which point you scrunch your face and flare your nostrils, look down, turn and walk to the line. (Hmmm, is this insight or a flashback?)

I saw a handy dandy training chart once that illustrates the concept:.

The further away from your goal race, the more intensity and less volume on your speed days (shorter repeats).  Right now I’m at the far left on the chart, not even in my 18 week plan. I start with 200 meter repeat’s. You can start with 100’s if it’s new to you, and work your way up to 600’s. I’ll do something like…

View original post 254 more words

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Have you ever wondered why some people are never interested in running a marathon? Research on motivation says it might be something to do with their brains….

Health & Family

Are you the kind of person who is always “on,” constantly driven to achieve? Or are you more of a slacker type, less motivated by the promise of material reward?

View original post 811 more words

Hi Readers,

 I have moved the blog to a new home , to continue reading my daily post go to my new site.

Happy Running

Warmly Constantine Njeru

Australia’s Suzanne Walsham fought off a calf strain to win Tueday’s Empire state building run up. What I find more astonishing about her win is that at the end she said the calf injury had prevented her from running in the last two weeks.

Not being able to train is not the ideal way to prepare for a race. The fact that Suzanne won without training means she is either too good or the rest of 64 female stair case runners were not good enough.

She finished in 12:44 and beat last year’s time by 28 seconds. She was 49 seconds ahead of second-place woman, Cindy Moll-Harris of Indianapolis, a four-time winner.

The event is one of the world’s premier tower races, beginning with a mad dash in the lobby and finishing 1,576 steps later on the observation deck. This year, 171 men and 64 women competed. All but 20 finished. When one 42 year old runner was asked what hurt most during the climb,  he pointed to his head “Mentally, its tough. I’ll probably never do it again.”

Dold Wins Second Empire State Bulding Build Up

Thomas Dold, a 23-year-old student who lives in Stuttgart, was the first male to reach the observation deck, he finished in 10 minutes, 8 seconds, his best time yet in the race. Not bad for a boy who lives in a two storey building.

The only downside of this race is that after all the hardwork. There are no cash prizes. The top three usually receive a commemorative medal and a return flight to compete the next year. They have to pay all their other expenses.

If you are a runner and you want to dope your body “legally” then I recommend you try some of the following doping ideas. Dont worry about Joining Marion Jones in prison because this are all legal.

1. Doping your body with altitude training.

I have previously blogged that, this is one secret of Kenyan runners.

The basic concept behind high altitude is that as you go higher above sea level there is less oxygen  in the atmosphere.

This places additional stress on the body because less oxygen is being carried to the muscles and the body has to produce more red blood cells to carry the oxygen.

The more the red blood cells in your body the higher the oxygen carrying capacity.

2. Caffein as Performance enhancing drug.

A number of studies have shown significant performance increases in various endurance disciplines, including running, following caffeine ingestion. In one study, elite runners improved their time in a treadmill run to exhaustion by 1.9 percent with caffeine. Caffeine boosted time to exhaustion in a cycling test by 15 minutes in another study.

So how does the world most widely used drug improve your  performance? It appears caffeine enhances performance in shorter events by stimulating the nervous system in ways that enable the muscles to contract faster and more efficiently. In longer events, caffeine delays fatigue by reducing the athlete’s perception of effort.

3. Cancer as Performance enhancing drug

What has made Lance Armstrong a super athlete? A recent article claims that Armstrong’s testicular cancer actually helped him during the Tour de France. The Authors speculate that the treatment procedure might have actually altered Armstrong’s Testosterone production. Read the article in wikipedia.

The Dubai Marathon on January 18 could be the marathon where Haile Gebrsellassie gets record Number 24!

The 2008 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be the richest long distance running event in history with prize-money of USD 1,000,000 including a winner’s cheque of USD 250,000 for both men and women.
His Highness Haile Gebrselassie is not only targeting the bounty but is plotting to break his own record. After setting a new marathon record at 2007 Berlin Marathon, he declared “If I was running for money I would be entering events every week”

This passion for running above the money has given him 23 records (dont forget, the records have made this running machine from a poor Ethiopian village a very rich man)

Listed below are Gebrselassie’s 23 World records and World best performances.

1) 12:56.96 – 5000m – Hengelo 04 Jun 94
2) 8:07.46 * – 2 miles – Kerkrade 27 May 95
3) 26:43.53 – 10,000m – Hengelo 05 Jun 95
4) 12:44.39 – 5000m – Zurich 16 Aug 95
5) 13:10.98 – 5000m – Sindelfingen (i) 27 Jan 96
6) 7:30.72 – 3000m – Stuttgart (i) 04 Feb 96
7) 12:59.04 – 5000m – Stockholm (i) 20 Feb 97
8) 8:01.08 * – 2 miles – Hengelo 31 May 97
9) 26:31.32 – 10,000m – Oslo 04 Jul 97
10) 12:41.86 – 5000m – Zurich 13 Aug 97
11) 7:26.14 – 3000m – Karlsruhe (i) 25 Jan 98
12) 4:52.86 * – 2000m – Birmingham (i) 15 Feb 98
13) 26:22.75 – 10,000m – Hengelo 01 Jun 98
14) 12:39.36 – 5000m – Helsinki 13 Jun 98
15) 12:50.38 – 5000m – Birmingham (i) 14 Feb 99
16) 27:02 – 10km – Doha 11 Dec 02
17) 8:04.69 * – 2 miles – Birmingham (i) 21 Feb 03
18) 41:22 ** – 15km – Tilburg 04 Sep 05
19) 44:23 * – 10 miles – Tilburg 04 Sep 05
20) 55:48*** – 20km – Tempe 15 Jan 06
21) 58:55*** – Half Marathon – Tempe 15 Jan 06
22) 1:11:37*** – 25km – Alphen aan den Rijn 12 Mar 06      23) 2:04:26 Full Marathon Berlin Marathon  30 Sept 07

(i) indoor venue
* not at an IAAF record event
** not officially timed
***pending ratification