Running has always been my first love since a young age but I only recently ran my first half marathon and I would suggest everyone to do it at least once. Half marathons are slightly shorter and thus easier to prepare but it’s no walk in the park either.
In case you are still not sure here are some reason I why I loved my first half marathon and so will you.
It’s tough yet manageable
Yes I agree half marathons don’t yet have the appeal or hype of a marathon but like I mentioned above these tend to be shorter and thus are manageable. You won’t be spending 8-10 months simply training.
While a half marathon does require its share of blood and sweat it won’t consume your life. Training 2-3 hours in a day should be good enough even for newbies.
It prepared me for a full marathon
Not running a full marathon yet is probably the best decision you could make since it’s not only time consuming but requires tons of effort on your part and putting too much effort too soon can leave you injury prone and exhausted.
Continuous training for half marathon will ultimately prepare you for the big race since it makes the transition from 13 to 20 miles easier. Increase both speed and distance as your muscle strength and lung capacity increase.
Faster recovery and less injury chances
A runner’s worst nightmare is an injury and most injuries happen not on race day but during the course of training amongst which over-training remains the biggest factor but since you won’t be logging the same amount of miles chances of a long term injury reduces significantly.
Also recovery is an important aspect for every runner and recovery is going to be much faster from a 13 mile race than a 26 mile marathon.
I had plenty of race options
Believe it or not in the last 5-6 years the number of half marathons taking place has increased significantly and is soon going to be one of the most popular race forms amongst runners. In the US you can find one on pretty much every weekend. So stop looking for silly excuses and sign up for one today itself.
It’s a party
Well if you love to party then this is exactly the race you want to be in. What most of you may not know is that at the end of each half marathon is a party waiting. These post-race parties with the high beat music are best way to recover.
Some of these races also offer free post-race wine tasting, now doesn’t that sound ideal? I am sure that’s motivating enough to get off the couch and get training.
Well the Danville Marathon isn’t too far away. With the race taking place every year in the month of May those looking to get fit and win it this year it’s about time you get off the couch and get running.
This marathon is about 10k long and though shorter than most half marathons still requires plenty of effort and skills to overcome the inclines and declines throughout the course. So here are few tips to help you get started.
A strong base is a must
No a 5 week training guide won’t get you across the finish line. To compete in any half marathon you’ll need to train well for at least 10-15 weeks considering you already have a good running base of about 4-5 miles. I’d recommend getting a rowing machine, if you’re not sure then read review of C2 rowers.
Not having a strong base will require you to put in extra effort and time raising the risk of an injury resulting from over-training.
Quality of your runs matter
Running 10s and 100s of miles isn’t the solution to your training here. It only leaves you injury prone and exhausted. HIIT runs or Tempo runs are the runs you should do 3-4 days in a week to build both strength and speed.
On other days focus on short 4-5 mile runs done at a slower speed. These runs are important to maintain pace and yet provide the body enough time to recover from the hard tempo runs. Learn more about tempo runs below.
Take rest seriously
I know most emphasis is always on the training and rest simply seems like putting on the brakes unnecessarily but trust me rest is a brake that’s necessary. To get back up and running your body needs to heal which only happens when you rest.
Any feeling of exhaustion, lack of strength or will power is a result of lack of rest. Over-training can result in a longer layoff so take rest seriously.
Join a group
Now you can either hire a coach who is training a group or you can find a couple of friends with similar goals to help you train better. Training in a group can often help you take it up a notch as you feel less tired and more motivated.
You’re more likely to be up and ready for the morning runs when you have bunch guys waiting for you plus you’re more likely to never have a dull moment when in a group.
Know the track well
Irrespective of whether it’s the Danville Half marathon or any other the basic of research work you need to do is mostly about the course. Find out where the course gets tough, places where the water stands are located etc.
Most details are available on the marathons official site. So make sure you check it out few days prior to the race. Half the race is won with the right planning.
Danville, often referred to as suburb of San Francisco is a place perfectly situated amongst the beautiful mountains for Northern California and thus is a runner’s delight. It’s one the richest suburbs in the country and is home to someone famous destinations such as Mount Diablo in the east to Las Trampas Hills in the west.
The Danville half marathon is 10k run and in my opinion one of the best ways to enjoy the scenic beauty. This year the marathon took place in the month of May and had thousands of racers from across the country.
The race begins near the Saints Church and the route then follows into the Iron Horse Regional trail. Its a 18-20 feet wide trail and covers around 10-11 towns in the area. One of these places is an old abandoned railways line which is then followed by a slightly smoother, paved road usually used by joggers, bikers and morning runners.
While you’ll come across few other neighborhoods too most of the race takes place along the Iron Horse trail which becomes slightly steep near to the turnaround part of the course, very close to the Danville Boulevard.
Once you turnaround you follow the same path back to the finish line. Keep in mind that the initial stages of the race has a slight decline and a slight incline midway through the race so prep for both when training.
Pit stops or refreshment stands are provided every 2-3 miles and you can grab onto either water or a sports drink and some snacks. Also trail guides will be available to guide you on the right path.
The race generally takes place in the month of May. During this month Danville experiences a pleasant temperature though it does get a little dry. The cool temperature makes the race more enjoyable and also lowers need for breaks thus helping you focus better on the race. Expect temperatures to be around 60-70F.
You’ll find spectators throughout most of the race. The winners will be awarded with not only the elusive winner’s medal but also a t-shirt. Even the losers have something to look forward to. Each participant will be provided with fruits and muffins to munch on across the finish line.
The race usually begins around 8 am. For more details do not forget to check out the races official website www.danvillemarathon.com. Let us know what your preparation plans are for next year’s Danville Half Marathon and how you enjoyed this year’s race in the comments section below.
Love running in marathons? Well then I have some great news for you. Spring is the season of runners and I am sure there are both experienced and newbie runners gearing up and trust me it’s going to get serious this year too.
Marathons whether half or full are tough and the most important aspect remains timing. Apart from that training right is also important and to help you get it all right I am going to tell you exactly what you should be avoiding.
Leaving out race day diet
On the race day you need to get everything right including your nutrition and while you can practice timing, speed etc. a mistake we often make is not practicing nutrition which later creates issues such as cramps, unwanted bathroom breaks etc.
You need to practice it for weeks. Keep trying new stuff to find out what works best. Each flavor, drink, food, etc. will react differently with the body under different weather conditions and thus experimentation during training is a must.
Not pacing correctly
Your entire marathon depends on one thing and that’s pacing yourself right but often runners simply suck at it. Being too quick too early or being slow out of the blocks can both hamper your overall body strength and speed.
Continuous practice is the only solution. You can also use running apps and trackers for more accurate info.
Maintaining the same diet
Your regular diet simply won’t cut it anymore. You’re a runner now and during a marathon you’re likely to be running longer which means your body will take longer to recover. Recovery mainly depends on rest and diet and thus constant monitoring of your intake and calories burnt are important.
Avoid junk food and increase your intake of healthy calories. Provide the body with proper fueling to cope with the runs and recover faster.
Setting wrong goals
This is a mistake I find almost amongst all newbies. Your goals are the basis for your preparation and thus it’s important they remain realistic. It cannot be based on a fixed time or number. Such goals are a recipe for failure as it often leads to injuries.
You timing goals should be based on your physical and mental fitness levels. Apart from that you’ll need good tools such a tracker or a pedometer.
Giving up too soon
You’re not going to have one bad day of training. There are going to be plenty but the important part is to not panic and walk away just yet. Avoid over thinking as it can often lead to over training.
Keep in mind that even pros have bad days. All you need to do is examine the cause and fix it. Each bad training session is a lesson you need to learn from. Fuel well, sleep enough and if needed don’t mind taking it easy.