So you’ve decided to take the plunge and run your first half marathon? Well done you, it’s a massive challenge and a really impressive feat to achieve! Running any sort of long distance takes stamina and focus and not just on the day itself. Preparing for a half marathon can be as much work as doing it; you need to think about how far to run, what to eat, how to rest etc. To help you prepare appropriately for your first half here are some key tips, from knowing what is a healthy BMI, to thinking about food for the big day!
Check out your health status before starting
Before you start any project that’s going to put considerable strain on your body, it’s important to get a thorough check up by a health professional. There are certain things you might need to be aware of before you train, such as potential injuries or losing too much weight, and a nurse, doctor or physio will be able to advise on this. They will do things like explain what is a healthy BMI and measure it, check your cardiovascular status or muscle-skeletal problems. Anything you need to know before preparing for the big race!
Follow an official plan
Once you’ve got a clean-bill of health and are ready to start training, it’s important to follow a tried and tested plan. Without this, it’s easy to over work yourself too quickly or not know how much to run to prepare. Look for published half-marathon running guides or podcasts by certified personal trainers. Read over the full plan before you start and ensure it’s appropriate for you.
Consider getting a personal trainer
If you’re not someone who likes doing things from a book, or know you work better with others than on your own, the alternative to following a written plan is to hire a personal trainer. While this can be expensive, many people see it as a vital resource in their preparation for the big day. If you decide to get a personal trainer ask around for local recommendations. Try to find one with expertise in running, ideally who has done marathons and half marathons before.
Consider what you’re eating
Finally, while running is all about exercise, being careful about what you eat is a big part of your preparation too. It’s worth making a plan and getting external advice on this too. You’ll need to think about things like when to eat the most carbs, or when to focus on protein to enable muscle recovery. It sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it you’ll enjoy fuelling up your body to get its best possible performance.
You can also check out the free keep it simpElle 6 day countdown guide to race preparation for some handy daily reminders!
Those are our top tips for completing your first half! It’s a real challenge – both in terms of preparation and on the day – but when you run past that finish line and feel completely amazing, it’ll all have been worth it.