How to prepare to run a half marathon in 4 steps

We have prepared some tips for running your first half marathon that you need to know!

What is a half marathon?

The half long distance race is a running occasion that always has a distance of roughly 21 kilometers, determined from the outset to the furthest limit of the circuit. It is essential for the three main regions of this methodology, which is one of the most established in mankind.

Running is practiced casually and/or expertly by individuals of any age, from kids to the older. Thus, it should be partitioned. Among the classifications, there are three most popular stages:

  • half marathon – when the race is approximately 21 km;
  • marathon – where the official races are exactly 42 km and 195 meters; It is
  • ultramarathons – when the races exceed the maximum mileage of the previous division, of 42 km.

Ultramarathons can be 50 km, 80 km or even more challenging races, which exceed 100 km in total, but, in this article, we will focus on talking about the first category among the three main ones: the half marathon. So, back to the topic…

How many km is a half marathon?

As you can already imagine from the name of the competition, this category consists of half the route of a full marathon, that is, it is exactly 21.097 km long.

It is usually run in an hour or even less by professional athletes, but the time is not as exact as the mileage and varies between each person.

How long does it take to run a half marathon?

Half marathon completion times can vary at the professional level, but most athletes clock in at close to an hour. At the recreational level, practitioners cross the final track, generally, within three hours.

There is no ideal time to finish the competition, as factors such as age, gender and test terrain can influence the individual result of each participant. The important thing is to have courage, persistence and reach the finish line!

This could be your first step towards entering the world of long-distance running sports competitions and also serve as preparation for your next goal: covering the distance of a marathon !

But make no mistake: it is not an easy test. To participate in a competition of this or any extent, your body needs to be ready for the effort. See more details below.

How to prepare to run a half marathon?

You can’t get out of a sedentary lifestyle and parachute into a half marathon, right? Therefore, before making it a goal, try to do running training for beginners so you can get used to the sport. Plan, create a routine, take care of your diet and rest.

Evolution needs to happen gradually and in advance, to avoid injuries and give your body enough training time to handle the effort.

If running is already part of your daily routine, then you can start your specific physical preparation for the race at least 12 to 16 weeks in advance. If the sport is new, then…

1. Plan your workouts

Looking for a qualified professional is always the best option to improve your performance more safely, but there’s nothing stopping you from planning and starting training for the half marathon on your own !

The best strategy is to alternate different types of running and speed, with the aim of working different muscles and improving physical and cardiovascular conditioning, ensuring good performance in the race in the future.

Alternating between long distance training at a calmer pace and rhythm training with high speed and lower mileage is a good example!

Strength training, such as weight training, is also welcome – in addition to running – as the muscles need to be strengthened to withstand the impact of the sport on the joints.

Also plan your routine specifically a week before the competition.

2. Avoid changes

Trying new things is wonderful, but everything needs to happen at the right time! And, contrary to what many people think, maintaining a routine is essential for the success of sports.

Trying a new food during training weeks, for example, can cause indigestion and affect your performance. The same goes for wearing training clothes and new shoes on days very close to the race: both can hurt or get in the way.

So be careful when making changes! Test all the clothing and equipment you plan to use during the race well in advance and continue using them every day so that nothing goes wrong on the event date.

When you are close to the competition, try to do your training in a place where you are already used to running and know the terrain: exploring a new place can be dangerous, as a minute of lack of attention can cause an injury due to uneven ground. or by fallen branches.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, during the weeks preparing for the sporting event and especially on the big day, maintain your normal eating and resting habits.

3. Prioritize rest

Rest deserves as much attention as training planning, as this is when your muscles recover and strengthen for the upcoming test.

The night before the race needs even more rest! Simply because you can’t cover 21 km if you’re tired before you even start the race, right?

Furthermore, dealing with anxiety and nervousness, although not an easy task, is necessary! A good strategy is to carry out activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a book, meditating, cooking and even listening to music.

When it’s time to sleep, no screens. Turn off the television and stay away from your cell phone and computer: these distractions, added to the pre-exam tension, can end up making you sleepy.

4. Take care of your diet

Following a balanced diet, in general, is essential for an athlete’s daily performance, but nutrition for running a half marathon requires even more attention, especially before the race.

Don’t let yourself be carried away by tension and anxiety that can make you attack everything you see in front of you, and don’t leave food consumption in the background: nutrition will play a fundamental role in your performance during the race and it needs balance.

What to eat while training for a half marathon?

During training, try to give preference to consuming foods rich in lean proteins and good quality carbohydrates to provide energy and strengthen your muscles.

In preparation for competition, your body is storing muscle energy and carbohydrates are an important source! Therefore, consume a good amount of this nutrient, especially those rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

On race day, eat light meals, ok?

What is the right diet to run a half marathon?

On the day of the competition, opt for light, carbohydrate-rich meals and, if necessary, consume 30 g of carbohydrates for every hour of the race. A day before or even more, avoid alcoholic beverages – they disrupt sleep and promote dehydration – and drink lots of water!

Water is essential both before, during and after the race.

These are the tips and, by following them, you will be practically ready. Check out some more precautions to take in the week leading up to the event!

What to do the week before the half marathon race?

With the competition approaching, it is recommended that you continue training so as not to lose your rhythm, but be careful not to wear yourself out unnecessarily. To do this, choose training that:

  • have a reduced distance, to preserve your body for the test;
  • maintain the intensity, with you running at the same pace you are used to;
  • maintain frequency, that is, include your runs in the week the same number of times as in previous weeks.

Avoid new exercises or “strength” activities to minimize the risk of unexpected injuries. This way, you keep moving and take some precautions so as not to harm your performance.

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