You’ve finished your first 5K, and now you want to try something more challenging – a half marathon. Here are some training tips:
- Start with the shoes. Go to a running store to get fitted for shoes best suited for your foot type and running style. Consider getting an extra pair to rotate during your training period (shoes should be replaced every 300-400 miles).
- Pick your plan. Following a training schedule will not only keep you motivated, but it will also help prevent you from getting injured by doing too much too soon. The established rule is not to boost your miles by more than 10 percent per week. There are plenty of training programs available online. Choose one you feel comfortable with, believe you can complete and that you can work into your busy schedule.
- Run right. You don’t want to waste energy or risk injury with poor running form. Run upright with your head up and level (no slouching). Keep your shoulders down, with your arms relaxed and at a 90-degree angle. Take short, quick steps and keep your feet low to the ground, to help you conserve energy and minimize impact on your legs and joints.
- Consider cross-training. Logging plenty of miles is an important part of training for a half marathon, but doing too much can lead to injury and burnout. You can also build fitness and reduce injuries by cross-training. Strengthening your core and lower body, will help to improve your strength for long runs. Other cross-training activities for runners include swimming, cycling, water running, yoga and Pilates.
- Go with a group. Training is more fun if you do it with a running group, a friend or family member. Running with others will keep you on track and motivated.
- Remember to rest. Your body needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days will tax your body’s ability to recover and make you more prone to injury. Make sure to take your scheduled rest days.
Talk with your doctor before starting any running program. Also, see your doctor if you’re injured and still feeling pain after a week of rest.
Learn more about what we offer for sports medicine at Baptist Health.