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  1. #1
    MarcLager's Avatar

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    Half-marathon preparations

    I've decided to attempt a half-marathon in September, provided I stay well during spring and summer (I am very prone to colds). I'm currently in the process of losing excess weight to not wear my knees out, and doing a lot of rowing to build up back and core strength (my back is a bit of a weak spot). Sweden is snow covered at the moment, and I'm not running when there's snow and ice, as I find the risk of injury is too great. But I'm thinking September leaves me plenty of time for running once the snow has lifted.

    I'm not a complete beginner when it comes to running, but I've only started to take it more seriously as of last year. I ran 10 km in 58 minutes last summer, which is not a great time, but it'll give you a pointer on my shape, and time is not really that important to me. My main goal for the half-marathon is to finish, second goal is a 2 hour 10 minute finish time, and if I finish under two hours I'll be over the moon.

    I know there are a lot of runners on here, so I'll gladly take any advice on preparations, training plans, gear, shoes etc.

  2. #2

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    Hi marclager

    I've run a number of full and half marathons, I usually do 4-6 a year. Everyone is different in terms of their training requirements and also motivators for doing the runs, personally these have worked for me:

    1) I am not interested in achieving 'personal best' times and just focus on enjoying the run. Personally I find running to the point of being uncomfortable too off putting and demotivating. By running within my comfort zone both in training and the actual race, I can enjoy it a lot more.

    2) perhaps join a gym to get some treadmill KMs in now whilst it is cold and snowing. You should also be looking to incorporate some leg muscle workouts and stretching routines to reduce injuries, which can be done at the gym. Also look up 'foam roller' massage / muscle conditioning on youtube, your gym should have a foam roller. This will help your legs muscles stay in good condition and increase recovery times for aching legs.

    3) if you have a runninginjury, stop training completely until healed (it can take up to a month) and keep up the cardio with other forms of exercise like swimming or cycling.

    4) proper running shoes are important, and get a gait analysis done at a professional sports shop so that you get the right trainers for your body.

    5) keep the nutrition well balanced with good quality carbs (brown bread, rice, pasta) and high protein.

    Other than that, just focus on enjoying your training. To be honest I hate running in the cold and do no training at all outside during the winter. Sometimes I don't even bother training for an event, I just turn up and get through it, I still get the medal at the end

  3. #3
    MarcLager's Avatar

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    Cheers for the tips, Creed!

    1) As I mentioned, time and personal bests are, at best, a second objective. I mainly run to stay in shape and keep healthy, not as a competitive sport. My goal this time is to run and complete Stockholm half-marathon, because I love the city scape of Stockholm. Having the opportunity to run on the streets and bridges, enjoying the views, is my motivation and ultimate goal. This for me is a much better motivation than a time goal. I might even skip any time goal, and bring my camera for the run!

    2) I am trying to avoid having to rely on a gym. I am very strapped for time with two young children to look after. But leg muscle workouts are important, and luckily we've got a steep hill right at the back of our house. Once out door training starts, I'm thinking I'll do a hill climbing session once per week, for extra leg strength.

    4) New shoes are a priority. We don't have a proper runners store in town, but there's a new big sports store just opened and I hear good things Need to check it out.

    If you do 4-6 marathons and half-marathons per year, you've probably got a pretty solid stamina. I've always hated running, until I had kids and need a form of exercise without too much over head time. With running, my work out starts as soon as I close the door of my house. And now, I'm really starting to enjoy the feeling of running - as long as I have some music to listen to while I do it.

    Which reminds me. I'm getting Christopher McDougall's Born to Run for extra motivation.

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    My stamina isn't too bad, however my endurance and stamina only works when I keep the pace within my natural comfort zone (approx 8.5 minute mile). I can run faster, but that's when I start to mess things up and lose energy and concentration for later in the run. I usually finish a half in about 2hrs 7, and a full in about 4hrs 25 which is perfectly fine with me! And this finish time also includes stopping a couple of times during a race at water stations etc.

    A nice tactic to keep your natural pace and concentration in a race is to run to one side away from other folks so that you are not constantly thinking about having to overtake or hold people up behind you, you can adjust your speed accordingly and don't have to worry about it. I'm not sure what type of race the Stockholm event is, but a flat gradient rather than a hilly race will also help you get 'in the zone' and not mess your pace up when you see a massive hill.

    There are various leg training exercises you can do at home such as squats, weighted lunges, stretches, calf raises and so on.

  5. #5
    MarcLager's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Creed View Post
    A nice tactic to keep your natural pace and concentration in a race is to run to one side away from other folks so that you are not constantly thinking about having to overtake or hold people up behind you, you can adjust your speed accordingly and don't have to worry about it.
    This is a big worry for me. I easily forget my own pace, and try to keep up with those a lot faster than me, when I run in races. For shorter distances it's not a problem, but for long runs you'll hit a wall fairly easy if you don't keep your own pace. I need to work on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Creed View Post
    I'm not sure what type of race the Stockholm event is, but a flat gradient rather than a hilly race will also help you get 'in the zone' and not mess your pace up when you see a massive hill.
    The Stockholm run is a fairly flat affair. There's often record times being set on that run.

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