Find your own personal rhythm once again
It’s so important to become physically comfortable with your own personal pace. This means finding an easy, relaxed rhythm that you naturally settle into each time you run, independent of those around you. Your group will be supportive but you must remember your own pace is personal. Try incorporating the following suggestions on your next training run:
- You should be able to carry on a conversation at all times. If you’re out of breath you need to slow down.
- Remember it’s always your arm action that will help you to maintain your rhythm and pace.
- Try to keep your shoulders square and relaxed, your arm action quick and ensure your elbows are tucked close to your sides.
- As a distance runner, it’s all about efficiency and conserving energy, which means shorter strides with very little knee lift. Ie. Most people over-stride.
- In addition to your rhythm, think about your technique: keep your body upright, keep your arms relaxed and close to your body, and take small steps without a strong knee lift.
- When you’re running try to remember to avoid bouncing and over striding: Your weight should be distributed on the mid-to-forefoot, unlike walking, which is clearly a heel-toe action and you should be aware of landing under your base of support… your hips and torso.
The volume of the workload has increased, and you might be surprised at the far-reaching impact it has on the other areas of your life: work, sleep, nutrition and family are all affected. All adjustments and shifts in lifestyle take time. Persevere and have faith that it will all fall into place, as it should. It’s important to communicate your program with your family members and those that will be affected who will also be those that will support you.
Put all of the non-running pieces of your puzzle in place:
It’s simply not enough to complete your 3 work-out sessions each week. You need to create a positive framework that supports your goals. Here are some tips to remain healthy, rested and up-beat throughout the next 9 weeks of your training:
- Look forward to your recovery weeks. The decreased workload and volume will give you the mental boost and confidence to tackle the increases during the building weeks.
- Try to incorporate the suggested cross-training days into your training pattern. Besides being relaxing and fun, cross training provides you with the opportunity to improve core strength that will help prevent injuries as your body adjust to the impact of running and walking.
- A relaxed walk is a great way to recover from your weekly long run. Walking keeps the circulation flowing and helps your legs to recover. There is a suggested walk after each long-run clinic day each week.
- Make sure you work on your flexibility. Walking and running shortens the tendons and muscles especially in your calves and hamstrings. Stretching before and after your workouts will ensure better recovery and help to prevent injury.
- Consider finding a yoga or stretching workshop/class on one of your off days.
Tip: Measure the distance of your runs
In this program you need to know you have covered the volume necessary to be safe over the half marathon distance. You will notice in the training program that I have included suggested times as well as specific distances in both kilometers as well as miles. Your leaders will ensure you cover the necessary distance on your clinic days. By measuring the distance of your longer training runs it will give you a sense of how long it takes you to complete the various distances. Also, running a measured route gives you confidence that you are getting closer to completing your distance.
Tip: The Importance of Body Awareness: Pay attention to any small aches and pains. Keep track of them in your logbook or planner to ensure they are only a result of working hard and will disappear as the body gets stronger. It will take time for you to grow accustomed to some general fatigue as well as slight aches or pains from training.
Tip: Missed Sessions: If you miss a week or two of training do your best to gradually resume the program but it may be that you have missed too much to safely complete the program. Avoid jumping back into the training schedule where you left off. This drastically increases the chances of injuring yourself.
Tip: Remember to take care of yourself: Remember to make your daily habits as optimal as possible: healthy, balanced meals; good hydration; lots of rest and keep stress levels at a minimum. At this stage your body is your temple, try to do all you can to feel your very best.
Tip: Be honest with yourself: If you’re not feeling confident and are not comfortable progressing as the program advances, it’s likely you’ve not been able to establish a consistent pattern of training each week. Maybe you haven’t been able to complete your weekly sessions for various reasons. If you’re unable to do your homework or complete at least the minimum of 3 run/walk sessions each week, you may need longer to realistically accomplish your goal of safely and comfortably completing a half marathon. There’s nothing wrong in discovering that your program needs some minor adjusting. You may need to give yourself longer to prepare for your distance running goal. Remember, these are only guidelines – it’s up to you to figure out what is required for your fitness level.