Like most of you, I too set New Years resolutions for myself each year. I set New Years resolutions both for my career and personal life. These resolutions are typically stretch targets rather than achievable targets. I have stretch targets so that I can push myself each year beyond my comfort zone and achieve goals that I would not have achieved otherwise.
Running a half marathon have been on my New Years resolutions for the past five years. But I did not achieve this goal until last year. The longest distance that I have ran prior to this was 14km (I ran the city2surf twice previously in Sydney). So, a half marathon was going to be 50% longer.
One fine evening in March 2018, something got into me and I signed up for Run Melbourne which was to be held in July 2018. Immediately after signing up, my mind was filled with doubts as to whether I will be able to complete the half marathon. But I did some research and came up with a running plan for myself for the next four months in the lead up to the event day.
Now, almost six months after the half marathon, I can say that I successfully completed the half marathon and achieved a respectable time. Of course, I would have liked a better time but given that I started in the last wave and had to dodge “runners” who started off the half marathon walking, I believe the time I achieved was solid. My proudest moment during the half marathon was not stopping once during the run as well as running at a consistent pace throughout the half marathon 😊
As a result of my half marathon achievement, I would like to share with you how I trained for my first half marathon. I will share with you my training plan and nutrition tips. Of course, this may not work for you, but you should find a plan that will work for you. And depending on your fitness level, you may set different half marathon goals 🙂
My training plan:
- I did 2 HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions each week. As I am a member of F45 training, I did my HIIT sessions here. But you can do the HIIT or cardio sessions at your local gym;
- I did 2 strength/weight training session each week. As I am a member of F45 training, I did my strength sessions here. Strength sessions are important to build your leg strength and enables you to run faster;
- I did one short run each week at a faster pace. I did this to build up my running pace. My short runs were typically done mid week and was 8km long;
- I did one longer run each week and each week, I would increase my running time. I did this on a time basis rather than on a pace basis. When I first started training, I ran for 30 minutes and each week, I would increase my run time by 5-10 minutes. The longest time I ran when I was training was 1 hour 50 minutes;
- I did not run the whole 21.1km when training – the longest I ran was 17km during training. I kept the 21.1km run for the race day 😅
- The week before the half marathon, I did 2 shorter runs as I did not want to burn out and I wanted my legs to be fresh for the race day;
- I did not do training of any sort 3 days prior to the race day. I wanted my legs and body to be fresh for the race day.
Training for the half marathon was important but in my opinion, nutrition is equally as important. So, I will share with you my nutrition plan but this may not work for you, so you should listen to your body and nourish it with whole foods and if possible, homemade meals as you know exactly what goes into your meals.
My nutrition plan:
- For my longer runs, I would eat more the night before, so that my body has the energy to run the distance the next morning. I usually did my longer runs the first thing on Sunday mornings;
- For my longer runs, I would also have a banana and a few almonds if I am feeling hungry before my run. Your body needs the energy to be able to do the long runs;
- After my runs, I would usually have a a big bowl of oats as I found it kept me fuller for longer and would keep me going for a few hours 🙂
- On my run days, I would have one or two extra snacks as I would feel hungry even after having my main meal. I would typically have peanut butter with banana, peanut or almond butter on toast or rice crackers or yogurt with protein powder and fresh fruit 🍇
- For my shorter runs, I would usually have a protein shake before my run as I would typically do my run at lunch time 😀
As I mentioned earlier, the above training and nutrition plan worked for me but it may or may not work for you. So, it is best to listen to your body and if you are too tired, have a rest and do not train and if you are hungry, eat a proper wholesome meal 🍱🌯🥘
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