Running a half marathon is an incredible achievement. Take it from someone who has run it. The 13.1 miles can seem like an impossible distance for many of us. Only through a training schedule, attention paid to keeping our bodies healthy, and awareness of our limitations and strengths can any of us help to achieve the distance. Running a half marathon on its own is a great milestone for anyone looking to reach this landmark or continue on to marathon.
Every person starts at reaching the distance. The first objective half marathon runners have is to be able to do the distance successfully on race day. The majority of individuals running their first half marathon will be focusing on completion. From there, many continue by focusing instead on improving their half marathon pace.
If you want to improve half marathon pace and you have some time, then you are in luck! There are a number of ways that you can do this, as well as important things you should consider along the way. As always, the most important tool at your disposal is time. Given enough time, you can make even challenging conditions workable as you reach your ideal half marathon pace. Let’s take a moment to look at this further. But first, let us start with the basics of pace.
What Is A Pace?
Simply put, a pace is the amount of time it takes you to run a mile. Those miles combined, it is the average time it takes you to run the entire 13.1 miles of a half marathon. Typically, a person will aim to have a pace that is constant regardless of the mile. So, the first mile, the eighth mile, and the last tenth of a mile will all be run at the same speed. Doing this allows a person to train their body into a comfortable running routine that improves their time and results in a better workout. Central to the success of running your ideal pace is strength and endurance training.
Going From Endurance To Strength
Any person who has trained for a half marathon can agree that a lot of the work goes into building up endurance. Endurance allows you to keep running, even after you become tired and still have miles to go. Strength training on the other hand helps you to increase your maximum pace, decreasing your time spent running per mile. If you are looking to improve your half marathon pace time, then you will need to focus on growing stronger as a runner.
A Straightforward Approach
One of the most common ways to do this is through timed intervals. Timed intervals are periods of time during a normal run where you run at a faster pace. For example, in a 60 minute run where you run 6 miles with 10 minute miles, timed interval training would include increasing your pace to 9:30 minute miles or even 9:00 miles for a certain amount of time or distance. This constant increase and decrease helps your body build muscles to effectively approach running at a fast rate full time. Gradually, your mile time will go down slowly as you continue to push yourself towards faster and faster interval paces. Barring any accidents or injuries, you will be amazed at how quickly your pace improves.
Be Sure To Handle One Objective At A Time
Unless you are naturally fit or fast, consider handling endurance and then half marathon pace training. Pace training can make its way into improving your overall time, but it is ancillary to building up the necessary endurance to see it all the way through. Once you have completed your first half marathon, you have a time to compare yourself to and a better understanding of how you perform as a runner. With this information in mind, you are way better informed when it comes to creating a realistic half marathon pace training schedule.
Your success at getting the right half marathon pace will require a training schedule that works from where you are now to where you want to get to. You should be focusing on building up the pace you want while running the majority of your runs at that pace. For many, this can mean giving up early, especially if the pace they set for themselves or the training routine is too short or challenging. Pace improvement training schedules will be more intense than beginner half marathon schedules, so plan to spend more time out and about on runs. As always, a crucial part of training successfully is cross training, and finding those activities that can keep you exercising without also using your legs as intensely as running. A final note is that no matter what, rest is crucial. With strength training, you need at least a day of rest every week and should consider 2 if you are really pushing yourself.
Considering Other Factors
Your diet is really important. Contrary to popular belief, training for a half-marathon or a marathon does not give you the right to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. In fact, some people end up causing themselves harm by eating more, gaining weight, and stressing their legs and tendons more. Watch your diet and plan accordingly around the exercise you are doing. Never leave for a run if you are hungry, as this will make the strength training grueling. Also, don’t miss those runs where you push your limits. It is common for people to miss work out days due to life. Make sure you are always doing your week’s most intensive workout. As a final consideration, remember that you are only human and that your legs need love and care. Treat them with respect, warm up and cool down, and don’t push beyond what you should do on low key runs. Save your strength for the strength training, take your time, and be absolutely amazed when you crush your pace time.