Half marathon training

Article May 11, 2016

Take on these tweaks to put your half marathon training in the fast lane

You’re feeling fit, strong and healthy. So what now? If you’ve started coasting from one session to the next now that you’ve made all that initial progress, it’s time to take your workout to the next level.

Not only does your body need a routine shake-up once it’s adapted to exercise, your motivation needs a boost, too. There’s always room to improve, whether you’re a runner, a weights girl or just looking to lose a few pounds – you just need to know how. Try training for a half marathon to break through your barriers and take your results higher.

Become a film star

OK, it might feel strange to watch a video of yourself working out, but it’s a great way to check your running technique. Sometimes a movement might feel right when it’s not quite perfect, which means that you’ve made a habit of performing it incorrectly. So, video footage allows you to see if you need to be more upright when running or need to work on your gait.

Eat for exercise

Keeping your weight in check is simple: avoid refined and processed foods, sugars and trans fats and fill up on vegetables, good fats and protein. But if you hone in on your healthy eating just a little more, you could see a huge pay-off when training for a half marathon. What you eat and when you eat it can have a dramatic effect on your results. Take carbs, for example – most people think they’re best consumed before exercise to act as a fuel, but they’re actually most useful after a tough session when the glycogen stores in your muscles are depleted and in need of replenishment. Plus, we’re more sensitive to insulin after exercise, so the effect carbs usually have on blood sugar will be less significant and less likely to be stored as fat. Win-win!

Know thyself

Get familiar with your genetic body type for a tailor-made workout. Are you a mesomorph (naturally low body fat and able to gain lean muscle mass easily); an ectomorph (naturally long, lean and slender and struggle to gain fat or muscle mass); or an endomorph (able to gain both fat and muscle mass easily)? Knowing yourself will help decipher the best way to eat and exercise for the results you want when you’re training for a half marathon.

Train to compete

What drives elite athletes to get up at the crack of dawn to begin a long day of training? You can bet it’s their gold-medal goal. Luckily, you don’t have to be a professional to have a competition goal – sign up for a half marathon to ramp your motivation up a gear.

Alter your aims

Struggling to blast the last five pounds through running? Want to shave seconds off your PB? Whatever goal you’ve been working on for last six weeks, change it up if your results are slowing. Focusing on something fresh, like a half marathon, can subconsciously change your approach to training, which might be enough of a tweak to get the effects you’re after.

Keep a diary

Studies have shown that keeping a food diary is crucial for successful weight loss. It encourages mindful eating, progress tracking and ensures you can’t get away with lying to yourself about your eating habits. Well, the same goes for exercise. No more skipping sessions, lacklustre efforts in the gym or excuses for giving your workout a miss. Jot down what you did and when, as well as how you felt before and after the sessions to discover what works best for you.