Keep motivated for your half marathon with these runners tips.
The year is flying by – it will soon be time for your half marathon. It can be difficult to stay motivated when the race still feels so far away. How about some inspiration for this week’s training runs? Here are 13…. and a 0.1 for luck, of course!
#1 A reason for running
13.1 miles is a long way! And training won’t always be fun. On those days, remember why this race matters to you. Is it a lifelong goal? A tick on your bucket list? Are you running for charity? Or is the Windsor Half meaningful to you? Have a compelling reason – and keep it in mind for those tougher training days.
#2 Run with a friend
You might not want to run every training route with someone else, but a training partner can be invaluable for long runs, or those tiring midweek runs when the sofa is calling your name. Choose your training partner wisely: one that talks just enough to keep you going, one who shares your sense of humour, and one who you can communicate with in very few words. You’ll know them when you find them!
#3 Use shorter races
Training for a half marathon takes a long time, so why not pepper your training plan with actual races as well as long runs? You can easily replace some of your short runs with a Parkrun (add mileage before or after if you need to), or enter a 10K or two. It keeps you motivated, takes the pressure of the half marathon, and gives you a chance to practice pacing and negative splits.
#4 Train for negative splits
Negative splits – running the second half of a race slightly faster than the first half – are a useful skill to master. Use your training runs to work on the physical and mental strategies of negative splits. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get a negative split on race day. But it’s certainly something to aim for – it shows a sensible approach to pacing, a mastery of endurance, and it will ensure you end the race on a high!
#5 Work on your speed
Break up the long mileage of half marathon training by adding in some speedwork. This will keep your mind fresh, plus help your race pace of course. You could have a dedicated speed day where you run fartlek or faster than race pace. Or inject some sprints into longer runs. Every little helps.
#6 Work out your nutrition
Use your training runs to experiment with race day fuel – gels, bars, drinks and electrolyte solutions – and your pre and post run meals. This gives your mind something else to focus on when simply running is getting tough. And by the time race day rills around you will know exactly what works best for you.
#7 Get to know the course
The Windsor Half has such a stunning course (the best in the UK?) so spend time on our website familiarising yourself with the route, the running surfaces, and the undulations. Try to replicate these in training so your mind and body feel at home on the day.
#8 Run on different surfaces
Of course it’s a good idea to train on the type of surface you’ll be racing on (for Windsor, that means traffic-free roads and Crown Estate private property !) But you’ve got a lot of training mileage to get under your belt. So switch things up by running some of those on trails, grass, and footpaths as well as pavement. It will do your joints the world of good, and keep your mind motivated and refreshed.
#9 Train the brain
So much of running is mental as well as physical. Enjoy the journey of training. See what you learn about yourself. Develop powerful mental strategies to overcome nerves, procrastination, and mental fatigue. See training as an opportunity to find out who you are and strengthen your most positive characteristics.
#10 Make a playlist
Whether or not you choose to run with headphones on the day, you can make the most of a good playlist in training. Here’s our tip: intersperse music with motivational quotes, or get friends and family to record super short messages of support and put them into your playlist. They will make you smile – and keep you going!
#11 Train like the race
As the race gets closer, try to do your long runs at the same time of day. The Windsor Half will start at 10am. Use this info to develop a wake up, warm up, eat, and run timetable that gets your mind and body ready for prime performance.
#12 Get organised
Use this time to start writing a checklist for race day. What will you need to pack? What about food for before, during, and after? Kit? Shoes? How will you get there? The more you can organise and write down now, the less you have to worry about at the peak of your training programme.
#13 Drink enough water
Boring perhaps, but worth remembering! Half marathon training (especially over Spring and Summer) means your body will need more water and electrolytes that in normal life. Get into the habit of drinking enough water during the day, starting in the morning before you leave the house, and finishing in the evening with a herbal tea.
#13.1 Enjoy it
Whether this is going to be your only half marathon, or your 100th, please enjoy the process. Training for something like this is epic. You’re epic! What you’re doing is incredible, and not easy. So congratulate yourself, be proud, and enjoy the process.