Get prepared for the Windsor Half Marathon’s standout feature
The Windsor Half Marathon is a stunning race, with a unique course packed with iconic sights and stunning scenery. The start and finish are on the famous Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, with Windsor Castle in the background. Here’s how to train for the 1.5 miles of Long Walk so you can make the most of this unforgettable route.
The course is undulating, with a few hills – but don’t forget that what goes up comes down again! You’ll start off by running up the Long Walk, and then there is a significant incline around mile 8, before you run down the Long Mile again at the end of the race.
Add hills to your training
Because the Windsor Half Marathon course is undulating, and has a long climb and descent at the start and finish, you’ll need to add hills to your training. Being prepared for the course means you’ll be able to enjoy it so much more. All of the hills are totally doable, but some specific training will make the experience easier.
Longer slower hill reps
Most of the hills in the Windsor Half Marathon route are longer, more steady climbs (rather than short-and-sharp hills). So seek out long inclines in your local area and include them in your longer runs. Here are three great ways to use hill training in preparation for the Windsor Half:
1 Hilly long runs
Plan your mid and long runs to include hills – long steady climbs, sharper inclines, and undulations. Use these runs to get used to hillier courses so they become second nature.
2 Long slow hill reps
Find a long hill (around half a mile long) which you can run up without stopping. Warm up by running to the bottom of the hill. Then run up it, keeping a steady pace, and jog back down. Do this 3-4 times. Cool down afterwards.
3 Hill sprints
Find a shorter and steeper hill, one which you can only run up for about 30 seconds. Warm up by jogging to the start of the hill. Then sprint up as fast you can, focusing on power and speed. Jog or walk back down. Do this for 8-12 repeats of 30 second sprints. Cool down afterwards.
Train for downhills too
Don’t forget to add downhill training into your Windsor Half Marathon training plan. You can make up a lot of time on the downhills if you have the correct technique, strength, and stability. And knowing how to run downhill will reduce the amount of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) you feel after hilly runs.
Choose a hilly course (like option 1 above) and focus on the downhill sections, thinking about your posture, form, and stride. Most runners don’t think about downhills at all, using them to recover from the uphill effort and letting their technique go. Think about staying tight in your core, using your arms to balance, and taking even strides with a faster cadence.
You can also do downhill intervals – which are similar to option 3 above. Find a hill which is about 1/4 mile long and around 6% gradient. Run up and down it, but this time keep the pace the same on the up and down sections. You are not sprinting up and recovering on the way down. The aim is to hold a steady pace, using the gradient on both the incline and decline.
Start hill training now and you’ll really enjoy the undulating sections of the beautiful Windsor Half Marathon course!