How To Build Your Training With Running With Us

The Half Marathon Journey

Keeping your training in balance and enjoyable will ensure you arrive at race day fit, positive and having learnt loads about yourself, both physically and emotionally. Check out the Running With Us team’s top tips for building your training and ensuring you arrive at the start line on Sunday 8 March happy and healthy…

· Make sure you’re following a training plan that builds training in gradual increments but take ownership of it and change it to make it work for your lifestyle and fitness. Remember, you can always replace running with cross training to reduce the impact. 3-4 runs a week is a good aim for new runners and any additional cross training will really help boost your fitness.

· Quality is key as well as quantity. Whilst of course the volumes of your running will increase as the weeks go by, half marathon success isn’t just about the miles. Adding some controlled faster efforts into your running week can help speed up the rate of your progression.

· Including blocks of ‘controlled discomfort’ effort into one of your weekly runs will help build a stronger, bigger heart and get your mind used to pushing. Start with something simple like 5 x 3 minutes at a 3-4-word answer effort, building to 5 x 5 minutes, 5 x 6 minutes or even 3 x 10 minutes with a short 90-120s recovery.

· Fuel it right. Spending time thinking about your nutrition and adding as much variety as possible into your day to day diet will help you stay strong, energised and healthy by increasing your available energy and keeping your vitamins and minerals topped up. Unless there’s a clear medical reason to do so don’t exclude whole food groups from your diet. Carbohydrates from healthy, complex sources, protein with most meals and plenty of fruit and veg is the way to go.

· Try to keep a positive mindset! Training for any race is a journey and isn’t always a smooth, linear process. There will be runs that don’t go to plan, races where you don’t feel great and runs you will need to miss or change. As the weeks go by, focus on positive outcomes each week – it’s about what you DO complete, not what you don’t. Keep a training diary noting down 2-3 positives every week. In a few weeks you’ll have a bank of mindset boosting evidence of your progress.

· It’s all about balance. Your body gets fitter through stress and recovery. Training creates stress but it’s not until you recover that all the changes take place which will leave you fitter. Balance your training with recovery and you WILL get fitter. Try this: every 3-4 weeks include a lighter week of training, cutting back your volumes to allow your body a bit more adaptation time. Respect your rest days, your body will have your back!

· It’s a matter of dosage. Your training doesn’t sit in isolation – stress in your work, family or social life will impact on your ability to train and recover well. Keep an eye out for the warning signs of over training. You can monitor your day to day training readiness with an HRV app, watch for inconsistent sleep, regular small colds or niggles, or a loss in motivation.

· Your longest long run doesn’t need to be any longer than 1:45-2hrs in duration, regardless of the distance you hit. Any longer than this and you’ll end up overtraining. Even if you don’t hit over 13 miles, don’t panic! The accumulation of training is what gets you round, not just

your longest run. With threshold work included in your training, you will build the strength and endurance you need to finish.

Good luck and keep up the great work!