So on Monday we will start 10 weeks of training towards our second half marathon; the Swansea half marathon! I’m looking forward to training for Swansea. It should be easier than last time round, what with it being better weather and light in the evenings and just nicer. But it has got me thinking, what would I like to do differently this time around?
Quite a lot actually.
Our training for the Cardiff half marathon was flakey at best – thankfully we went into it with quite a good base fitness from our training for Wine and Dine and ultimately I think that’s what saw us through relatively well. This time however, I’d like to improve on my performance and if that’s going to happen then I’m going to need to take this training cycle a bit more seriously than the last one. So I’m writing this post – How NOT to train for a half marathon – to remind myself NOT TO DO ALL THESE THINGS during the next 10 weeks. And hopefully, if I start to struggle and things start to slip, I can look back on this post and remind myself that if I want to improve I need to NOT do the following:
- Skip the maintenance runs – We did a lot of this in the last training cycle. It was excuse after excuse really. It’s raining. It’s dark. I’m tired. It’s cold. If I want to improve my time I NEED to keep up with the mid-week maintenance runs. I’ve tried to spice them up this time too, with tempo run’s and hill repeats! Hopefully this variation will encourage me to do them and not put them off – but time will tell!
- Increase the mileage quickly – We had a few bad long run’s during training for Cardiff, and then instead of adjusting the training plan a bit, we tended to just carry on. This probably wasn’t sensible and I managed to injure myself – probably from increasing the mileage too quickly if I’m honest. This time round we’ll go up about a mile per week – with a few weeks where we go back down in between. Hopefully as well as seeming achievable as the mileage is only slightly increased week by week, this will prevent injury from extreme increases in mileage.
- Don’t replenish the electrolytes – About an hour and a half to two hours after each of our long run’s I would get a headache. This seemed to happen after every long run without fail and it was incredibly irritating because it would linger on for the whole day. It was only towards the very end of training that I realised perhaps this was due to the fact that I wasn’t replenishing my electrolytes after running. I was taking in calories, and I was rehydrating with water, but perhaps I needed some kind of electrolyte drink as well. Sure enough, the first time I drank a poweraid after a long run I had no headache, and every time since has been the same. I now have a stash of poweraid’s in the fridge ready for this training cycle!
- Eat greasy dinners – I distinctly remember some delicious lunches like sausage butties and pizza, followed by some pretty horrific runs! This time around I’m going to really try and think about what I’m eating prior to running. If it’s full of grease, it can wait till after!
- Stay indoors during adverse weather – As Cardiff has taught me – you can’t control the weather on race day. Nor can you control the weather in training, but you can control your attitude towards it. I really HATE training in the rain and the cold, but I managed to run a half marathon in it without dying, so I can’t use weather as an excuse not to train! This time, i’m going to try and get out whatever the weather!
- Don’t do any cross training – I did like zero cross training in the last training cycle, and ultimately my knee gave up the ghost and decided it didnt want to run anymore!! Now I don’t know for sure if this was in part due to a lack of muscle strength – but doing some cross training probably couldn’t have hurt, and may have even helped prevent the knee’s sudden hissy fit!
- Don’t stretch after running – Oh yeah… stretching. That’s important. Did I do any? We’ll if you count 30 seconds doing hamstring stretches that they teach you in school and that your probably doing wrong then sure! But real stretching, and foam rolling? Nope – I only learnt that lesson after I got injured! This time round I’m going to try to make sure to do a good stretching session after every run – especially the long ones!
So those are my 7 tips of how NOT to train for a half marathon! I’ll try NOT to follow them during this training cycle! Wish me luck!