News : How to prepare for a half marathon

News : How to prepare for a half marathon

mitja marato barcelona 2020

Training for a half marathon is demanding, but preparing for it is also very motivating. A half marathon consists of covering a distance of 21,097 meters, that is, half a marathon and, in general, it is completed in a time range that oscillates – in most runners – between 1 hour and 3 hours.

Therefore, it requires a prior preparation of a few weeks. And if we take it with discipline, we can do it. Having a planning and certain notions about training is more than recommended to achieve the goal successfully.

For running lovers who are beginners and do not know where to start, there are devices that help you with training, for example the Garmin watch can be an ally to achieve our goals in training prior to that big day, the half marathon. which we have been dreaming of for a while.

Training plan: phases

Always starting from the basis that we are beginning to prepare, there is a very effective training plan that combines exercise with food, and a series of phases to achieve our goal.

First phase: Aerobic

The aerobic phase is very important in the preparation of a half marathon since we cannot start from scratch to run a half marathon without having an aerobic base. Swimming or cycling are also considered predominantly aerobic exercises and can be alternated with running in order to minimize possible discomfort caused by the impact of running.

If we are newcomers to running, we recommend starting by running 15 ‘lightly three days a week and each week that passes increasing these continuous runs by 5’. When we are able to run 45-50 ‘without stopping we are ready to start introducing other types of training (changes of pace, climbs, series, etc). On In this initial stage, the most important thing is that running becomes a habit.

This aerobic “build” will induce a improvement of the cardiovascular system: oxygen transport increases, the heart becomes larger and is able to pump more blood and faster with each contraction, the lungs become more efficient, etc. As the physical state improves, the effort that was previously anaerobic is now aerobic and therefore we will be able to maintain the level for a long time.

The aerobic energy source is carbohydrates and fats, which are burned for energy, for which oxygen is needed. Thus, a training aimed at improving aerobic capacity should be focused on increasing oxygen demand. Namely, maintain intensity for a long time, something that can be measured by monitoring certain parameters, the most relevant being the heart rate.

If at the beginning of our training program our aerobic threshold is 150 beats and we go at a pace of 6:00 a kilometer and after several weeks, to go at the same pace, our aerobic threshold goes down (fewer beats to go at the same pace) , it will mean that we are improving aerobically and we will have to progressively adjust our training rhythm to continue improving.

Second phase: Specific. Establish a training pace

Once we have an adequate aerobic base, it is important to work our ability to run as if we were already competing, knowing that our final goal is 21 km. This specific training will be able to give more resistance to the running speed and the basic preparation (aerobic) will be the sustenance to improve the specific work of the rhythm. It is important to understand that one is the support of the other during preparation.

In this phase it is about being as effective as possible, without wasting our energies along the way, gradually introducing higher racing intensities. Training understood as the body’s response to a stimulus. Without stimulation there is no real training and it is not possible to improve. Through the stimulus we will force a reaction that improves our performance by running.

This means that repeating the same training many times does not provide any stimulus, and without stimulus we have adaptation, the main enemy of physical improvement.

The ideal is to start the specific training program at least 10 weeks before the half marathon, especially if we are beginners, gradually covering an average of between 24 and 32 km. weekly, spread over several days throughout the week, according to our availability.

The most normal thing in this phase is that in addition to the filming we carry out, one or two days a week, series work As the weeks go by For example: 8 series of 1000 meters, 4 series of 2000 meters, 2 series of 4000 meters and we continue to increase in number (10-12 of 1000 meters, 5-6 of 2000 meters and 3 series of 4 or 5000 meters)

All these series are essential during the preparation of a long race, but we cannot neglect the shorter series such as 12 series of 500 meters recovering 1’15 or 16 series of 400 recovering 1 ‘.

If a month ago we completed 8 of 1000 to 5’00m / km, and we want that three weeks later we get to 4’45 ”, a good strategy is to attack those rhythms (and the corresponding physiological response) with 12 series of 500 meters at 2’15 and in this way our body will be prepared so that we can pass in 2’23 “when we are doing the series of 1000 meters at 4’45”. There is no more secret.

Third phase: the final stretch

In the last outings prior to the half marathon we are immersed in the tuning phase. If everything goes according to plan, and the small annoyances have not prevented the different stages from burning, it is time to abandon strength work (goodbye to the gym and hills) and focus our training on fine-tuning our form with 3-4 weeks to go .

And how will we achieve it?

We have to continue working on aerobic endurance, but it is very important that in the last month of preparation we spin very fine, giving more prominence to the rhythms. Therefore, in this phase the series become more important and the filming must serve to assimilate the work of these.

With the series we will try to move the fatigue threshold away from the target rhythm that we have set for ourselves on the day of the half marathon. Unlike the final section in the specific preparation of a 5 or 10 km race, where the anaerobic workload takes center stage, for the half marathon we will shorten the recoveries of the series and in a very progressive way we will increase the rhythms. Now the priority is to assimilate cruising speed with solvency, memorize it and try to contain the euphoria that may invade us in some training sessions.

We are at a transcendental moment of preparation, exceeding the rhythm in long continuous races (for example 1h30 ”) or in a series session can end up leading to excess fatigue or injury for the day of the race.

Nutrition and hydration

Recovering well from each session is essential to face the next training session with energy and in good physical condition, and for this it is essential to follow a specific diet. Inadequate intake or recharge of energy reserves can lead to fatigue and ineffective training.

The daily diet must be, above all, rich in carbohydrates in order to optimize the recovery of muscle glycogen (runner’s gasoline) expended during physical activity. For this reason, it is recommended that each meal and snack, especially those before and after the effort, contain a food rich in carbohydrates: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals of all kinds, vegetables, legumes, fruit, … Juices and drinks Sports with carbohydrates should also be considered.

Each meal must also contain foods rich in high biological quality protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy …) as well as a variety of vegetables in order to balance energy / structural needs (muscle damage) and achieve an optimal intake of vitamins. , minerals and antioxidants.

After training the runner must eat and / or drink to ensure a speedy recovery. Hydration should be considered before, during and after exercise, either with water alone or with isotonic carbohydrate drinks. Hydration acquires great importance with heat and / or humidity.

On race day it is important to take good care of your diet and drink fluids during the competition. In this sense, we must also train beforehand so as not to suffer gastrointestinal discomfort during the competition, which occurs among some athletes who are not prepared. It is highly recommended to eat food and energy drinks, and check that they feel good when we start running. It is about training our stomach. Pre-hydration is also essential.

How long does it take to do a half marathon

According to statistics, the average time that Spaniards take to do a half marathon, with a good workout behind it, is approximately 1 hour and 51 minutes in men, and approximately 2 hours and a minute in women. They are good brands in relation to runners of other nationalities. But the important thing is to be realistic, graduate the effort and take a previous training to reach a good mark in a 21 km route, taking into account that a half marathon must combine speed with resistance and that we must have learned to train from So that we spend our energy throughout the entire half marathon route.

To keep a more in-depth control of the times, it is a good option to get a sports watch like the one we have named at the beginning of the article. More info:

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