What you must know about running your first Half Marathon

Posted on 22/05/2016

Have you considered running a half marathon or completing in a local fun run?

We spoke to three of our members who completed the 2016 Sydney Morning Hearald Half Marathon to give you some insight into what it takes to cross the finish line and how you can do it too.

We got some invaluable hints from runners at Taylor Made Personal Training Cronulla as they shared their story.

With anything in life, setting a goal, followed by hard work, commitment and consistency will lead you to where you want to go and running is no different.

Once your goal is decided (the distance and time you would like to complete) it's time to write a running program. Make sure you start with small runs (short in distance and time) but plan to be running every other day. Increase your running load (distance and duration) by no more than 10% each week and ensure you add variety to your running schedule (i.e., sprints, tempo runs and long runs).

Once your running program is set, it's time to hang it on the fridge (or somewhere you will see it daily). Stay true to your goal and complete every session on your program.


SMH Half Marathon Wrap Up

1. Why did you decide to participate in the SMH Half Marathon?

NIKI: To set a goal to work towards.

LAUREN: For me participating in a half marathon was a life goal I have wanted to achieve. I also wanted to push myself and prove to myself that it was possible to complete. I don't think I would have ever trained to complete it by myself so when the opportunity came up to do it together I had no reason to say no.

PAUL: I had done the Oxfam walk and you suggested it as another big goal to work towards.

2. Was this your first Half Marathon? If not, how many have you competed in?

NIKI: Yes.

LAUREN: This was my first.

PAUL: It's been 5 years and I have run every year. Some easier than others!

3. What did you learn about yourself during training and the run?

NIKI: That life is too short to sit back and wish you'd done things that you'd put on your bucket list.

LAUREN: That I can actually run a lot further than I expected when training as a group. During the run I had the fitness to complete the run however it was now a mental challenge to tell myself to keep going. The mental strength was huge on the day.

PAUL: At first I doubted if I could even run that far! But by starting off small and working up to it, it's been a great experience.

4. Would you do it again? Why?

NIKI: Yes but probably a different course as I like to achieve experiences over trying to beat times.

LAUREN: Yes, I think it was a great achievement and I would run another. The reason being is that I now have a better understanding of the whole race and I'd like to better by time.

PAUL: I plan to keep going for as long as I can. Definitely back there next year to chop a few minutes off my time! It's a challenging course with a lot of hills so if I can get a good time there I know I'm really improving.

5. What would be your number one recommendation for anyone else thinking of participating in a Half Marathon?

NIKI: If you train well and you believe in yourself, you will have THE BEST TIME EVER! What a privilege to run the streets of our beautiful city with thousands of other like-minded people and without cars. Just AMAZING!!!!!

LAUREN: Get good shoes!!!!!! I have two huge blisters on my feet and haven't been able to walk all week.

Also just do it, prove to yourself that you can run 21km. It's unbelievable the amount of people who have said to me "I couldn't do that, it's so far" but none of these people have ever tried. I don't know how you can say that when they have never given it a go. They're setting themselves up to fail even before they started. I'm not a great runner but I proved myself wrong and everyone else who doubted me and it's the best feeling in the world when you can accomplish something you thought was impossible!

PAUL: My great lesson has been consistency of training and working out how to fit it into my week. Jumping too far ahead with distance when training, to make up for missed sessions, is a shortcut to injury. Once you get injured, it's a hard road back to fitness. Slow and steady with the training. And it's going to hurt in those last few k's on the day - but you'll soon forget that and start thinking about what's next!

Other tips are, watch your nutrition and hydration, have a training plan that suits your level (see the event website for all the info) and don't go out too fast at the beginning. Have a feel for the course and what pace (min/km) you think you can do.

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