The summer holidays are here and Bath Half Marathon is now just over 2 months away.
You still have time to prepare for the day and to make the most of the coming weeks to really focus on your training. Don’t leave it until the end of the summer holidays to start your training (even though it can be a challenge) if you make at least some of the summer weeks a priority (in terms of training) you will reap the benefits in September and into October.
So here are my top 10 tips with 10 weeks to go to Bath Half (or thereabouts depending on when you are reading this)
- Have a plan: By now you should have a training plan that includes a mixture of running, cross-training, and rest days – with 1 long training run a week that gradually increases in distance or time each week, leading up to race day.
- Stay consistent: Whether you are running 3 times a week or 5 times a week – try to stay on track as much as possible – slowly allowing your body to adapt to running longer distances – rather than trying to cram everything into the last 4 weeks of training.
- Include other exercises: Other non-running activities like cycling, swimming, strength training or even walking will help you improve your overall fitness. Running a half marathon is an endurance event – so any exercise that allows you to complete hours (rather than minutes) of exercise will allow your body to adapt to running further.
- Listen to your body: If you are feeling tired or you have a ‘niggle’ your body is probably trying to tell you to ease off a bit – take an extra rest day and allow your body to recover. If the pain increases – book yourself in with a physiotherapist or sports massage practitioner – so the therapist can identify and suggest a management plan for your sore muscles.
- Focus on nutrition and hydration: Food is fuel – make sure you get a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Start to practice fuelling on your long runs (sweets, gels etc) and don’t forget to stay hydrated between and during workouts.
- Get the proper gear: Invest in a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type and gait – and get them fitted by a specialist retailer who will allow you to try them on before you buy them. And invest in some moisture-wicking clothing to keep you comfortable during your training runs, but also something you can wear on race day.
- Practice the route: If possible, run some of your training runs in conditions similar to the race – on pavements and paths in the case of the Bath Half Marathon – and if you live nearby consider running parts of the route on some of your training runs (I would suggest avoiding the Lower Bristol Road between MacDonalds and the Boat House as the speed limit is 60 mph and cars zoom by a very narrow pavement).
- Join a running club: Seek out a local running group or find someone you can train with – it’s so much easier running with a buddy and many runners who have experience of running races are usually very happy to share their knowledge with you.
- Start preparing for the day: Practice as many things as you can during training (what to wear, what to eat, how to complete long training runs) and start to think about how you can stay positive when training may not be going to plan. All the things you try in training (physical and mental preparation) will help you on race day. And if you have a bad training run – know that you aren’t the only runner who has ever had a bad day.
- Why?: Always remember why you are doing this – whether it’s to raise money for charity, to complete a personal challenge or because it’s the 10th time* you have taken part in the race – your motivation comes from not how you complete your training but why you signed up in the first place.
During August and September, I will be leading a series of training runs – covering the start and end of the race and some of the route too – along with personal coaching sessions for those who need some additional help with their training – get in touch if you need an extra boost in your training
*2023 will be my 10th Bath Half Marathon race (although during training runs, coaching sessions, small group runs during lockdown and helping other groups do race recces) I am confident that I have run the route nearer 50 times over the last 12 years
Run Coach Angela and Run Bath Director and Head Coach