How to PR Your Next Half Marathon
How to PR your next half marathon. Saying it like that makes it sound easy right? Kinda like, here are some tips, just follow these and BOOM, you’ll PR.
Well, we all know that it doesn’t just happen that magically. A lot of factors play into breaking a personal record. It depends on the course, the weather and the current state of your health, e.g., getting a cold right before your race or getting injured.
Outside of the factors which we cannot control, are the ones we can and making sure that they are all part of your race day preparation can lead you to a PR.
While I don’t claim to be a know it all or leading expert, I can share with you what has worked for both myself and my Strength In Motion clients.
Find a training plan.
First and foremost, you need to find a training plan that works for YOU. There are a lot of training plans floating around on the world wide web but I don’t recommend just picking the first one you stumble upon. Instead, I think it’s totally worth finding a coach to help you put together a custom plan that fits your exact needs and goals.
Coaches will also help to determine what your pace should be for long runs, recovery runs and speed work.
Speaking of speed work…
Make speed work part of your running routine.
From my experience, you either love or you hate speed work, there is just no in between. I myself, LOVE it. I love tempo runs, interval runs and spending time on the track pushing the pace.
I am well aware that is not the case for everyone though and the mere idea of running outside of your comfort zone is enough to make you want to hit snooze. My recommendation for this is to find a workout that breaks it up a bit.
One of my favs just happens to be this Ultimate Sandbag Track & Core Workout.
It’s an interval workout that also includes some core work…talk about bang for your buck!
Incorporate strength training.
Speaking of core work, you should really be incorporating strength training into your training plan. At Strength In Motion (my fitness studio), I run a class 2x per week where we focus on both strength and conditioning primarily with the Ultimate Sandbag.
We spend a lot of time on unilateral training which helps not only to strength muscle imbalances but also to prevent injuries.
If you’re looking to add some workouts like these to your routine then checkout my Run DVRT Strong ebook that includes 11 DVRT Ultimate Sandbag workouts specifically designed for runners.
I have put these workouts to the test with my clients and recently had 6 runners PR their recent half marathons….I promise it just doesn’t look badass, it’s also effective.
Don’t forget to recover.
I mentioned a lot about the work that you need to put in to PR but one of the most important components of training is actually how you recover.
I am all about rest, recovery and rollin’ it out after a run. I am also a firm believer that wearing compression post-run can really reduce muscle soreness. Check out this post for more of my tips on how to recover faster between runs.
Fueling is a HUGE part of training and can really make or break you on race day. I could go into an ENTIRE post on how to fuel, when to fuel and how much but for now, I am just going to leave you with these fueling cliff notes.
Pre-run, make sure you fuel with something that is appropriate for the amount of time that you’ll be training for. So, for example, if you’re going out on a Sunday long run between 60-90 minutes makes sure you eat something like a banana or apples and almond butter to give you enough fuel. This Superseed Pumpkin Almond Butter is a fav of mine.
Mid-run, make sure you practice with different fuels to see how your belly will react and also play around with a fueling schedule instead of just haphazardly taking them or waiting until you feel fatigued.
Recently I played around with a fueling scheduled during my 18.12 Challenge Race where I started taking 2 chews with a sip of Nuun every 2 miles after mile 5 (it was an 18 mile course) and I felt AMAZING the entire time. Not only did I PR but I barely felt like I was pushing the pace compared to the previous year. Starting early and keeping it steady was absolute key for me.
Post-Run, the first thing you want to do is to restore any fluids that were lost and replenish your body with a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. During training this will help to replace the power supply to the muscles so you can recover quicker. Try to do this within a 30 minute timeframe for optimal recovery. For a quick list on some post-run food options, check out my post on what to eat after you run including some recipe ideas.
Obviously, staying hydrated throughout your training, pre-race and race day is also KEY.
It’s easy to get caught up in the energy of the crowd and let adrenaline take over on race day but pacing yourself properly is also key to a PR. Try to keep your speed as steady as possible around your goal pace and aim to run the last half faster than the first half.
Larger races will have pace groups and a pace leader to help keep you and other runners with the same goal time on track. For smaller races, a pacing band is helpful in guiding your pace mile by mile. I’ve used them several times in the past and not only does it keep me running the mile I am in but has also helped me to shave minutes off my time.
Have a support system.
Cheerleaders are part of the PR formula too, having a support system both during training and while you’re on the race course is key.
Just knowing that you have a friend or family member waiting for you at the finish line can give you that push you need to keep going in those last few miles when every minute feels like a mile.
Set your sight on the finish.
Once you see that finish line, it’s time to take whatever you have left in the tank and give it all you got.
Push any ideas out of your head that you can’t, dig deep and remind yourself how far you’ve made it and how little you have left to go. Once you hit the last few hundred meters, sprint it out and as you’re crossing, be sure to smile for the finish line photographer….you just PR’d!
Welcome to back to our Wild Workout Wednesday link up! Each week I link up with Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Fitful Focus and Jen from Pretty Little Grub to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us for a wild workout each week by reading along or grab the button and link up if you have a fitness or healthy living post to share!
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