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16 Weeks to Your First Marathon: Week 10

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Congratulations on entering into week number TEN of your marathon training!  I don’t know about you, but taking our training out of the single digits and into the big one-oh seems like an incredible accomplishment.  Take a moment to think about where you were two and a half months ago (yes, it has been that long!) Acknowledge about how strong, confident, motivated and healthy you have become.

I can’t think of a better way to mark this milestone than with our first timed race.  This weekend, we will compete in our first half-marathon at race pace.  If there are no races in your area this weekend, get a few running buddies together (or even by yourself) and run 13.1 miles at a strong, personal-record pace.  We are only 6 weeks away from our full marathon and running a race this weekend will give us a taste of what to expect as well as let us know where our strengths and weaknesses are at the moment.  Here are a few tips for making this weekend’s half your best run ever!

Half Marathon

Photo Credit: Boštjan Rudolf via Flickr

1. Eat a good breakfast early. Try to rise around 3 hours before the race start time.  This will give you a chance to fully wake up, eat a good breakfast, hydrate and use the bathroom.  Eat a filling but not heavy breakfast.  Bananas, a fruit smoothie or a PB&J sandwich are all great ways to fuel up for a race.  A cup of coffee, tea, coconut water and lots of water are great pre-run drinks.  If you think you will get hungry during the race, carry a few dates in your pocket for a mid-run fuel up.

2. Don’t try anything new.  It is tempting to wear those new, pretty shoes or try that new running technique you just read about, but keep things the same as your training on race day.  New clothes could result in blisters or bunching (and endless frustration) and new running styles could leave you injured or fatigued.  This also goes for new foods and drinks, which might not agree with your body. Stick to what you know on race day and leave the new things for your training.

3. Wear Layers. This time of year in just about any part of the country, the mornings are chilly, if not downright cold.  Don’t overdress and remember that while you may be cold at the starting line, once you start to run and the sun rises, you will feel much warmer.  As a general rule, dress for 20 degrees warmer than what it actually is outside and wear layers that you can easily take off mid run and secure to your body or throw on the side of the course.

4. Warm up, stretch and start slow.  It’s a good idea to get to the race an hour before start time.  This will give you lots of time to do a short warm up jog and get in a long, slow stretch session.  Get into the gates 15 minutes before the start and once the race begins, start off slower than your body wants to.  Sitting in the gates with thousands of other people is very exciting and can get you adrenaline going, which makes you want to run much faster than you should.  Start off slow and be sure you don’t burn yourself out in the first few miles.

5. Find a pace buddy.  Find a buddy who has the same goal time as you to run the race with.  It will make the race more fun and will also help you to stay on track.  If you don’t have a buddy to run with, find one in the race! You will start in the gates with people who are at a similar pace and once the crowd spreads out during the race, find a person who seems to be at a similar speed and pace alongside them.

6. Have fun! Running is fun and what you are doing is awesome, so don’t forget that!  Take time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the race.  Look around at the nature, buildings and people you see and enjoy being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals. Chat with your fellow runners and encourage them.  Wave hello to people you pass and thank them for coming out to support you.  SMILE!

Double digits, baby! Here is your TENTH week of recommended workouts:

Monday: 10 minute warm up, 45 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 9 mile race-pace run, 1 mile cool down

Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 50 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down

Thursday: 10 minute warm up, 75 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Half-marathon at race-pace

Keep up with your weekly marathon training and find running tips every Monday on Peaceful Dumpling!

Week 9: Is it okay to slow down during a race?

Week 8: Running with your dog

Week 7: Proper Hydration for Runners

Claire-Marie Harris
Claire-Marie Harris is a writer, blogger and vegan cook who recently returned to her home state of Texas after living in Asia for many years. A passionate traveler, animal activist and food lover, she is the founder of Kimchi Tacos and is currently writing her first cookbook. She lives in Dallas with her husband and three furry kids where she continues her work in animal welfare. Find her on her blog, Flickr or Instagram.
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