A lot of people have been asking me, what it takes to run a half marathon. The training plans, the diet, etc etc.
Let me start by saying it is no rocket science and doesn’t require any extraordinary commitment. It is easy, and just requires a certain level of dedication and discipline. It does not require any kind of strict or stressful training or diet. But yes, a certain level of control would go a long way in improving your overall experience and further commitment to the process.
There are usually two types of first time runners.
1. The people who practice, realize their potential, enjoy their runs and have an idea regarding what to do, what changes to make for their next one. Most of all, a good experience and an injury free run ensures you want to do it again.
2. The people who don’t practice, have an unhealthy lifestyle, are hit with cramps or other injuries and swear running isn’t for them.
As far as training goes, it is ideal to have a mileage of about 15-20 kms of running a week. Mileage here basically means the number of kilometers you run in a week. Include a couple of sessions to strengthen your core and other muscles and trying to have an active lifestyle. Add to this some stretching post workouts and you will likely avoid any serious injury to yourself.
One important thing to keep in mind is to not focus only on running. Excess running without strength training and stretching will increase your chances of sustaining an injury in the long run. Strength training will primarily help you to improve on your athletic abilities, and make your muscles less susceptible to injuries. Stretching and mobility workouts will help you improve flexibility and make sure your muscle groups are more involved into the workout. The more flexible you are, the lesser the stiffness, which leads to better muscle growth and movement. It is a very common misconception that one has to sacrifice flexibility for strength, which is never the case.
Another very important and the most basic principles in any kind of physical activity is to hydrate well. Drinking adequate water goes a long way in improving your abilities. Drinking a ton of water before the day of the run, a little water before the run and lots after! Too much water before the run and you will run with a heavy stomach or have to use the washroom, both of which are annoying and irritating in between your run.
Feel free to ask questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Another post on running drills, different types of running techniques, strength training plans, coming up soon!