Mastering the Half Marathon: A Gutsy Girls Training Guide
I know I know, the title sounds daunting, but fear not for this blog post is for non runners and runners of all types! If you’ve ever had the incling to do something a little outside of your comfort zone or challenge yourself, training for a half marathon is a great and doable goal!
My name is Kirstie Mangakahia, I am the Public Relations Manager at Adventure Reels and I am stoked to be sharing some tips and tricks on how to train for a Half Marathon! Even if you’re not keen to run that far just yet, I can assure you this blog post will inspire, motivate and get you on track for tapping into that runners high! Yes it’s a real thing 😉
1. First things First- What’s your goal?
Alright, let’s not get too serious here. Setting clear goals is important, but let’s make them fun and achievable. Maybe you want to finish the race, beat your personal record, or simply soak up the awesome experience. Whatever it is, set goals that make you excited and give you a sense of accomplishment. For example, my marathon training started as a way to get Euro Summer ready but now I can’t imagine not running halves or even full marathons for the rest of my life!
2. Craft Your Easy-Breezy Plan
Time to create a training plan that won’t stress you out. Start with a comfortable timeline, like 12 weeks, to gradually increase your distance and intensity. Mix it up with runs, rest days, cross-training, and strength exercises. Remember, balance is the key to keeping things relaxed and enjoyable, but also – know when to tap into beast mode 😉
My weekly training plan goes like this- (bare in mind that I have a running background, and the breakdown of this schedule is explained below)
Monday- 10km Tempo run
Wednesday – 6km Sprints (1km warm up jog, followed by 1km sprint and 1 min resting jog x by 4 sets, ending with a 1km warm down jog)
Friday- 18km Long (slow) Run – my fave!
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday – Weight training/ Reformer Pilates
3. Lay the Foundation
Now, let’s build that foundation, one easy-paced run at a time. Begin with shorter distances and work your way up each week. No need to rush, my friend. This base mileage will help boost your endurance and get you ready for the exciting challenges ahead.
Remember, all runners start here even if you’re experienced or you’re getting back into race shape, begin with the foundation.
4. Embrace the Long Haul
Long runs are a crucial component of half marathon training. Set aside one day a week to enjoy these longer runs, gradually increasing the distance. It’s a great chance to embrace the mental and physical endurance they build, and savour the feeling of going the distance. This will allow you to become comfortable with running for extended periods.
You may feel like you want to run these faster, (I do) but you need to make yourself run slowly- trust me- it helps you more than you think.
5. Spice It Up with Tempo Runs
Alright, time to add a little spice! Tempo runs are all about finding your groove and getting faster. Once a week, pick a comfortably hard pace and stick with it for a while. This will level up your performance and make you feel like a badass Gutsy Girl on the road.
6. Interval Training
Interval training is all about alternating between high-intensity bursts and recovery periods. Try sprinting for short distances (like 500 metres) and then catch your breath with a slower jog (for a minute or so). Rinse and repeat. These are hard but you’ll notice a huge difference when you’re running your other runs.
Variety is essential, and it applies to your training too! Add some flavour by incorporating cross-training activities like biking, swimming, or hitting the weights. It keeps things interesting, prevents injuries, and helps you smash that overall fitness.
8. Rest Easy GF
No stress, okay? Rest days are just as important as training days. Your body needs time to recharge and recover. Take a chill pill, listen to your body and hit the sauna! Modify your plan if needed, and remember that a relaxed mind and body lead to better performance.
9. Nourish and Hydrate
Let’s talk about fuel. Fill up on good vibes and nutritious foods. Think complex carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a rainbow of fruits and veggies. And don’t forget to hydrate like a boss. Keep that water bottle handy and sip away throughout the day.
10. Get Adequate Sleep
Quality sleep is essential for recovery, performance, and feeling awesome overall. Aim for a solid seven to nine hours of uninterrupted Zzzs each night to optimize your training efforts.
11. Last but not least, Test Your Gear
In the weeks leading up to the race, make sure to test your running gear, including shoes, clothing, and accessories. Avoid trying anything new on race day to prevent discomfort or surprises.
At the end of the day it’s all about getting outside, getting fit and feeling amazing! Since I committed to running a half at the start of the year, I have been filled with a motivation and joy that has spilled over into every aspect of my life. It is so empowering to push your body and mind to the next level and see yourself change and grow to accomplish extraordinary things.
A simple Google search will tell you what events are on in your area. The minute you take the plunge to sign up to something, the excitement and motivation to train will come flooding in.
Tag us in your training snaps and adventures on insta! @gutsygirlsadventurefilmtour
Race Day Update
I am thrilled to share the exciting results of my half marathon journey! Crossing that finish line, I completed the race in an astonishing 1 hour and 41 minutes, shattering my initial goal of finishing in under 2 hours. My training adventure was not without its challenges; I faced a minor Achilles tendinitis injury along the way. Fortunately, with the help of a skilled physiotherapist and Myotherapist, I overcame it swiftly.
Thanks to my meticulously crafted training regimen, I reached the pinnacle of my physical fitness, achieving a level of vitality I had never experienced before. During the race itself, I found myself comfortably pushing my limits, savouring every moment of the exhilarating race day atmosphere. It was an absolute blast, reigniting my love for long distance running and inspiring me to mark my calendar with upcoming half marathons and even set my sights on completing a full marathon next May.
Consider this your motivation to lace up those running shoes, hit the pavement, and unlock your full potential. Embrace the journey, in my opinion it’s the path to becoming your very best self!
Image: At the completion of the ‘Run Melbourne’ Half Marathon (2023) with my biggest support, my husband Jake.