Half Marathon tips
With the Christchurch Marathon fast approaching I thought I would write a piece for people doing the Half Marathon. In giving advice I’m going to make the following assumptions: You have actually stuck to a programme where your body is physically prepared for this challenge, you will have tapered for the race and you have some understanding of what kind of time you will do.
The first piece of advice I want to give is know your pace. When you are physically prepared and have tapered for a race you should be feeling great on race morning. Many people start the race and go faster than they normally would because they feel so good. This mistake that can cost you time plus also make the last part of the race a negative experience. To avoid this happening, set your goal time based on your training times and then use a marathon calculator (search google) to help you figure out your kilometer splits. This way you will know how many minutes you should take to complete each kilometer (the race has markers out for every km in the race so it is easy to gauge). You want to be sitting on an exertion level of about 7.5/10 in the first 10-15km of the race. This is where you are a little bit uncomfortable but you know you can hold this pace for a long time. Then around the last 5km you can aim to pick up the intensity for a strong finish.
My next piece of advice would be: control what you can when the going gets tough. Around the last 5km of the race you may start to physically and mentally battle. This is when we can often lose focus which can cost us a lot of time. The first thing you want to do is identify when you are starting to struggle. Once you have done this you then need to ask yourself ‘what is the best thing I can do right now to achieve my best result?’. This question is designed to get you to do a mental checklist over all the things you can still control. For example focusing on good technique, setting small targets, getting some fluid in and so on. By controlling what you can there’s a better chance of achieving result you will be happy with.
A Half Marathon is a wicked race, go out and enjoy it!