Just because there are no organized races doesn’t mean that runners need to stop chasing their goals. This includes running your first half marathon.
The spring is the most popular time for half marathons, so it is a disappointment that many could not participate. But it’s around this time where many races would be held, so don’t let all that training go to waste.
The fall is only a few months away, and although the fate of fall races is undetermined training now can prepare you for your first organized half marathon by continuing half marathon training and running the distance virtually.
Now’s the time to lace up and buckle down on training to be able to run that 13.1—even during the pandemic.
Running Tip #1: Relax, But Don’t Get Lazy
After speaking to lots of experts in my ebook Running From COVID-19, the consensus among running coaches is to not overstress the system right now. That doesn’t mean not running at all. Instead, run most of your miles at an easy, conversation pace. Then throw in some speed work in occasionally.
The goal is to not get injured or sick. So keep the immune system in good health by exercise and eating healthy and getting enough sleep. It’s okay to relax when it comes to running pace, but don’t get too comfortable and start skipping all your runs. You need to be properly trained to run your first half marathon so stick to your training plan.
Running Tip #2: Schedule In Runs
The best way to do this is by making your runs a priority.
During this pandemic, you might have more on your plate like homeschooling and working from home. Write down and schedule when you plan on going for a run. Use this as “me” time, and find what works best.
For some, without a work commute, it could mean running in the morning when you normally couldn’t.
Have your training plan visible like on a dry erase board on the fridge to see your planned days and times for your runs. Then stick to it.
Running Tip #3: Save Long Runs For Weekends
The most important part of half marathon training is building the long run. This should be a gradual increase of 1 percent each week. Make sure to also cut back and taper, especially the week before the planned half marathon to give the body time to rest and recovery in preparation for the big day.
With so much life at home right now, plan for the long run on the weekends when there is less responsibility and more time to dedicate to that long run. While it’s okay to be more relaxed toward weekday workouts, don’t skip on that long run. Then use Sunday as an overall day of rest.
Running Tip #4: Practice Nutrition
It’s easy to want to eat all the quarantine snacks while day drinking. But part of staying healthy during this pandemic is by fueling your body right. This means fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and whole foods. That doesn’t mean don’t treat yourself. But know when to practice a little discipline.
This is especially the case the night before a run. This isn’t the time to drink wine or eat greasy fast food. Save the alcohol for celebrating after a long run or “race day.”
Instead, make sure to hydrate and increase carbohydrate intake two weeks leading up to the half marathon.
Training runs are also the time to practice “race day” nutrition like GU and sports chews. You will need these products for runs longer than 45-minutes to replenish glucose stores so you have the energy to be able to run the distance without “hitting the wall.”
Running Tip #5: Plan Your Course
It’s a good idea to switch up runs to included pavement and trails, hills, and flat roads. This makes you a well-rounded runner and prepared for any course on race day. But since you are running virtually, you get to set the course.
If you want your best time, aim for a flat. If you want to stay close to home that’s fine too. If you prefer the treadmill, go for it. Just practice running portions of your course beforehand to build your confidence.
Also make sure to have a smartwatch, reliable GPS-enabled phone app, or measure the distance beforehand to know exactly where the start and finish are so that you are running 13.1 miles.
Running Tip #6: Create Your Race
After training for weeks and planning your course you are now ready to “race.”
There are a few tips for running a virtual half marathon. First, is there isn’t that race atmosphere which motivates runners more. Expect your pace to be a little slower, but don’t run this half marathon for time. If it’s your first it already is your personal best.
When you start to get tired, remember why you started this goal in the first place. Then use your self-motivation strategies like switching up the playlist, drinking some water, fueling, or taking a minute to walk and reset then get back at it.
Have your family and friends waiting for you at the finish to celebrate at a social distance. Do something to celebrate your personal win like pampering yourself to a bubble bath or your favorite meal afterward.
It takes a strong person to run a half marathon, and an even stronger one to do their first virtually. It takes lots of disciple and motivation, so enjoy every step on your “race day.”
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your medical provider with questions or concerns before implementing any recommendations or suggestions from this website. Make sure to first have medical clearance by your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.