Believe me, I’m no elite and not the guru of all things racing. BUT… I have PRed a lot over the years and more recently, my hubby has started KILLING it at road races! So we pulled some thoughts together – nothing you probably haven’t read before – and wanted to share a few tips that have worked for us.
1) Make time for speed training.
From my first to my second half marathon, the only thing I changed was adding in speed work ~ and a pinch of confidence knowing I could go the whole distance ~ which resulted in a 10+ minute PR! I broke the two hour barrier on that second attempt and have made that my goal for most half marathons since. Speed training will benefit you and your body in SO many ways including shredding body fat, building your endurance and more. Read one of our older posts on speed training HERE.
We do a lot of speed work at Shred 415 Sawmill, but also hit up the track on occasion, do outdoor tempo runs and when we’re feeling really ambitious, meet for hill repeats out on the Dublin trails!
2) Find the right training plan.
Many of us are training for the fall Columbus half marathon. We posted some of our favorite half marathon training plans back in January 2018, some of which we still love. Our Living Fit runners all like Hal Higdon’s plans and we typically use them as a template, then modify based on where we are in “life.” The one we are using this fall is a mix of his intermediate and advanced plans with 4+ days of running per week including hills & speed sessions.
We also like the Shred 415 Half Marathon Training Program. It’s perfect for the minimalist runner that only wants 3-4 runs per week and a lot of cross & strength training! We have been LOVING Shred 415 Sawmill this past year ~ see why HERE ~ and were excited to find a plan geared towards us distance junkies.
Other plans – the Hanson method for instance – will have you running a LOT more mileage. Find what works for you, your body, your schedule… and remember to always be flexible when life comes your way!
3) Summon your inner rock star & engage your mental toughness.
You hear this a lot in the running world… “Running is 90% mental.” Agree! You have to be willing to push your body, even when your mind is telling you “this is hard, quit, walk” etc.
My husband is much better at ‘pushing through’ during a run than I am. When it gets hard for me, I want to slow down… or even walk (and pending the run, sometimes I do!) When it gets hard for him, he turns his music up a bit louder and somehow just pushes forward, often faster. He says he visualizes the finish line and also tries REALLY hard to not let anyone pass him.
“You have to be able to push through pain and adversity in many aspects of life… it’s no different when you’re running. You can’t give up.” -thoughts by Joey Gellenbeck 🙂
Regardless of all of the tips above, some times your performance just comes down to race day. In spite of all the training, there are so many variables, some races just may not go your way.
But sometimes, all the stars align. The weather is perfect. The course is ideal. You settle into your pace – perhaps a bit uncomfortably – but your training pays off. Some may call it “race day magic.” Others just call it kicking a*s. Either way, you cross the finish line, look at the clock, and smile.