Preparing for half marathon: Tips from a pro

Running a half-marathon requires training and preparation. At 21,097 kilometers, the half-marathon is a demanding race that can be conquered with the right program to get you there. Here are tips from a Sportium expert to help you get in true running form.

Before you start, first ask yourself if you have already walked that distance. If you have never walked 20 kilometers, your joints are probably not ready to withstand the pressure. In fact, when hitting the pavement, the impact on your joints amount to two to six times your body weight with each step. To avoid injuries, take gradual steps needed to prepare your muscles and, especially, your joints.

Our seasoned runner has developed a 14-week program that will have you increase your distances and speeds each week, along with your fitness level, so that you can finish the race with pride!

Determine your Maximum Aerobic Speed
Before you begin your training, there are a few things you should calculate that will be useful during the program. First, determine your Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS). It will help you follow the speeds recommended in the plan.

Depending on your fitness level, your MAS is the speed you can hold for a period of six minutes. To calculate it, we recommend using the half-Cooper test since it is easy to do alone.

The test is simple. All you need is a device that calculates distances (such as an app on your smartphone) or try a track at a nearby high school. The goal is to run the longest possible distance for 6 minutes. Once you have determined this distance, divide it by 100 to know your MAS. So, for example, if you manage to cover 1,500 m in six minutes, your MAS will be 15 km/hr (1,500 m ÷ 100).

Find your Pace
Once you have calculated your MAS, you must calculate the different running paces required for the 14-week training program. Run according to your abilities and determine the different paces you will adopt during interval training.

For V1 (active rest), you must calculate between 70 and 75% of your MAS. If, for example, your MVA is 15 km/hr, calculate the following: 15 X 0.7 = 10.5 km/hr and 15 X 0.75 = 11.2 km/hr. You will have to run between 10.5 and 11.2 km/hr, depending on your fitness level.

For V2 (medium intensity), do the calculation of between 80 and 85% of your MAS

For V3 (fast speed), calculate 90% of your MAS.

You are now ready to follow the 14-week program that our expert has developed for you.

Start the Program
For each of your runs, you must follow the pace you calculated. For example, during your first 50-minute run, if your MAS is 15 km/hr, you must first run between 10.5 km/hr to 11.2 km/hr (V1) for the first 15 minutes, then increase the pace and run for 5 minutes at 13.5 to 14.25 km/hr (V3) followed by another 5 minutes at V1, and another five minutes at V3. To finish, you will run for 20 minutes at V1.

Remember that you must always run at V1 while trying to increase your speed during the middle of your race, when you are running at V2. Your “active rest” interval (run at V1) should last as long as your fast speed interval (V3).

Training program for a Sportium half-marathon

And Finally . . . Always Start With a Warm Up
Warming up the right way before each run and each training session is a must — it increases your body temperature, which reduces the chance for muscle and tendon injuries.

We suggest eight easy exercises to do gradually before running. Begin by doing exercises 1 through 5 consecutively without breaks for one minute each. Then do 15 repetitions of each exercises 6, 7 and 8. Finally, repeat exercises 1 to 5 as a circuit by increasing the intensity.