A half-marathon is a marathon for 13.1 miles or 21 km. A full marathon is 26.2 miles. Half of which is known as a Half Marathon. The time frame to complete the race is 3.5 to 4 hours. One must complete the race in the given time frame. A runner with experience can finish it with 2-3 hours. This is if he/she uses the running/walking technique. Thus, it is important to understand the effective way to half marathon recovery and preparation before the race.
Some benefits to running a half-marathon!
1. Increased Heart Capacity
One cannot attempt to run a half-marathon without committing to fitness. Running a half marathon requires utmost dedication. One will have to keep pushing to increase mileage of the body. This will lead to gradual increase in stamina, mileage and speed. As a result of consistent practice and training, the heart will remain healthy.
2. Weight Loss
Running a half marathon is not possible without proper training. Minimum 8 weeks of training is essential before you attempt a half marathon. This will help burn calories which will then result in weight loss.
3. Committed to Fitness
Running a 5k or 10k with no preparation is possible. On the contrary, for a half marathon, you will struggle without preparation. If you know you have to run a half marathon, it will motivate you to maintain a schedule. You will get up every day and want to train. This will help you commit to a fit schedule.
4. Increased Immunity
Studies prove that running helps strengthen your immune system. A half-marathon is all about running. Consistent exercising will help lower blood pressure and keep cholesterol in check.
5. Benefits Mental Health
A half-marathon helps reduce stress. It is short enough for you to succeed and long enough to make you stronger. It will challenge your capabilities and you can brag about it. Bottom line, it will make you feel better!
6. Increased Confidence
Today, half-marathons have become popular. Having said that, there have not been many that did manage to complete the race. Many are part of the race but very few manage to finish it. If you do, you will be part of not the many but the few!
7. Fewer Injuries
Training for a half marathon is gruesome. When you train for full marathon is double the effort. It leaves you to greater risk of either overtraining or injuries. It is not the same with a half marathon. You can rest for a while if you feel pain. This is because a half marathon does not demand as much training as a full marathon.
8. Increases Social Interaction
There are a few clubs that offer half-marathon training. You meet new people and get a chance to socialize with them. You will be able to interact and expand your circle.
Some guidelines to prepare you, if you’re looking to race!
1. Practice running every day before you race
Don’t enter the race without practice. You won’t be able to complete it. In addition, your body may not be able to take it. This could cause injuries and accidents.
2. Look for the right shoes
It is important to be comfortable in the shoes you wear. A half-marathon is a long run. If your shoes don’t fit right, you stand the risk of not completing the run or hurting yourself.
3. Test your gear
Don’t forget to test your gear in advance. Some things look good but are not as comfortable as you think they’d be. Test your gear so you’ll have an idea of how everything fits. It will help you decide whether you’re comfortable in it.
4. Consume enough carbs and refrain from experimenting new items
Do not try new things. On the day of the run, don’t experiment. Don’t do anything new. Eat enough so your body will have the energy to complete the run.
5. Drink enough water before, during and after your marathon
The most important aspect of running, hydrate! Keep taking sips of water and don’t let your body go without water for more than 20 minutes.
WHY IS RECOVERY IMPORTANT?
Over the course of the race, runners put themselves through hell and back. With consistent training they push themselves to achieve their highest limit. Most runners start thinking of what next. Having said that, it is important to take rest. Part of any training is taking right amounts of rest. This way you will be able to experience the true benefits of all the effort you put in.
All the effort you put in training for weeks could take a toll on your physical and mental health. Taking time out to recover will help your body reset and get back in the game stronger. When you train so hard, the glycogen levels in your body will drop. You can retain this only by resting. Taking time out to recover will heal your muscles and retain glycogen stores. Moreover, it will prepare you for the next attack!
Post Race- Half Marathon Recovery!
Avoid sitting or stopping at least 30 minutes post-race. Keep walking. It will help pump oxygen rich throughout your body. Walk around during afternoons for 10-30 minutes 2-3 times.
2. Epsom Salt Bath
A lot of doctors and professional recommend bathing with Epsom salt. It is said to reduce the soreness you may face the next day.
3. Cool Bath
Go back home and soak your legs in a cool bath. Do this for about 15-20 minutes. It will help reduce inflammation. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours and keep a check on your urine – it should be pale yellow.
4. Hydrate and Massage
Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Massage your muscles with your hand. You can do it yourself or got for a massage. You could use a foam roller as well. It will help heal your muscles by stimulating blood flow.
Have a stretching routine for yourself. Don’t take it for granted. It will make it easier for you to recover from any muscle pain.
6. Add some running to your daily workout schedule
Run every day for 10-30 minutes. Start slow, increase the distance a little every day. Until you’re back where you were before the race.
7. Perform Yoga or Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are good to perform during your recovery period. It will facilitate blood flow and help your muscles recover faster.
8. Get proper sleep
Sleep is the most important aspect to any form of recovery. Your body needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleepy every day. Only then will it be able to bounce back.
SOME FACTS ABOUT HALF MARATHONS!
- Listening to your favorite music during the run can enhance your performance
- You will feel “high” during the run because of endorphins
- You will start to discover muscles
- Don’t eat junk post-race
- It is not for everyone
- Be Flexible – take stretching seriously
- Keep an eye out for volunteers
- It’s okay if you’re tired mid race, you can walk
- Don’t do anything new on race day
- Have a checklist
Some post-race foods you can have for the right energy – Banana, Greek Yogurt, Oatmeal and Cottage Cheese.
TIP – Invest in a running belt, it will help you hold your water bottles so you can hydrate during the run.