Perhaps you were inspired by the NYC Marathon and sure would like to cross the finish line next year in New York City.
Before you consider a full marathon it is a good idea to do a half to build up the necessary endurance and have your body gradually acclimate to the longer runs. For some the half is a perfect distance. It is long enough to get that “runners high” but not too long to essentially take everything out of you..
Training and running a full marathon also takes a toll on many runners and not training properly can lead to injuries which can really set back your running.
If you would like to complete a half marathon in 2014 now is the time to think about your training. There are many local half marathons in the area including the E. Murray Todd Half in March, the Asbury Park Half Marathon in April and many others locally and for those interested in doing a half outside the area there are many to choose from.
It is important to start early to gradually build up your mileage. For most who plan to do their first half it is the endurance which is most critical. It is important to build up mileage gradually so as to minimize the risk of injury. Your body needs time to adapt and doing too much too fast can set you back.
In some ways training for a spring half is easier than for a fall half. In the fall your training needs to start in the summer when the high temperatures and humidity can adversely impact on your ability to get in those long runs. Running in 90 degree heat is much harder than training in the cold of winter for most people.
You should have a base of running about 15 miles a week with a long run of about 5 miles. With that as a start a 12 to 16 week training program would get you to the race in fine shape. It is also important not to over train. You should increase your weekly mileage gradually as well as your long runs during your base building. Your longest run can top out at about 12 miles 2 to 3 weeks prior to the race.
In the few weeks before the race the focus should then turn to increasing your speed with more emphasis on speed work. In the final week you need to taper and cut back your mileage so your body, joints, muscles and mind are well rested.
To stay motivated getting in with a group which has similar goals really helps. There is a popular half marathon training group starting on January 4, 2014 that will meet every Saturday for group runs. The 15 week program also provides a training plan based on your ability that is a helpful guide to help achieve your goals.
More upcoming events can be found on The Race Calendar.
Looking ahead to the spring there is RunAPalooza to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey on April 26, 2014. Registration for the Asbury Park Half is now open and a determination on the Jersey Shore Relay Marathon from Seaside Heights to Asbury Park should be forthcoming soon.
There will also be a group that will start training for the half marathon in January. Get information and register for the group.