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Time to start thinking about fall half marathons

Get ready for fall half marathons
Get ready for fall half marathons

This fall will bring many local half marathons; some are long standing events and some brand new ones to the race calendar. The fall has ideal running conditions for doing those long runs. The half marathon is a distance which is doable by many runners and does not put nearly as much of a strain on your body as a full 26.2 mile marathon.

2013 Seaside Half Marathon training group

If you have never done a half and are contemplating doing one this fall now is the time to start planning your training. It may seem a long way off but to get ready properly with less risk of injury takes time.

It takes the body some time to adapt to the stresses of running long distances. If you are comfortable with running 5 miles then you should gradually build up your distance but very slowly – add a mile to your weekly long run every week. With the hot summer months it may be a challenge to get in a comfortable long run as well.

Make sure you are hydrated and drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your runs. For longer runs you should take a sports drink like Gatorade and dilute it to about 50% so it does not upset your stomach every 5 miles or so.. You will need that to replace lost electrolytes in your body. Slow your pace down in the hot weather and try and run either early in the morning when the sun is not as strong or in the evening when the sun is lower on the horizon.

By the beginning of September you should be running distances of 8 to 10 miles for your weekly long run. It should also be easier to fit in the long runs with the cooler temperatures. Do a few 10 milers and a 12 miler a few weeks before your event and you should be all set.

The final few weeks you should work on your speed – do some track interval training or picks ups if you want to put in a great time..

Make sure you taper at least a week to 10 days before the race. Cut back on your mileage and make sure your body is fully recovered prior to the big day.

A good race to get ready for particularly as a first half marathon in October is the Ocean Running Club’s Seaside Half Marathon on Sunday, October 19, 2014. It’s a fast and flat course which takes runners into Island Beach State Park. Sign up early to get the best rates and before the event closes.

There is a group forming to train to get ready for the Seaside Half and other half marathons around that time. The first meeting will be on Saturday, July 19, 2014 along an ocean front route between Spring Lake and Asbury Park. Get more information and register here.

And stay up to date on upcoming events on The Race Calendar.

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