Category Archives: Fitness

Half Marathon for the Beginner: 7 Days until the race

I’ve written about training, nutrition, hydration and the gear you need. We’ve been training for a few months now and we have one week to go. What now?

This is the weekend before the big race. We want to hit our distance and pace targets next weekend. So, we have to start allowing our bodies to recover and be at full strength and health on race day.

There is always the thought for the novice runner that you have one more week to train and gain. But at this point, if you push a long run this weekend, you’ll take recovery time away from your body and it won’t be able to perform at the highest level next weekend. So any gain you might get from an extra long run this weekend won’t be realized in the result.

Here’s the plan I’ll be using for the second year.

This weekend, a week before the race, my long run will only be 8.5 miles max. I’ll have to force myself to stop. We will all be tempted to go ahead and run to 9 miles or round off to 10 miles. Don’t do it. Leave something in the tank as hard as it may be.

If you are like me you probably did 10 miles last week and probably 11 miles the week before that at the pace we wanted. We can do it. You don’t have to prove to anyone that you can do it again the week before the race.

The week of the race, our mid-week routine is going to switch up too. Instead of 3 to 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and cross training cardio 40 minutes on Friday, we are only going to run 2 to 3 miles on Monday and then run 2 miles max on Wednesday.

Do your cross training cardio on Tuesday for 30 minutes max on the bike (something sitting). It is also fine to skip leg day for this week (but just this week), and don’t work on your core in the weight room after Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will simply be passive recovery days.

Remember, hydration starts at least 2 days before the race and the big carb meal is also 2 days before the race, with a smaller carb meal the night before.

You’ve probably heard that one guy say he just goes out and runs and doesn’t think about all this. Well, that’s his thing. Maybe I’m not a natural runner, I have to train for it and prepare for it. I’ve made mistakes before my long training runs that I don’t want to repeat. I made mistakes before my last half marathon (drinking too much within an hour before the race) that I don’t want to repeat. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and be ready to run.

Training for the Bentonville Half Marathon

It’s cold today, 38 degrees fahrenheit. But not as cold as the 26 degree start temperature and ice for the actual race last year when I ran my first half at 1:56.

Cold weather training onechristianman.com
Cold weather training, layers are important onechristianman.com

This year’s goal is 1:45. This is an 8 min/mile pace or better for 13.1 miles. So with less than a month left to train, I have to be out running the course on the weekends. I need to learn when to push the pace and be ready for the 4.8% quarter mile hill that is include in mile 13 of the half marathon.

So I suited up for cold weather training as I have previously blogged about including my thermal gloves. Lip balm and Aquaphor on the cheeks is important.

My training route isn’t exactly like the race route. I’m actually trying to trick my body into doing more hill work now than I will on race day. How? Well the Bentonville Half Marathon route includes that 4.8% grade hill on mile 13ish. My training is putting that hill in route with me still having 2 miles remaining on my run. This forces my tired self to try and push pace after the hill for 2 more miles. But on race day I’ll actually do those 2 miles on fairly flat ground before hitting the hill.

I’ve found that after the hill, it takes me about .6 of a mile to get back my breath and get back to a pace near 8:00/mile. But on race day, I’ll be pushing that two miles before the hill and I can put what’s left in the tank on conquering that last mile with the hill.

Bentonville Half Training onechristianman.com
Bentonville Half Training onechristianman.com

During the week I’m trying to hit hill repeats on the treadmill with the elevation setting due to the low temps outside lately. But I can’t stand the treadmill. Those session tend to be 5k (3.1 miles) on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ll do that for two more weeks before starting to cut back and prepare my body for race week preps.

Today’s results seem to point to the training plan working as needed.

The weekend before the race I’ll try to hit a fast pace 10 mile run. So I’ll probably do the 5K on Tuesday and just 1 mile on Thursday with cross training on Wednesday on the bike.

The Tuesday before the race would be a 1 mile shake out run. Then short bike on Wednesday, and another 1 mile shake out on Thursday. I’ll also skip leg day on weights on Tuesday of race week. I’ll also skip core exercises on Thursday and Friday.

This will help make sure that the muscles in my legs and core have sufficient energy stored up and ready to use for race day.

Basketball Mornings and #CrackerBarrel

Early games mean brunch at Cracker Barrel.

We started off with a big win.

And headed out for brunch.

The fire place is my favorite. I really love sitting in front of a fireplace. Add checkers and special things happen.

She played me to a draw. It was one long 10 minute game. She is getting good at this.

Parents only weekend!

The kids are at D-NOW getting some Biblical training which means a kid-free weekend for Jamie and I.

Friday night dinner, check. Coffee shop Saturday morning, check. Lunch with the builder to discuss a remodel/addition, check.

Yes my eyes are closed

Now I’m sitting here letting lunch settle before the second half of my Saturday.

My other list items include some much needed relaxation time and marathon training, before date night part-two tonight.

I know those two things don’t seem to mix. But I have a goal. I want to complete the Bentonville Half Marathon in 1’45” or less. 😅

To date I’ve only been able to do 10 miles at the 8 minute/mile average. So I have four weeks to get my mind and body right.

Any advice is appreciated. How did you push over that last 3 mile hump?

Tips for Beginning Runners | OneChristianMan

When you first start running there are a few things that you will learn fairly quickly. Like, if your hamstring and calf muscles hurt after only a short distance you probably need to actually warm up and do a stretch before you start.

But there are some things that only experience can teach you. I hope this list will help each of you as you start running. Learn from my experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

Pace yourself

One of the biggest issues I had when I first started running was that I would start out too fast and tired myself out. My muscles and my lungs were not prepared for the fast pace. After I purchased a smart watch that allowed me to track my pace I was able to focus on running a longer duration.

The key starting out is to set a slow pace and just focus on how long you can run. Then build on that over a few weeks.

Once you start hitting a mile without walking, start adding about 10% distance per week. Focus on duration over distance and speed when starting out. A good couch to 5k plan will help.

Then after you reach the ability to Run 3 miles at a slow pace, then start running a little faster pace. If you were running a 12 minute mile speed to Pace up to about an 11.5 minute mile.

Once you can run a 5k at an average pace of under 10 minutes per mile. Then you can start thinking about your goals of increasing your distance or your speed. You will train differently based on your goal.

Be consistent

Pick certain days of the week when you’re going to do your runs then plan your diet based on the days you’re going to run.

Your body will get into a routine of replenishing and rebuilding your muscles if you stay consistent.

I try to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Tuesday and Thursday are for my short runs where I work on speed. And then Sunday is my long run. I eat my big carb meal on Friday night (which is also date night).

Dress Appropriately

  • A headband is required if you are running over 2 miles and in temperatures over 60 degrees. Sweat will burn your eyes if you don’t.
  • Make sure you are wearing athletic socks, otherwise you will get blisters. I still get them occasionally. Don’t be cheap on the socks. Seriously.
  • Never wear long pants when the temperature is over 50 degrees fahrenheit if you plan to run more than 2 miles.
  • Never wear long sleeves over 60 degrees.
  • If you are running in temperatures under 50, wear long pants but thin. And wear two thin layers on top, not one thick layer. One layer should have long sleeves.
  • If you are running in temperatures under 45 degrees wear gloves and a heatgear type pants. And wear a head band and something around your neck for warmth and to protect your skin.
  • If you are running in temperatures under 40 degrees, you’ll want to add a third thin layer long sleeve shirt. And add some shorts or leggings to your pants. Put on chap stick and rub Aquaphor or similar product on your cheeks.
  • I ran my first half-marathon at 27 degrees fahrenheit and I dressed appropriately. But I saw others stripping off heavy sweatshirts. And some holding their non-gloved hands under their arms. At this temperature, wear a second headband over your nose and ears.

Get the Proper Footwear

Running is not the same as walking around the office. Once you start running, you are putting considerably more weight on your feet because of your momentum on foot plant and probably more steps than you usually walk in a day.

If you are going to be serious about running, go to a shoes store that can check your gate and arch for the proper supporting footwear. Preferably a shoe store that has a treadmill and camera set up to do slow motion analysis on your feet as you run. This is usually a free service at top notch running stores.

If you get the correct shoe it can eliminate the foot and shin pain that some people mistake as shin-splints. I can attest to this as can my wife. Don’t be cheap on shoes.

Hydration

Being hydrated does not happen only on run day. Proper hydration is an every day focus. However hydration for your long run should start two days prior with electrolytes and up to about two hours before your run.

Don’t drink large amounts of liquid within a couple hours before your long runs. If you do, you will have to urinate and that will break your pace and possibly destroy your chance at a Personal Record (PR) time. Believe me. Sips of water are fine, but no gulps.

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