Training for the Naperville Half Marathon
Planning to run in the Healthy Driven Naperville Half Marathon? Now that you have decided on the half-marathon distance, how do you train for it? There are many online training programs available, but here are a few considerations for choosing a plan and training for the half marathon:
Starting point. Make sure the first week of the training plan is consistent with your current mileage base. Most programs assume a “beginner” runs 8-10 miles per week. Don’t choose an intermediate program if you are really a beginner. On the other hand, if you have raced the half-marathon distance before, choose a more advanced program that will give you the challenge of speed work and hill training so you can race more aggressively and better your previous time.
Calendar time. Look at your calendar and make sure you have enough time to complete the required training before your goal race. You definitely don’t want to try to shorten the program to fit it in with your race. If you don’t have enough time, choose a different goal race. So, if you aren’t currently running 8-10 miles per week, consider running the Healthy Driven Naperville 5K instead.
Weekly running program. Choose a program that includes one longer run per week and at least two shorter runs per week. If you are running a beginner program, the two shorter runs will be at conversational (easy) pace. If you are running an intermediate or advanced program, expect to do some speed work and/or hill repeats as part of your shorter runs. The long run should ramp up to a maximum of around 12 miles or two hours of running. Your last long run should be approximately two weeks before your race. After you complete that last long run, your program should include a taper, a reduction in weekly mileage while maintaining the speed/intensity of the runs.
Race conditions. Train on surfaces and terrain that are similar to your goal race. Find out if your race is hilly or flat, asphalt or crushed gravel, hot or cold temperatures, morning or evening, and train under conditions as similar as possible to your goal race. If you can’t do all of your training under race conditions, at least do your long runs that way. For the Healthy Driven Naperville Half Marathon, choose training routes that are slightly hilly and on asphalt. Be prepared for cooler conditions since the race is in October.
Fueling and hydration. For the half marathon, you will definitely need a hydration strategy that works for you. Determine how frequently you will consume fluids and how much fluid you will consume. It is usually best to drink at the frequency at which water stops will be available on your goal race course. This information should be available on the race website. During the Healthy Driven Naperville Half Marathon, there are six aid stations at approximately miles 2.5, 4.5, 6.5, 8, 9.5 and 12 that will offer water and Gatorade Endurance. You may find you perform better by ingesting some carbohydrates during your long runs. Experiment with Gatorade Endurance and/or other sports drinks, gels, blocks, etc. to see what works. Practice and refine your hydration and fueling strategies during your long runs. Keep in mind that if you don’t use the carbohydrate source the race provides, you will need to carry it or arrange for someone to give it to you on the course.
Whether your end goal is to complete a half marathon or use it as a stepping stone to the marathon, enjoy the race and be proud of the great accomplishment of training for and completing a half marathon.