I am no runner but for some bizarre reason I have decided to do a half marathon in October, which means some serious training is needed to get me there. So with that I thought I would share with you my little starter pack on getting on with Half marathon training.
You are going to be pounding the floor miles a week so you are going to need to protect those feet of yours. I would advise working out what your feet type and how you run, one way is to go and get your gait analysis done. This is where they will have a look a how you walk and run to decide what style shoe best suits you, most running shops should do this for you. By making sure you have the correct footwear it will help prevent injury, create an easier run and ultimately get you running in comfort - that being said I would definitely invest in a good pair it will be worth it.
You might not need an official one but it would be wise to have some kind of plan. Unless you are a seasoned long runner it is not wise for your body to go from running 5k to 13.1 miles (21k) so with that in mind get a plan drawn up. This wants to include gradual increase in distance, easy short runs as a recovery and fun run, tempo and interval training to help work on your pace and improving that overall. There needs to be rest and recovery and I would also suggest some kind of weight based training to work on keeping the muscles strong and body balanced. If you are prone to injury make sure you have exercises ad rehab work that will ensure they are kept to a minimal. Runners world, Asics , Nike running and Mens Health are all good places to have a look for training plans that are free.
Also I would suggest getting some sort of tracker so you are aware of how long and times, whether this comes with an activity tracker such as Fitbit, Garmin, Apple watch or an app on your phone such as Strava, Map my Run, Nike Running App. They might not be 100% accurate but they will give you a base to work from rather than just freestyle.
Now that you are adding in more activity to your routine you are going to need to make sure you fuel yourself properly. The best way is to make sure you get carbs in pre and post running and if you are going on longer runs you may need some intra workout. Intra workout carbs tend to come in the form of energy gels that are easy to have and have fast acting carbs in to give you that boost. Pre workout carbs will all depend on when you have them but I would suggest an hour before you go out, slow releasing such as oats and then post workout just have a well balanced meal within 1 hr-2 of finishing. I don't know about you but when I finish a run I tend to be ravenous.
There is no need to go overboard on it all, be sensible and make sure to fuel your body enough for the energy it needs and the extra calories you will be burning.
All the extra running is going to cause those muscles to ache and if you are not used to it give you DOMs in places you didn't know you had. Therefore setting aside time to actively recover is vital whether that is getting a foam roller and needing those muscles yourself or booking in for regular sports massages. By doing this you are allowing your muscles to be eased out and relaxed to their natural state so you are less likely to have an injury and getting the blood flow back to normal. It also will make you feel so much better - probably not whilst it is happening but afterwards it feels like heaven. I promise.
Get yourself some decent headphones and work out the best form of motivation for you to run to. It might be the best playlist you can create, it might be an audiobook, or a podcast. Just have something to keep you focused and motivated as you run. I personally can't run without listening to something unless I am with a friend but I also hate wire headphones so next on my list is buying some wireless ones. For me it's just easier and less things to get in the way.
This by no means an extensive list and there is alot more that goes into it but I thought I would just give you an insight into my top 5 that will hopefully help me and you to get our training off to a good start. I suppose all that is left to do now is to go for a run :)