I bet you know what I’m talking about: The self-proclaimed “coaches” always giving you (presumably valuable) tips on how to train and compete. With all the outrageous tips circulating around the Internet, you can be sure they’ll never lead to a new personal best.
As a kind of short “do this, not that” guide, we have put together a list of the five dumbest half-marathon training tips we’ve ever heard…really!
5 Half Marathon Training Tips: Avoid these mistakes
WRONG:“Run the first kilometer as fast as possible. This gives you a head start and a better finish time. The time you shave off at the beginning of the race you could never make up at the end of the race anyway.”
RIGHT: Divide your desired time goal by the number of kilometers. Then try to run each kilometer of the race at this calculated pace per kilometer (split time).
Another option is to run the race according to the 51/49 rule. You run the first half of the marathon in 51% of the desired time goal, and the second in 49%. This means you run the second half of the race faster than the first (negative split). But under no circumstances should you start out too fast.
Why you shouldn’t start too fast
Depending on your fitness level, you should run the half marathon at or a little below your lactate (anaerobic) threshold. If you start out too fast, you will go above your lactate threshold. This means your body will be producing too much lactate (lactic acid) right from the beginning of the race. This can cause you to fatigue early and kill your performance.
2. Nutrition before the race
WRONG: “Eat and drink as little as possible in the last week before the race. The lighter you are, the faster you will run. Therefore, cut down on how much you eat and drink during the final week before the race.”
RIGHT: You can’t run your best on an empty tank.
Reducing your food intake shortly before a race to lose weight will not only hurt your performance, but it can even leave you feeling so weak that you are forced to drop out of the race.
3. Running shoes
WRONG: “Try out a new pair of shoes on race day. Save your new pair of shoes for the race. You can’t beat new.”
RIGHT: Stick with your tried and true shoes for the race. This helps you avoid blisters and painful chafing. If you want to wear new running shoes for the race, make sure to break them in a few days before the race.
WRONG: “Train as much as you can in the last two weeks before the race. You should really push yourself in the last two weeks before a half marathon. The more training you get in, the faster you will run come race day.”
RIGHT: Taper before the race. The aim of race preparation is to get you in peak shape on a particular day. You should start the race feeling fresh, relaxed and full of energy. If you overdo it and train too much in the last two weeks before a race, you are sabotaging yourself.
What is tapering?
Tapering involves reducing your training volume by 30-50% depending on your training age, current performance level and the distance of the race. At the same time, your final race preparation should also include some short, intense workout sessions to get your muscles and your body ready for the demands of the upcoming race.
WRONG: “Don’t waste your time warming up. It will only sap your strength.
You should move around as little as possible before the race to conserve energy.”
RIGHT: Warm-up properly. People often underestimate the importance of warming up.
The benefits of warming up not only include a lower risk of injury, but the right warm-up routine can help you achieve a new personal best. Breaking a sweat is a good sign that you are properly warmed up, but don’t forget to take the air temperature, humidity and the intensity of your warm-up into consideration.
Have you heard one of these half marathon training tips before? Hopefully not! 🙂 When looking for tips, stick to the experts and reliable sources. If you follow real expert advice, nothing should stand in the way of you running a new personal best in your next half marathon.