Setting the Goal: A Half Marathon
So that’s it, you’ve set yourself a goal: running a half marathon. Whether this is your New Year’s resolution, long-term fitness goal, or just a personal challenge, it’s a great one. What matters now is getting in shape for the run! Training for a half marathon can easily be done in the gym, and we’ll explain how!
Half marathons are an ideal fitness challenge for any kind of runner. Some of the people who complete half marathons had never run a day in their life before they started training for one. Others were long-term short-distance runners who decided to set themselves a longer challenge. Runners come from all different backgrounds and in all shapes and sizes. What’s great about this is it only reinforces the fact that anyone can complete a half marathon with the proper training!
With proper training, someone of an average fitness level could be ready in 3-4 months. You can do it!
Training for a Half Marathon
Anyone and everyone can prepare for and complete a half marathon. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone can wake up one day and suddenly run a half marathon. Even if the distance was well within your abilities, sudden increases in a certain exercise can easily lead to injury.
To avoid injury at all costs and ensure you will achieve your goals, there’s one solution: proper training. Not everyone lives in an area well-adapted to outdoor running, but not to worry! Training for a half marathon can just as well be done in a gym.
As the training involves both running and strength training, a gym is actually an ideal training ground.
Focus on Cardio to Build Up Your Endurance
A half marathon is a 13-mile run. No short feat! Whatever your abilities at the start of your training, you need to build up your endurance to ensure you can run the distance.
While this means getting in lots of runs and gradually working your way up to the full distance, it doesn’t mean your training needs to be all treadmill. Make the most of the treadmill for long practice runs, where measuring your average pace will come in handy. Also, use the treadmill for practice hill sprints, as the half marathon course is unlikely to be flat!
However, as you will be focusing on your endurance and aerobic capacity, you can interchange your treadmill workouts with other cardio machines, such as the stationary bike, the rower, or the ERG. This will be great for your muscles but also for your motivation, as it will keep you from getting bored with running alone.
What’s more, incorporating interval training into your workouts can help to improve your speed. If you are hoping to cross the finish line faster than your current abilities predict, incorporate HIIT. By alternating short sprints and brief periods of slower runs, you’ll still be boosting your endurance while also increasing your speed over time. This interval/speed training will get you across the finish line in no time at all!
Beckwith Health Club offers HIIT classes as well as other cardio-focused lessons: check out our class schedule here for a break from the treadmill.
Alternatively, book with a personal trainer to develop a plan that works for you on your own schedule by contacting us directly!
Incorporate Strength Training for Efficiency and to Prevent Injury
Many first-time runners are surprised to hear they need to focus on other training aside from running to prepare for their half marathon. However, strength training is essential to prepare your muscles for the exercise. You may feel the burn in your legs after a run, but the whole body works to get you across your finish line.
When it comes to strength training to prepare for a long run, a gym is the ideal training ground. You will need to target the key muscles that will be keeping you moving forward. This means focusing on your back (good running posture is essential), your obliques and core muscles, glutes, and your leg muscles.