Women’s Running Editor-in-chief, Jessica Sebor, is sharing her best practices for marathon preparation. Training truly is the difference maker when it comes to reaching your marathon goals and learning a few tips from seasons pros is priceless. Whether your are looking to switch up your regimen or need a proven starting point, the half marathon plan below will have you ready to run.
Quick Tips! Getting Ready for Fall Marathon Season
- Tips for Sticking with a Training Plan
- Tell everyone who will listen that you are training for a half. The more accountability the better! A little added pressure can be a good thing.
- Join a group for long runs. Find your local running club and sign up or check with your local specialty running store if they manage any group runs.
- Recruit a friend. They can train with you in person or virtually, to share the experience. Cheer each other on after every run—or even run at the same time in your respective locations! Stretch or sip post-run smoothies together via FaceTime.
- Log your runs online. See your progress and miles pile up will be gratifying. You’ll want to hit the roads to keep adding on to your total.
- Treat yourself. Give yourself mini rewards after special milestones, e.g., your first run over 10 miles. You can even put a dollar in a jar after every workout. After the race, buy yourself a celebration gift!
Half Marathon Meal Plan: How to change caloric intake and diet for the increase in diet with examples:
WAKE UP: Cup of coffee with cream and sugar
BREAKFAST: Cheerios with 2 percent milk
BETTER SOLUTION: Enjoy coffee and cream with your meal and try adding honey or maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Start the morning off with a good source of protein. Two or three scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil make for a nourishing breakfast that incorporates a healthy source of protein and fat.
LUNCH: Two scrambled eggs with ham
BETTER SOLUTION:: A salad with protein, veggies and a slice of toasted whole-grain bread would be optimal!
PRE-RUN SNACK: Fig bar
BETTER SOLUTION: Always reach for real food as it will be more bio-available. Grab a handful of trail mix. The nuts and dried fruit are great sources of carbohydrates for quick fuel. For a 10-mile day, almond butter and an apple will provide carbohydrates and fat, which is the body’s preferred source of long-sustaining fuel.
RUN: 3 Miles
BETTER SOLUTION: For longer runs, the addition of electrolytes to your water will be huge in recovering promptly and staying hydrated. I love to simply add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to my water, which provides naturally occurring minerals to rehydrate the body.
POST-RUN SNACK: Multigrain chips
BETTER SOLUTION: Increase your protein consumption and refuel within 30 minutes of running. For a 6-miler, add an apple paired with a healthy fat, like cheese or almond butter. This will help to replenish amino acid stores needed for your muscles, and the fruit and fat combination will increase blood glucose levels to provide energy for your cells. For a 10-mile day, have a mini meal including protein, fat and carbs. Egg or tuna salad on a slice of whole-grain toast is fast and easy to whip up.
DINNER: 1/2 pork chop with steamed carrots, kale, white rice and two glasses of white wine
BETTER SOLUTION:: This looks good. For dinner, you should always think: protein, fat, carb. The best sources for protein are animal-derived, as they will be the most nutrient dense. Healthy fats include coconut oil, butter, avocado and extra-virgin olive oil. Try brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes as a substitute for white rice.
SNACK: 2 fun-size Twizzlers
BETTER SOLUTION:: Enjoy a handful of blueberries, which contain antioxidants to help clean-sweep free radicals in the body. Berries support detoxification all the while giving that sweet fix! If you ran 6 miles or longer, enjoy a square of 75 percent dark chocolate as well.
Best Tip: Always sip on water throughout the day. Aim for drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces.
Want more ways to prepare for your next half marathon? Let’s start training!
8-Week Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan: