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Running

How to Train for a Half-Marathon

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Want to take your running program to the next level? Training for a half-marathon allows you to truly test the limits of your running ability. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and your motivations throughout the training process. Distance running not only tests your physical endurance but your ability to remain focused and on task mentally for an extended period as well. You’ll gain a ton of confidence all while learning to overcome adversity and setbacks.

But what if you’re new to training to compete at this distance or even new to running in general? Not to worry. These tips will get you on your way to achieving your half-marathon goals.

Get the Right Shoes And Socks

Nothing will derail your running program more quickly than foot, knee or even back injury caused by wearing improper footwear. During training, your feet will be pounding the pavement for sometimes an hour or more at a time. This can quickly lead to overuse injuries.

Before starting your training regimen, pay a visit to a specialty running shoe store where the associates are trained to measure you for shoes that are the right fit. There is much more to selecting a shoe than merely getting the right the size. For example, runners with high arches may find they need additional arch support, while flat-footed runners may need more padding to absorb impact. Add in some moisture-whisking socks to keep your feet dry during long run days.

Give Yourself Ample Training Time

Training for a race the length of a half-marathon isn’t something you can jump into overnight. It takes time to build up distance and speed, so make sure you give yourself adequate time to train before race day.

If you are a novice runner, select a race that is at least two months out from when you plan to begin training. If you are an advanced runner who already puts in miles daily, you may be able to get away with a slightly shorter time frame. However, don’t underestimate the work it takes to really get ready to run 13.1 miles.

Draw Up A Training Schedule

To meet your goal, you’ll want to outline a manageable training plan that works with your life and your schedule. You’re going to need to commit a good deal of time to your training, so make sure you have a plan for success.

While it’s okay to run on a treadmill when the weather is particularly inclement, for better results, train outside under conditions that are as close to those you’ll encounter on race day. If you live in the race area, drive the race course to get a feel for how hilly it may be. Pay attention to the weather, too. Train in high winds, cold temperatures, high humidity and other conditions you might encounter during the race to ensure that you’re prepared for them.

Fuel Your Body Right

What you eat is just as important as how you train when it comes to half-marathon success. This counts double if you undertook training for a half-marathon to jump-start your weight loss regimen. It can be tempting to restrict calories and rewarding to watch the pounds melt off. But your performance will suffer if you are malnourished when you train.

Consider adding a high-quality protein and vitamin-mineral supplement to your diet. This will help to replace electrolytes lost through heavy duty training as well as provide your body with the building blocks it needs to heal. Adding a protein supplement is particularly vital if you are vegetarian or vegan. Our muscles need the right balance of amino acids to recover after a long run.

Plan Your Celebration Ahead of Time

Finishing a first half-marathon is a huge accomplishment, and it isn’t one that many people have bragging rights for. So plan a nice celebration for yourself after your big race! This could mean a romantic dinner out with your significant other, planning a weekend getaway or just taking a nice, long relaxing bubble bath post-race. Whatever it is you choose to do, be sure to celebrate you! You did it!

How to Stay Safe Running in the Summer Heat

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Summer is the best time for outside activities. It stays light later, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be rained on. For runners, these are the best conditions to bump off a couple of miles. However, the summer comes with its danger as well: heat. Exerting yourself during the hottest season of the year can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and dangerous, and a few precautions can go a long way. Here are a few tips for keeping safe during the worst of the summer heat:

1. Run at Night/In the Morning

Wake up early or stay out until the sun is going down. Both times of day will have lower temperatures and, therefore, less chance of heat exhaustion or other dangerous health conditions. Plus, waking up early will give you an awesome energy boost to get through your day.

2. Drink Lots of Water

This one should go without saying. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle while you are running, make sure you run at a location with water available in drinking fountains or otherwise. Dehydration, which is easily preventable, causes many heat-related illnesses.

3. Run in the Shade

If you usually run in an open area — a field or street, for instance — instead look for a route with trees or buildings that provide shade. More shade means a cooler run, and a cooler run means less chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Of course, wearing a light-colored hat or visor can keep the worst of the sun off your head and provide your face with a little personal patch of shade.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns are bad to begin with, and they’re downright agonizing while you are running, and there is nothing to distract you from them. Wearing sunscreen will help protect you from burning, and putting aloe on any previous burns before running will also keep the pain at bay.

5. Wear Light Colors

Dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat much more than light-colored clothing. The difference is the most noticeable during the summer. Wearing light colors will keep you cooler and running longer than darker, heavier clothing.

6. Slow Down

Take a little longer running when it’s hot out. You won’t push your body as hard under already-stressful conditions, and you’ll avoid exhausting yourself partway through the run.

We all love running, but avoiding the heat — and finding better ways to deal with it when unavoidable — is a necessity during the hot summer days. Using these precautions will help you run happier and healthier through the summer.