Preparing for a half-marathon can be serious business, as well as incredibly fun. To ensure that you’re fit to run on the day and maintain your health leading up to the event, we have some top training tips and advice to share on when you should start running, how you can increase your speed and fitness and what you should be eating to support your training as well as making sure you’ve got the right clothing and equipment.
Generally, you should start preparing for the Great North Run around 15 weeks before the event. Usually this means that runners begin their official training routine in May to allow plenty of time for improving pace, lap times, speed and general fitness. A great way to start is to pull on your running shoes and head outdoors as it’s cheap, easy and requires very little equipment!
Most runners preparing for the Great North Run, or any half marathon will aim to get out up to three times a week for 30 minute runs on alternating days! This ensures that you're building up a minimum of 10 miles a week which can be increased gradually as you approach the actual event. Most professional or keen runners will advise that the longest run should fall two week before the half-marathon with a goal of 11-12 miles.
Starting out with 30 minute runs will also allow you determine your pace and stamina; this will naturally improve with more frequent sessions and you can challenge yourself by setting small targets each week. Invest in a sports watch or App for your phone that you can take to track your times and distances; most Apps including RunKeeper or Nike will be able to collate your results for run by run comparisons, target settings and weekly improvements.
For example; within the first three weeks, you may aim to complete 10 miles on a weekly basis whilst the following month you may be focused on getting your speed down to a 7 or 8-minute-mile. You then might want to switch up your routine by making your runs longer, further and more varied by experimenting with alternating terrain such as hills, stairs and steep banks.
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