The Half-Mara thon MASTER CLASS

Coach Lee McCar­ron on how to give your full ef­fort in a half-marathon, from train­ing to race day. This is how to have

Canadian Running - - The Half Marathon - By Tara Camp­bell

Over­the past decade the pop­u­lar­ity of the half-marathon has been grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially. For some the lure lies within con­quer­ing the 21.1k as a step to­wards run­ning a marathon; for oth­ers it is sim­ply a de­sire to fin­ish a race be­yond the 10k mark. Then there are those who are to­tally di­alled into the dis­tance and de­ter­mined to reign in a per­sonal best. This, how­ever, can be a tricky goal to achieve. Though half the dis­tance of its full coun­ter­part, the half-marathon is not an easy race to run fast.

“You can’t fake a half,” if you want to run a per­sonal best, says Lee McCar­ron, coach of the Hal­i­fax Road Ham­mers, which was re­cently named the 2016 Golden Shoe Club of the Year. “It re­quires a lot of strength, which means a de­cent amount of mileage, con­sis­tent train­ing over the course of a cy­cle and the abil­ity to stay fo­cused and tough in the race.”

McCar­ron says that the ideal start­ing point is en­sur­ing you are train­ing in the proper en­vi­ron­ment – for you.

“For any run­ner to have their best suc­cess they need to put them­selves in the en­vi­ron­ment that makes them most happy,” says McCar­ron. “For some this may be join­ing a group for work­outs, maybe it’s do­ing ev­ery­thing solo, or maybe work­outs solo and re­cov­ery runs with peo­ple,” ex­plains McCar­ron. “Each run­ner needs to know what’s the best en­vi­ron­ment for them. This will be a big first step in al­low­ing them to have suc­cess.”

Though ev­ery run­ner’s pref­er­ence is unique, McCar­ron says one com­mon­al­ity be­tween all suc­cess­ful train­ing en­vi­ron­ments tends to be pos­i­tiv­ity. “For me it has al­ways been to try to sur­round my­self with peo­ple who are pos­i­tive, en­cour­ag­ing, mo­ti­vat­ing, fun and easy­go­ing,” says McCar­ron. “A neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­ment can be toxic and can re­ally take away from the task at hand, and cre­ate a road­block to achiev­ing goals.”

In ad­di­tion to up­lift­ing sur­round­ings, McCar­ron sug­gests tap­ping a coach to help edge you for­ward in both your train­ing and rac­ing.

“Get­ting a coach who can help you weekly, whether it be on­line or in-per­son, can help you deal with the ups and downs of a weekly cy­cle, which can be a ma­jor ben­e­fit,” says McCar­ron. Be­yond sup­port through the men­tal highs and lows, McCar­ron says a coach also pro­vides tac­ti­cal rac­ing ad­vice, such as race plan devel­op­ment and race se­lec­tion; along with ex­pe­ri­enced guid­ance through all stages of train­ing year-round.

In or­der to max­i­mize your train­ing time, McCar­ron says it is of ut­most im­por­tance to stay healthy. This is where in­jury preven­tion en­ters the run­ning-a-per­sonal-best equa­tion. McCar­ron lists the fol­low­ing as be­ing a for­mula to help stave off those dreaded, train­ing­halt­ing in­juries.

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