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
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.