Strength Training for Half Marathon
Strength training for half marathon! There is no link between the two. Generally, runners have no idea why it is essential to practice strength training along with running. According to them, all they have to do is run more and more if they want to win.
However, that is not how it works. Strength training plays a vital role in a half marathon. To simply state, it doesn’t increase your chances of a win, but it puts a seal to your victory. Therefore, if you want to win, you must first have strength training. The thing is, the stronger you are, the faster you will run.
Overview of Strength Training and Half Marathon
It is important to understand the relationship between strength training and marathon to know how and why it can help you. Moreover, the first and foremost important thing is to understand your body reaction to moving heavyweights.
For example, it is easy to push a hand truck 50 feet. But when you load a fridge on the hand truck, it would become a lot more difficult even to move 5 feet. This is the accrual logic why 10 heavy squats hurt more than 1,000-foot strikes.
Strength training helps you to become faster, which is the key to win the half marathon. This is the reason why strength training and half marathon go hand in hand. But the real question is how strength training can help to make you run faster.
Actually, strength training helps to lower the amount of energy you need to hit a certain pace. It alters your brain chemistry; therefore, it calls for the most fatigue-resistant muscle fibers. Consequently, you will need less energy to complete a particular task.
Strength Training Tips for Half Marathon
If you are a new or a first-timer in the half marathon, before practicing, there are certain things you should know. In this section, we will share some of the best tips for strength training for half marathon. These tips will not only increase your chances of success but also minimizes the chances of injuries.
1. Start with Strong Foundation:
Running a half marathon is not an easy task. It is quite stressful and demanding on your body. Therefore, it is crucial how well your body is prepared to handle the stress. Therefore, try to have good base level fitness before practicing for a half marathon.
Thus you will be able to run at least 3 miles during strength training. For those who are starting from scratch, the best way is, join a gym or a class for strength training.
2. Take Rest:
When making your schedule for strength training for half marathon, make sure to run no more than three times a week and strength training twice a week. Don’t exaggerate and push your body beyond its limit. Your training routine should be a combination of run, strength-training, stretching, and cross-training.
Moreover, never ignore your diet and consume a lot of protein to recover your body. Besides, get a good 8 hours of sleep and drink plenty of water.
3. Add Variety to Your Runs:
Instead of running a longer distance, the good idea is to add variety to your runs. When you repetitively run for the same long-distance, it can increase chances of injury—consequently, your chances of getting an injury increase.
So, the better solution is to include three different paced runs in your training; an interval, a tempo run, and a slow run. It can give you much better results.
4. Cross-Train to Build Endurance:
You must have enough endurance at least for your first half marathon to last a 21 km race. Endurance defines the overall health of your heart and lungs. Therefore, for better endurance, you need to practice exercises that can help to increase your heart rate for a longer time.
You can practice swimming, cycling, or rowing to build endurance without straining your legs.
5. Never Ignore Your Arms:
There is a general perception that for a half marathon, you don’t need hands and arms. However, if you genuinely want to win a half marathon, you must not ignore the upper part of your body. Your upper body plays a crucial role in energy consumption during running.
So when you are doing strength, training never ignores your arms and upper body. Therefore, apart from lower body strength, training exercises include exercises to train your upper body.
Key Component of Half Marathon
The half marathon is completely different from the usual running. You can easily finish 5 km within a week, even if you are a beginner and then move on to 10 km. However, when it comes to a half marathon, it is an entirely different story. A half marathon requires much more endurance. However, there is no need to worry if you follow the right pattern within 6 to 9 months you will be able to master the art of half marathon. You will smash success with these two critical components of half marathon. These are:
Goal 1: Stay Healthy Long Term:
The secret recipe for successful running is consistent training. You will see an immense increase in your run after a few weeks of training. But as we have mentioned above the consistent training results in injuries as well. Consequently, you won’t be able to practice for the time being.
As a result of which it can cause havoc on your motivation. Therefore, maintain your health in the long term. So, follow these three simple ways to stay healthy long-term.
Use dynamic flexibility warm-ups along with your specific runner strength training routine. Try to add warm-ups and post-runs in your strength training routine to increase your running efficiency.
Usually, people run on their rest days as well. It is better to take a rest on a rest day to let your body recover. Or if you want to run, try to take it slow. When running on a rest day, remembers 3 c’s of a run; comfortable, controlled, and conventional.
Goal 2: Build Endurance
We have already mentioned this one above, but building endurance is so important that we are forced to mention it again. You can easily cover more mileage by having high endurance. Beginners of half marathon aim to complete at least 20 miles per week. However, the preferable miles are 25 to 30 during high volume training.
You must ensure that your body is able to cover 13.1 miles and its impact on about two hours of running. Therefore, try to build your endurance as much as possible.
Best Strength Exercises for Half Marathon
Here is a list of best strength training exercises for half marathon:
One of the best strength training exercises which work for everyone is the plank. It is the best exercise for the core, lower back, and shoulders. Begin by laying on the floor on your all four. Your shoulder must be over your elbows. Now step back into a plank position. Keep your hip in line with the shoulder to have a long straight line shape. Hold in this position for 45 to 60 seconds and repeat it 2 to 3 times.
Another excellent strength training exercise is Russian Twists that works for core and obliques. Sit by bending your knees at a 90-degree angle with heels on the floor and hands in front of the chest. Now rotate your upper body first to right like you are reaching your elbow and then to the left. Do at least 10 to 12 reps.
This exercise works wonders for lower back, glutes, middle back, and shoulders. Start by lying on the stability ball with face down and spread your feet. Then lift your torso to form a straight line. Wait for 1 to 2 seconds and slowly go back to the starting position. Do 10 to 12 reps. If there is no stability ball, you can also perform this exercise with an exercise mat.
Squat to Overhead Press:
Squats work for your lower back, shoulders, hamstrings, upper back, quads, and glutes. Hold dumbbells in your hands and lift them to shoulder height. And open your feet to hip-width. Now, lower into the squat position to the point when your thighs are parallel to the floor. And while standing press your dumbbells overhead. Repeat it 10 to 12 times.
Rotational Shoulder Press:
The rotational shoulder press is strength exercise for shoulders, triceps, and core. Hold a pair of dumbbells to your shoulder height while your palms face each other. Rotate from your hip to left while pressing the dumbbell overhead. And when you rotate back to center lower the dumbbell and move it to the left when you’re turning to the right side. Repeat these exercises 6 to 8 times.
There are several other strength training exercises for runners like box jumping, barbell squat, kettlebell suitcase deadlift, and walking lunges.
Strength training for half marathon is necessary, and you cannot ensure your win and safety without it. We have explained in detail why you need strength training for the marathon. Therefore, increasing your chances of winning and running include strength training and your routine.