When you train for a half marathon, you are signing on for weeks of heavy-duty running. It’s important to taper off three to four weeks before your race and especially the week before. Take care of your body and come up with a workout plan the week before to guarantee you run your best half marathon.
The Week’s Schedule
The week before your half marathon you should have a plan for tapering off from your long runs and preparing yourself for race day. If you haven’t been doing so already, start getting up early. Get an early breakfast and get out the door for a run, even if it’s a short one. Long races usually start early in the morning, so getting your body prepared for an early morning run will give you a good estimate of how much time you need to get going on race day. If your race is on a Saturday, start your last week’s schedule the Sunday before. If it’s a Sunday race, start your last week’s schedule the Monday before.
According to Hal Higdon’s half marathon training schedule you should stretch and strength train on Monday, then run four miles on Tuesday, three miles on Wednesday, two miles on Thursday and rest both Friday and Saturday during your final week of training. This is if your race falls on a Sunday. It’s important to take it easy during your workouts and not incur any new injuries especially the week before your half marathon.
Fuel Your Body Right
When you are training for a marathon, fueling your body with the proper food is essential. Carbohydrates provide runners with the fuel they need to train and run their race. During training, 65 percent of your total calories should come from carbohydrates. Twenty to 25 percent should come from fat and the other 10 percent need to come from protein. Your body can only store a certain amount of carbohydrates in the muscles. Keeping your stores up before the big race will allow you to finish without draining your energy. Since you are tapering the week before you won’t want to overdo your eating habits. Stick to what you have been doing, but increase your food intake by 10 percent the week before. Focus on eating healthy, complex carbohydrates, lean meat and healthy fats.
Rest and Recover
When training for a half marathon you cause muscle damage and fatigue because of the intensity of the running program. This is why it’s imperative to taper your training so you arrive with fresh legs on race day. Many runners decide to not exercise at all two to three days before their race in order to recover properly. If you have sore muscles or joints, take time to ice them during the week before. Twenty minutes of icing, four times a day, two to three days during the last week will make a big difference for aching knees or throbbing shin muscles.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.