I was excited to write an article for Runner’s World!
Below is the article, full transparency, my wife helped edit it and was an ace up my sleeve.
You can find the article through this link.
So without further ado:
Tackle Your Next Half Marathon With These Five Tips
My name is Eric Rayvid, I’m a New York City-based endurance sports enthusiast and share my journey through YouTube and my website, DirtyOldSneakers.com. Recently an old friend sent me a note asking for advice: “Do you have any sage advice for someone who wants to PR a half marathon?
When asking a runner for advice, the answers are never simple (and always long-winded). But, I managed to pare my advice down to five points. In no particular order, here’s what I sent.
1. Training Plans:
Find a training plan you like and follow it as best you can. Consistency is key as you can lose fitness pretty quickly if you skip too many days. But lets face it life happens, work or family can get in the way, or you can get sick in the middle of your training. If it happens don’t beat yourself up. I know of no one who has followed any training program to a “T”. If you get off track, give yourself a break and get back out there. And if you miss too many days, don’t dive back where you were in as that’s a recipe for injury. Make sure to work your mileage and your training back up before you get more intense.
2. Speed Work:
This is how your body gets used to running with an increased heart rate without that inner voice saying “are you crazy?” Fartleks (the funniest of all running terms and a Swedish term that translates to “speed play”) are my favorite because you don’t need to do them on a track. I run in a park and count off street lamps. I start by running a mile or two to warm up and then sprint for two street lamps, jog for one, sprint for three, jog for one, sprint for four . . . you get the idea.
3. Cross Train:
Cross train, cross train, cross train. Did I mention cross training? One of the most important and overlooked aspects of race training is giving your core running muscles a break while continuing to train your brain and body to work. Cycling and swimming are my favorites but I know lots of folks that hit the yoga studio or weights at the gym. The trick is not to overdo it, remember, your hard workouts should be reserved for running.
Take rest days seriously. I take one day off each week and do no workouts. Not even recovery runs. If you’re doing speed work, long runs and cross training, your body and brain need time to recuperate. Without proper rest and recovery you may actually slow yourself down in the long run because your muscles won’t have time to recover.
5. The Right Gear:
Find a light, responsive shoe you like and buy two pair. Something like the Reebok Floatride with an 8mm drop and Floatride Foam technology will be soft and lightweight without a mushy feel. I also like that the outsole tread is a ripple design, which offers consistent ground contact for a smooth transition from heel to toe. But why two pair? I like to alternate between the pairs on each run. Trust me, your feet will thank you and you won’t wear the shoes out training, which means you’ll have a stronger shoe to wear on race day.
Finally, a bit of sage advice that isn’t just about figuring how to get that PR, but really applies across all aspects of running for me. I find being accountable to others helps me stay focused and motivated. Find yourself a running partner who has roughly the same goals and make a plan with them. It makes it so much easier to get out of bed at 5AM in the middle of winter when I know someone will be waiting for me out in the cold if I’m not there on time.
I’m lucky enough to have a group of folks that I’ve been running with for about 10 years now. More than the mere fact that we meet consistently weekend after weekend, year after year, is that when you spend hours and hours running with the same people something sort of spiritual happens. I don’t know how to explain it.
Maybe the fact that we tell each other almost everything from bad dating stories to health issues, to family craziness, to everything good in our lives is what makes it so great (I remember telling them about the anticipation of a first date with the woman who is now my wife).
Most importantly remind yourself with every step that you are privileged to be out there running and enjoy it!