If you have been running half marathons competitively, you probably want to know how to improve your race times. With the right approach to training and nutrition, you can cut down your race time and meet your running goals.
Improve Times with Interval Workouts
Adding interval runs to your regular training regimen can help you to finish your half marathon faster.Researchers for a 2016 edition of BMC Sports Science, Medicine, and Rehabilitation found that runners who engaged in interval training finished their races about 3 percent faster.Take advantage of this effect by doing at least one interval run per week.Over the course of a 5-mile run, alternate 3 minutes of hard running with 2 minutes of a recovery jog.
Fuel Properly to Finish Faster
Most runners have heard of “carb loading,” and it is probably for a good reason. A 2013 study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that runners who consumed a moderate to high amount of carbohydrates the day before and the morning of a marathon had faster race times. Similarly, a 2016 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that runners burned predominantly carbohydrates, and not fats, when running a half marathon. Load up on whole grain breads and cereals, oatmeal, potatoes, and pasta in the 24 hours leading up to your race, and you might find yourself setting a personal record in the half marathon.
Speed up With Speed Work
You might think that half marathon training should revolve around slow, steady miles. While running this distance does require endurance, adding speed workouts to your regimen can help you to maintain a faster pace during your 13-mile trek. A study of female runners, included in a 2011 edition of the journal Clinics, found that running faster during training was linked to faster half marathon times. A 2011 study in Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine found similar results for men. Add some speed to your own training with tempo runs done at slightly faster than half marathon pace and mile repeats run at your 10-kilometer pace.
Add Some Resistance
You can take your half marathon training to the next level by including resistance training in your routine. A 2016 review in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that advanced level distance runners who completed 2-3 resistance training sessions per week experienced significant improvements in running economy. Add resistance training exercises, such as jump squats, push-ups, bicep curls, military presses, and lateral rows to your regular regimen, and you will likely become a more efficient, and therefore faster, half marathon runner.
Incorporating resistance training into your routine may require extra effort, but it can make a difference in your half marathon time. Combine resistance training with the other strategies discussed here, and a personal best time will be within your reach.