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My 8 Top Tips for Running Your Best Half Marathon

Half a marathon – that’s 21.1 km or 13.1 miles.

It’s quite far…

When you haven’t done one, you cannot quite comprehend the distance.
When you’ve done one, you can’t actually realise that you’ve just run so far…
When you’ve done maybe 2 or 3, you think you’re a seasoned half-marathoner…

So, there I was yesterday, all ready for my 3rd half marathon, feeling just a tad nervous, but thinking ‘Hey, I’ve done this before, no biggie, plus I’ve been training really hard, etc, etc’…

Welllll, it turns out that if you’re not putting in the mileage, and I don’t mean running 3x a week for 8-10 km a pop, you’re in for a bit of a surprise.

I was doing really well up until 8 km in {the distance of my normal training runs} and then I got tired.
And the hills became more difficult.
And it was hot.
And I was running by myself.

Ding-ding-ding, game over!

I won’t bore you with all my thoughts during the next 13 km, but let me just tell you, it wasn’t all very positive.

It’s amazing how your mentality and positiveness influences your game {whether it’s running, cycling, gym, whatever…} and I’m afraid it’s very difficult to bring yourself back after that first defeating thought.

Here are my 8 Top Tips for bringing your A-Game:

  1. Be Prepared
    It doesn’t matter how psyched-up you are, if you haven’t done the training, you’re going to fail.
    {Fail to plan, plan to fail}
  2. Start the Day on a Positive
    Don’t rush – allow yourself enough time for a coffee, breakfast and the drive there.
    Don’t have PMS-induced arguments…
  3. Eat
    You cannot do an endurance sport on an empty stomach.
    Don’t overeat though and be cautious of eating the wrong thing…
    Choose something that is nutrient-dense and won’t leave you feeling too full and heavy.
    Choose something that will keep you going for a while, seeing as you’ll probably be out there for a good 2 hours, burning off heaps of calories.
    A good time to eat is an hour or so before your event, with a ‘top-up’ energy snack 15-30 minutes before.
  4. Think Happy Thoughts πŸ™‚
    Be positive and uplift yourself, but be careful of going into a daydream-state {stay away from La-La-Land…}
    Do NOT let that first negative thought even rear its ugly head!!!
  5. Have a Buddy
    It’s a good idea to run with someone with the same {or slightly faster} pace as you.
    You encourage and motivate each other.
    It creates accountability, neither wants to give up and fail the other one.
    Also, training with a buddy is very helpful and important, even if you’re just part of a running club, motivating and pushing each other – that is worth so much.
    Pace each other and yourself – run consistently.
  6. Take in the Scenery
  7. Be Aware
    Be aware of your stride – focus on running correctly and optimally.
    Take note of other runners, perhaps something about them will motivate and/or inspire you.
    And obviously watch your step too – you wouldn’t want to trip and fall πŸ˜‰
  8. Push Yourself
    This is the most important – even with all the training in the world, you still need to push yourself mentally and physically.
    If you’ve done all the other steps properly, believe me, it’s much easier to push yourself, and vice versa…
    It is also important to know when to push harder and when to keep back a bit – it’s all in the pace πŸ˜‰

I’ve learnt a great deal from yesterday’s run – and next time I’m all in, all positive, mentally ready, as well as physically!


Well done to all our teammates at Kyalami Running Club – you guys are all awesome and inspiring!

The one thing I did get right, was my breakfast!
{A hearty, low carb, filling granola with a splash of milk, along with a low carb energy bar just before the race – oh, and a banana…}


Happy running, happy eating and happy training – follow these Top Tips and see the difference it will make!


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  • scarletscorchdroppers
    February 9, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Great tips! I’m running my second half in 6 weeks time (eek!!) and i’m really not ready. After the first one I vowed never to do it again, yet some how here I am. Time to up the training a little bit I think! Jennie x

    • Heidi
      February 9, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Hey Jennie!

      Good luck – I read your post after your last one and it looked like you had a lot of fun πŸ™‚
      I’m also doing another big one in 7.5weeks time, so I’ll also be training hard!
      Somehow you always end up doing these things again, I guess it’s addictive!

      Enjoy the training and prep and hope to see some pics on your blog! X

      • scarletscorchdroppers
        February 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

        Thanks Heidi! I’m running without my running buddy this time so the thought of getting all the way around on my own is a little bit scary! Trying to stay positive though!
        Good luck with the next one, hope you’re enjoying the training!

        • Heidi
          February 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

          Training (beforehand) with your buddy will be just as helpful, just remember to really keep pushing and motivating yourself on the day! I find the general buzz of the atmosphere and people cheering you on also helps a lot!

    • Heidi
      February 9, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Oh and 6 weeks is totally enough time to get yourself ready, you’ll be fine! X

  • Chanele Edwards
    February 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Some great tips here. I’ve always wanted to do a marathon but I can’t even runa round my block. My ears start aching, my chins start hurting and it just becomes so annoying so I stop. Hats off to anyone that runs marathons!

    • Heidi
      February 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Well, believe it or not – I was never a runner, in fact, I was quite the couch-potato!
      I used an app on my phone – it’s called ‘Couch to 5k’ or something like that. My husband and I used the app when we started running and it’s really great.
      In no time you’ll be running 5, 10 and even 21km!
      Heidi X

      • Chanele Edwards
        February 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Thanks for the app info Heidi. It sounds great xx