Get fit going into autumn: The last weeks of training before running a half marathon

(Image: Petra Bork /

The second half of the marathon season is just around the corner! From September to December, the running calendar 2012 includes many national and international highlights. Now it is necessary to train with organisation and concentration for the autumn runs. While beginners to running would do well to plan for the 2013 season, experienced athletes in good condition can get into competition-shape for the challenging half marathon within six weeks. A detailed training plan, as well as following a few basic rules, is essential to reaching personal top form for 21 kilometres.

Basic prerequisites for healthy training
Marathon, half marathon or 10 kilometres – in order to finish with good health still intact, it is important to consider some guidelines. The top priority is listening to the body and reacting to its warning signals. Training too hard or too fast only increases the risk of overstrain or injury. Sufficient regeneration is also of crucial importance, not only after a competition, but also between training sessions. Only with phases of recreation is the body able to adjust to higher strain. Proper nutrition equally influences personal performance potential. Athletes pay special attention to their diet’s nutrient and energy content. Furthermore, an individual’s competition calendar has to be carefully considered: Despite high ambitions, runners should only plan on attending runs which provide enough time in between for regeneration. Thereby, concentration in training or competition is not harmed by exhaustion. Moreover, it is necessary to get a medical during the training phase, as it reduces the risk of overstrain and excludes possible nutritional deficiencies.
In general, having variety in one’s training not only relieves strain on the body, but also keeps athletes motivated. Including other kinds of endurance sport in a training schedule, such as walking, cycling or swimming, prevents everyday training from becoming monotonous.

Training program with endurance runs and fast speed units
The phase of preparing for a competition is a crucial time which greatly affects personal performance during the run. The right training not only improves body musculature and stamina, but also optimises metabolism. A good training program for a half marathon consists of many long, initially slower runs, as well as some fast-paced intervals. Beginners require a preparation period of at least seven months, but ambitious athletes who run regularly can still start the intensification phase up to six weeks prior to a particular half marathon they wish to attend. In this period, the athlete continuously increases both intensity and distance of training units. It is advisable to run 40 to 45 minutes at the beginning, about four times a week (e.g. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday). The duration of running increases steadily, so that 60 to 70 minutes can be run by week four. The fast speed units can consist of 4 x 400 m intervals with a break of walking in between. It is important to vary runs of different durations and intensities during a week. At the end of this phase, after about four to five weeks, athletes might use the opportunity to run 5- or 10-km-competitions to test their personal level of performance. Two weeks before the half marathon, the competition phase begins. Athletes should begin to run at the final competition pace, and sometimes increase the speed. During the last week before the event, however, the motto is: “calm before the storm”. Here, it is important to rest and revitalise for the half marathon itself.

Performance monitoring with the JogStyle from Omron
Healthy, disciplined and continuous training is the basis for improving and stabilising performance. By steadily increasing duration and intensity of training, the body adjusts to the higher strain. In order to monitor training efficiency, it is advisable to use appropriate running tools, such as the JogStyle from Omron Healthcare. The easy-to-use running computer reliably provides data, like current and average speed, distance and time. Thanks to its 3-D sensor technology and memory function, the users can monitor, analyse and improve their performance. Even professional athletes, like twofold German Marathon champion Bernadette Pichlmaier, tested the JogStyle and recommended the handy device also for ambitious runners. With digital support, endurance athletes control their training efficiency and can master the challenge half marathon with motivation and success.

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About Omron Healthcare
Committed to improving people’s lives, OMRON Healthcare provides clinically proven, innovative medical equipment for health monitoring and therapy. Our product portfolio includes blood pressure monitors, respiratory therapy devices, electronic fever thermometers and activity monitors as well as body composition monitors and professional medical devices.
OMRON Healthcare Group is headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. OMRON Healthcare Europe B.V. is the healthcare division for Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa, and provides service to customers in more than 60 countries through a powerful distribution network.

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