any half marathon tips?


I started running earlier on this year to get fit and take part in Tesco race for life. Since then I have kept it up - yes I have got the bug! - and have entered both the Swansea 10k in 2 weeks and also the Cardiff Half marathon in 5 weeks time. I have been following a learn to run half marathon training app on my phone and am currently up to the stage of running 30minutes x2 and then 40minutes with 3 minute walks in between - the futhest I have run so far in 1 day is 9.5 miles. Have also been tackling hills because they are everywhere where I live!

Just wanted some advice really as I am a bit worried about the half - I currently only use water on my runs and am wondering if I should now start trying energy drinks/ gels/ lucozade tablets so I know what works before the big day but don't know where to start.

Also I have so far only been conscentrating on running for a certain amount of time rather than a distance so I would also like to improve my speed but not sure how to go about it.



  • According to the website the course is fast so that means flat, also from what you say you are doing 9.5m in 1 hr 46, on hills.

    keep slowly increasing distance but only once a week do more than 10m, on other runs do fartlek (speed play) warm up as usual for half mile or so then run faster fo a bit then ease off, get your breath back and do it again. finish off with half mile cool down. Also keep up with the hills, they are classed as sprinting in disguise. Forget gels and drinks, all hype, just stay well hydrated and eat a bannana or jelly babies.

    I would guess that you are looking at a 2 hr half which is a great starting point. Above all enjoy your running.

    On the day start slow, dont get sucked into setting off fast with the others, about 6m in start to increase speed slightly and you will be overtaking all the mad hares, very motivating for you, If you feel good in last mile really start to stretch yourself. You will be certain of a PB so make sure you enjoy the day and look towards the next challenge.

  • Agree with above. Don't worry about gels or anything like that. Get your eating and hydration right leading up to the race and you'll be fine.

    10k will be a good practice and give you some race experience. You probably will go off fast it takes a lot of controll not to gt caught up in all he excitement.

    Sounds like your doing all the right things already. Enjoy and set a target to beat next time.
  • Thank you both for that advice and reassurance!

    happy9053 - its not all hills but there are a lot of hills and I just figured it would take me ages to get anywhere if I kept stopping to walk up them so I run - in slow motion! But its still a run! Thanks for the advice on increasing speed - I currently feel like I am running at top speed but thats because of increasing distance so If I run less I should be able to push myself more and I have noticed how much I have improved in general fitness but tacklng the hills.

    Yep was thinking about 2.30 ish finish and I will bear in mind about not starting fast as its going to be such a long way to the finish! Thanks again image

  • Hi Jacqui, I'm sure you'll enjoy both events - I'm running both this year as well (and have done both a few times over the years).  The one thing I'd advise for both events is to make sure you get there early as the last thing you want is a panic whilst caught up in traffic.  For both events it gets very busy around an hour before the event, so I'd recommend getting there at least 90 mins early.

    just to follow up on your query about hydration & energy gels.  The Swansea 10k will have a good few water stops along the way and the Cardiff HM will also have water stops (every 3 miles) with an energy drink stand at the roughly half way.  Unfortunately they aren't saying who the energy drink supplier is this year (it has been powerade for the last few years), so you may want to keep an eye on the cardiff HM web site to see if they announce it so you can try them before the event.  This means that there should be enough hydration around both courses.

    Looking at your two posts, one way you might be able to increase speed is to slow down!  This does sound contradictory, but if you try to run all of your runs at the same fast pace, you wont improve.  By mixing slower, easier runs with more focussed speed sessions you'll find your pace improving significantly.  If you have a look at the plans on this web site it should get you started, although its too late to use these to prepare for Cardiff but may help you for your next one.

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