Oct 142014

How to Run and Walk Half Marathon

TIP #1: Approach the Half-Marathon by splitting it into two equal halves. The first half takes you to the 10-mile mark and the second half is the final 3.1 miles (5k). Now before you question my math skills, listen to my reasoning. The first 10 miles should be your “warm-up” for that final 5k run. Patience in the first 10 miles will yield enormous results and pleasant surprises over the last 3 miles – guaranteed! The easiest mistake runners make is going “just-a-teensy-weensy-too-hard” during those first ten miles. If you hit the 11 or 12 mile mark and you find yourself wishing it were all over, then you probably made THE mistake. If you pass the 10-mile mark and you are “ready to rumble,” then you DID NOT make THE mistake.

TIP #2: [More bad math] Mentally and physically split that first 10-miles into equal parts of 7 miles and 3 miles.
While you are conserving your energy for that final 5k, taking it easy and feeling strong, those other runners around you will be dreading the second half of their race. You’re just getting warmed up! During that 7 miles, you should be taking walk breaks as in training.
Once you’ve passed the 7-mile mark, you can increase your pace slightly and begin passing those people who are already beginning to slow down. This “second half of the first 10 miles” is only 3 miles! [See how this wacky math works to your advantage now?] At this point, you can keep the same run/walk ratio and pick up your running pace slightly -OR- you can keep the same running pace and decrease the walk ratio by 15-seconds. Either choice will increase your overall pace. Since you “took it easy” for the first 7 miles, you will be ready to “pick it up a bit.”

TIP #3: [Final section of bad math] If you’ve done this correctly, you still have half your energy left to burn and there’s only a 5k to go!
– No death march for you! Anybody can complete a 5k, right? It’s concentration time – time to be aware of “closing the gap” on those people in front of you. You will notice that they seem to be getting closer to you with every step. After a 10-mile warmup, it’s time to have some fun passing them up – you’ve earned it with your patience!
Walk breaks during the final 5k? It’s up to you. If you know you can run a 5k with confidence – DO IT! If you need a walk break or two or three, put them in. If you want to walk only to get water, do that. This final 5k is yours to enjoy as you wish. You did the training. You did the walk breaks. You took it easy during the first 7 miles. Tear it up!
During the last 25% of the race, many runners eliminate walk breaks. For the Half-Marathon, that would call for your last walk break to be around the 10 mile mark, if that is what you choose.
Remember, you can also opt to spread the walk breaks out after 10 miles. For instance, if you’re trying to average 10 minute miles and are doing 5 and 1’s through the 10-mile mark, you could choose to take a walk break at 11-miles and 12-miles rather than continue with the 5 and 1’s.

TIP #4: Start thinking about throwing kisses to the crowd at the finish line and having fun feeling strong! Go to the nearest mirror right now and practice your finish line smile!
– ENJOY your success! If the weather is decent, hang out and cheer your buddies in. Hang out and visit if you can. Congratulate yourself and the other people in your group. Wear a silly grin on your face and take pleasure in that post-race buzz!

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  5 Responses to “How to Run and Walk Half Marathon”

  1. John, Thank you for this blog!! I applied it to the Cascade half, my first one, this weekend. I can’t believe how good I felt from start to finish. I was able to finish strong passing up many runners in the last 2 miles and coming close to my goal time (darn wind), what an amazing feeling. Thanks again!!

  2. Great information! Thank you for breaking the mileage down into manageable segments and explaining your reasoning. As a very new and inexperienced runner, I am certainly going to apply this advice to my first half in January at WDW.

  3. thank you for this info. I do still wonder how long to walk though. how long is too long for walking?

  4. Hi, sounds like a great plan! I will be running my first half this coming March, but I am not planning on doing the walk/run method. Is your plan feasible for running only, too?

  5. Wow! I totally stumbled on this amazing article! Thank for this advice! I agree with the bad math and philosophy of this plan! I will be using this next weekend!

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