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Mon, 03/19/2012

About The Benefits To Train For A Half Marathon - part 4

It was a beautiful day last Friday in Berlin. The sun was shining and it was really warm. It was the warmest March 16 in history as I learned later. So I officially closed my office at 3 p.m., donned my running gear and left for a training session. I planned to run as long as possible. In the end it was around 16 kilometers but with breaks to take pictures, I posted on the PGD facebook page in the album 'What Berliners do...' It was quite hard this time to run. Maybe because it was the third time this week, maybe I had done other forms of training as well. Therefore I appreciated the excuse of taking pictures during the last part of the training. I am now away for a week in which I will not be able to do any running training. The half marathon will be in two weeks but I am confident that it will work just as fine, as last year. Last year I had the same situation: being away the week before the week of the half marathon and it worked out great. So, there is absolutely no reason to stick slavishly to a fixed plan. That basically means that for taking up running you do not need anything but the time to actually do it on a loose basis. You alone decide when it would be best, how long you run and how often. There are only minimum requirements. You should do not leave to much time between the individual runs - seven days are the longest, better is five days - and you should go at least for 20 to 30 minutes. Otherwise you will have no positive effect. On the contrary. It will be a real drag to go running again because you basically start anew every time. But the idea is that each consecutive training builds on the previous one.

What is the right speed? Well, the right speed is, when you still can talk to your running mate without getting out of air. After a while of training you might run faster than that, if only it is for a short time. That is okay too. The great thing with running not only is, that it is good for your health and is uplifting your spirit, you can just start doing it without preparing for it and find out how and what works out for you while you are going, sorry, running. Warming up is not necessary because you do it automatically while you are running. But start slowly. When the muscles are still cold you can hurt yourself. For that reason you should sprint - if you like to - after the warming up period and not at the end of the training. At the end you are tired and it is more likely to get hurt in a sprint by twisting ones ankle or foot. This I read in an article a couple of days ago and was wondering about this advice. Because if you take part in a competition, you should not waste your strength in the beginning but try to evenly hold ones strength over the whole distance. And then in the end you gather all the strength that is left inside you and run as fast as you can for the last one or two kilometers.

That is the moment when another strength comes in handy. The strength of the upper body. You should train it to. Either separately in a fitness studio or while you consciously run with an upright and tense upper body and firm abs. Try it out. You will be astonished how much it alerts and helps you to gain running power and speed.

In next weeks blog I will tell you how I spend the last week before the half-marathon in preparation for it.