Half Marathon Plan: STRATEGY! Body sc... - Marathon Running ...

Marathon Running and Race Support
1,781 members โ€ข 4,393 posts

Half Marathon Plan: STRATEGY! Body scanning, race planning, pacing, and eating & drinking ๐Ÿ’ฅ

โ€ข19 Replies

Hi all!

Hope things are going OK for you. I've been holed up with a dastardly cold since Christmas, although seem to be on the mend now.

I'm getting close to halfway through the plan now (amazingly!), and I know that some of you are way ahead - well done to mountaindreamer and Windoze for getting to the half marathon mark in training already!!! Anyone else?

I've been thinking about STRATEGIES lately, and, based upon some of the issues that were brought up on the post last week, have this little list of subjects for us to discuss...

๐Ÿ’ฅ BODY SCANNING (aka "checking in")

I invite and encourage you to analyse how you are feeling during each and every run!

โ˜… Any niggles or pains? Do you think they could be leading to injury? If so, rein back the training and investigate (injury prevention strategy).

โ˜… Which parts of a run are easiest and which are harder? Are you getting tired too quickly? Do you need to think about your eating/drinking, and/or your pacing strategies?

โ˜… After the run, write down your thoughts and experiences - your GPS app (e.g. Strava) is a handy place to do this. Looking back at how you felt after your runs can help you target your training more effectively.

โ˜… EDIT: Don't forget, though, that running long distances is HARD WORK! You can expect to feel tired, and very possibly a little sore, afterwards. Nourishment, a warm bath, rest, and a little exercise, will all help ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š


The Hastings Half Marathon (HHM - the race I've booked) has a big hill to negotiate, and this has affected the route planning and pacing of my training runs. Here are some thoughts about race planning:

โ˜… Check the race website for information such as parking, race starting time, bag drop availability, whether they collect throwaway clothes (to keep you warm before you start), frequency of water stations on the course etc. Do you have to collect your bib on the day? HHM is the first event I have booked in quite some time that actually posts them out!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

โ˜… Many event websites provide an elevation profile of the course, but if they don't try Googling "[your event] Strava" which may well find a run someone has made public on Strava. I find this extra useful as I am used to looking at my runs on Strava. Here is one from HHM last year:


Good job, Evo ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

โ˜… We can't do anything about the weather other than try and prepare for the worst (yay!). A good thing to know is that the prevailing wind in the UK is coming from the West or South-West. In my case this will mean that the nice flat final 4 km along Hastings Sea Front is likely to be accompanied by a stiff headwind. Of course it may happen that this is not the case on the day (here's hoping!).


โ˜… As I have said before I am a proponent of "easy means easy for YOU". Your stride AND breathing should feel relaxed and comfortable. It follows that your numerical "easy" pace will get slower and faster depending upon the incline, terrain, and weather, you find on your run.

โ˜… If you are getting TOO tired towards the end of your runs, consider slowing down at the start, and then putting in a couple of "pick ups" ("strides" - or just try increasing your pace until the next lamp post) later on in the session - maybe at the end, or towards the middle. This is great training to increase endurance.



โ˜… There was some chat about Tailwind on the post last week, and I'm pretty sure most of you are taking your nutritional weapons of choice with you on your long runs! Any more favourites to share?

โ˜… I don't think there are any rights and wrongs with food - it's got to be what works for you! I'll most likely have a few jelly babies with me and will grab water whenever it's available.

โ˜… It's useful to make note of the time of day you will be running your race. HHM starts quite late at 10:30, therefore it will be getting on for lunchtime by the time I reach the finish line - so I'll be having a late breakfast and probably a snack before the start.

Anyway, talking of food, it's dinner time!

Have a great week of running ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

roseabi xx

19 Replies
oldest โ€ข newest
David_GHalf Marathon

Thanks for this Abi. It might also be worth mentioning to those doing their HM on 31 March (like me!) that British Summer Time begins that day so the clocks go forward an hour? It would be a shame to turn up an hour late after all the preparation! ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Happy running everyone! ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ

in reply to David_G

What a pain! Thank you xxx

Thanks roseabi I take jelly babies plus I have a runners log that I note everything down in that's how I found out that it irritates my arthritis if I increase speed. usually I don't eat before going for a run but my 10k didn't start till 10am so I had a banana beforehand๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ

in reply to homlyme

That's excellent!

mountaindreamerHalf Marathon

Thanks Abi. I think it was your โ€œchecking inโ€ advice that probably got me my HM yesterday, as the bones in my lower legs were uncomfortable after last weekโ€™s long run, so I decided to drop to a 2 run week instead of pushing for Parkrun. Iโ€™m sure that paying attention and playing things by ear is our safest bet.

I saw it as an improvement that the discomfort up said bones didnโ€™t kick in yesterday until Iโ€™d nearly finished, so I seem to be getting further before it hits. Iโ€™m hoping it will stop as my legs get stronger, as it kicks in when my feet and lower leg muscles are too tired to land and shock absorb as well. (I go from fore foot striking for the first 8k, to careful midfoot striking, to midfoot โ€œslapping my feet down pretty hardโ€ by the end!)

On the fueling front, Iโ€™m really thinking there might be something in the NYT article that recommended protein within 20mins of finishing a long run (weirdly to keep insulin levels high...) then a carb meal within 2 hrs. I had my pint of hot milk with chocolate powder in it just after finishing yesterday, then plenty of carbs, and considering Iโ€™d never run that distance before, I was very surprised to find my legs donโ€™t even ache today...

in reply to mountaindreamer

I think further research has suggested that the 20 minute window can be relaxed somewhat, but certainly it seems a good idea to get some protein on board after hard exercise. And chocolate milk is an excellent choice - I like a cup of cocoa in the bath after long runs, and I put a bottle of choccy milk in my bag drop bag for after races. Fabulous work!!

mountaindreamerHalf Marathon
in reply to roseabi

Ah well - I think I like the 20 min window, as milky hot chocolate from a flask was a great way to warm up again! I cool down pretty quickly in the cooler weather. ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

in reply to mountaindreamer

Oh yes, but it's nice not to have to feel so pressurised ๐Ÿ˜Š


Glad you're starting to feel better at last.

Lots of useful ideas in this post. I think I will try a more detailed diary once I get back to running - sounds like it could be very helpful. Particularly having to write down the results of my 'body scanning'; once it black and white it might be harder for me to ignore and carry on :D

I'm glad I've got the GSR behind me - I found the race planning for that really stressful because, despite reading lots and lots and lots it still all felt so unnknown (new place, never done anything so big, much later start than I was used to, etc.). I'm hoping next time racing 'away from home' will be easier. My next one is a 10K in Hyde Park which should remove some of the logistical unknowns before the HM as well. But then I'm just a born worrier :D :D :D

in reply to linda9389

Thanks Linda xxx

The first one is always going to be the hardest - but best of all for gaining experience! I know how you feel though, it is scary! The best I can do is compile a good faffage list in Google sheets and/or Excel (my file, simply named "Faffage lists" now has many tabs ๐Ÿ˜Š)


Forgot to comment:

Mentioned in this post: mountaindreamer and Windoze !!!

Also have edited to say that a little tiredness and soreness is to be expected after a long or fast run ๐Ÿ˜Š


Good stuff! Yes, body scanning is a thing! I have a conversation with mine about how its doing, a bit like a performance appraisal interview or motivational pep talk!

in reply to Lordi

yes Lordi I do same glad no one can hear me on my runs I talk to my legs most of the way round๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ

in reply to homlyme

Lol! ๐Ÿ˜Š

in reply to Lordi


MutleyShuffleHalf Marathon

Thanks roseabi, lots more good advice ๐Ÿ˜Š I am going to do the bodyscan thing on every run now (when I get rid of this cold - no running at the mo - glad yours is on its way out). I would be gutted to pick up an injury at this stage in the game. I have started making notes in Garmin Connect after each run too, and one thing I noted last time was that I started out too fast - again! I haven't really paid a lot of attention to pacing so far (just have a quick look at the stats after the event) but I'm going to try to do the first few km more slowly now the distances are getting longer. I have just started getting audio announcements of my heart rate every few minutes too, so that might be a better measurement to go by rather than pace when there are a lot of hills involved.

As for fuelling, I have been using Tailwind for a while now and am really happy with it, other than the price! I would like to try out some home made versions to save a few pennies, need to do a bit more research on that one. Will probably stick with Tailwind on race day, don't want any nasty surprises! I always have a snack before I start out too, a light sandwich or a 9Bar and a banana, I can eat quite near to the start time without any adverse effects.

One thing about planning for race day that I haven't been able to find out - do half marathons have toilets on the course?? Would hate to get caught short and have to find some bushes to dive into!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

in reply to MutleyShuffle


The bigger HMs tend to have toilets on the course - not sure about Hastings though! They only mention the ones at the start, as far as I can see on the website.


Thank you so much for putting this together for us Abi!

The stuff about eating and drinking is a very timely reminder for me. Because I'm don't intend to be pushing the pace in any way for my first HM I'd sort of assumed I would get round without needing to eat/drink anything. Silly me!

On Mondays long run I got an hour and 10 mins into what I'd hoped to be a 2 hour run and I was so thirsty I had to change my plans. Breathing and legs were fine but the thirst was killing me! Decided to just run for 90mins as that would get me home. I had taken some strong painkillers for a trapped nerve in my neck on Sunday and I think they might have been the cause of such chronic thirst but it definitely got me thinking about contingencies for raceday.

I also need to think about eating as I always run in the mornings on a cup of coffee (food has always resulted in a stitch in the past). I'm now thinking that's not a good plan for 13.1miles!

Someone from my running club pointed out this morning that experimenting with food and drink pre raceday is an important part of training and it's definitely something I need to start doing ๐Ÿ˜

in reply to pianoteacher

I got unusually thirsty during my 10k yesterday - every day is different!

You may also like...