I am training for my first half at the end of April, I'm not following a particular training plan, just doing my own thing but this is what my plan currently looks like
running 4-5 x per week
Long run of 10 -14 miles
tempo or intervals run of 4-5 miles
easy/steady runs of 5-7 miles
total mileage aprox 30-35 per week
I am please dwith how I am improving and that I've got my mileage up and built up my LSR to longer than the half, so I know I can confidently complete the distance. I ran 13.54 miles yesterday and did 13.1 in 2hrs 14 mins and 59secs and it felt very easy, I'm hoping in the race I can run it faster.
So, what do I do now? I don't really want to increase my long run distance any more or my overall mileage, I want to try and concentrate on improving my speed if possible so I can finish the race strong and not just 'get round' if you know what I mean.
I hadn't envisaged I would have got up to the distance at this stage in my training but I feel fine. I'm not sure whether to just continue as I am or whether I should change some aspect of my training.
Also when and how do I taper? I have never done this before so not sure what to do! My race is on 26th April, but I am also doing a 10k on 29th March
Finally (sorry for all the questions) I am not sure what I should take nutrition whise on the half, I have bought a ouple of gels but haven't felt like I needed them on my long run as yet, yesterday I took and gel with me and just water but just had the water (I ate pasta the night before so that prob helped) should I make myself have a gel prior to the race to see how I get on? or will water get me through if I eat well the night before?
Well done on the training! I'm no expert, but I think you just have to do what feels right for you. I got up to distance about 3 months before my first HM, so I eased off a bit and went back to running 10k races and between 8 & 10 miles in training just once a week. My other sessions were 3-5miles. The important thing is that you've got there mentally. You know you can run the distance, so just make sure you run up to 13m twice before the big day. I suggest you make the last 13m practice 2 weeks before the big day and start tapering then. That works best for me. In the week before, I like to run 8 miles on the Sunday and a couple of 5 miles midweek. I rest from Thursday onwards.
As for nutrition, I take a couple of gels around with me on the day. I never need them in training, but always run harder on the day. I use them at the nearest water stations to 7 and 11 miles. Just eat lightly on the morning. A cereal bar works for me, about 90 mins before race and I gradually hydrate up to maximum with a sports drink in the hour before the start. It's my little race day ritual!
You'll probably have loads of people giving you different tips, but just trust your own instincts because they've got you to this point and you seem to be doing okay.
As Dominic says, you are doing absolutely fine. The temptation would be to keep on increasing your training, and you might get injured, so I would say keep doing what you do, the only thing being maybe to up your paces very progressively (10s every four weeks?) There is no need to run over distance for your first half.
I don't need refuelling during the race, and water is enough, but you need to find out what works for you: Eat well the night before, and take something with you for the race if you think you might need it. If you plan to use anything, make sure you try them during a long run before.
On a final note, if your run felt easy, you will definitely be faster in the race.
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