We got an expert’s advice!
Registrations for half-marathons have been in full swing for several weeks now. Are you thinking about signing up? Maybe a colleague, a friend or a family member issued the challenge. But are you really physically able to handle 21.1 km? To find out, we consulted with an expert.
Tips from a pro
We asked Jean-Yves Cloutier, the man who designed the training programs for the Montreal Oasis Marathon, if anyone could run a half-marathon. He makes it clear that it should be worked up to gradually. “Before running a half-marathon, it’s best to have done a dozen 5-10 km competitions in the past year. A person who runs 30 minutes four times a week, without too much effort, will be able to complete a half-marathon.” In other words, one hour of Zumba a week won’t cut it.
Cloutier insists that you should avoid overtraining. “When you run, you have to bear three times the weight of your body. If you skip steps, you risk paying for it later with injuries. It’s better to get some experience.” The first thing you should do before launching yourself into the half-marathon is join a running club. Sign up for 5 or 10 km runs to test your endurance.
In terms of equipment, head to a store that specializes in running gear so you can get some help in finding the right shoes to suit your feet. “It’s better to run in the best shoes and jeans than in the best shorts,” says Cloutier. He also mentions that it’s important to try on all your gear (shoes, clothes and accessories) at least a month before a competition in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises on race day.
Finally, Cloutier, who is also the author of the book Courir au bon rythme (“Running at the Right Rhythm”), counsels against improvisation: “Find a training program you trust and follow it 100%. Do that and you’ll be able to run the half-marathon in a year or two. The important thing is to go at your own pace.”
So… will you be signing up for a 10 km?