How to run a half marathon – a GB runner’s guide!

Former GB cross-country runner Richard Kay provides 7 expert tips on how to run your 2019 Derby Half Marathon.

Want a new half marathon PB? First you need a flat, fast course – check out our quickest half marathon! Next, you need some know-how. Thank goodness you’ve got the advice of former GB cross-country runner Richard Kay, whose fastest half marathon is clocked at an impressive 66mins and 13secs. Here are his 7 top tips!

1. Set your pace and go for it!


The flat nature of the Derby Half Marathon course, means that runners can go out strong (but note not too fast). Anything up to 3% quicker than your normal race pace will put you  in a very strong position for a PB.  Remember, there are no hills to catch you out.

2. Work with each other

With many other runners around you, try and work together in a group to push each other along and share the lead.  By sticking in the middle of a pack and drafting off another runner, you can save around 10% of your energy. This will help recharge if you have gone off too fast. Likewise, if you're feeling good, be sure to take the lead and help your fellow runners.  You will all feel better and achieve a quicker time working together.

3. Stay relaxed

The average time to run a half marathon is between 1:50-2 hours.  That is a long time on your feet! So if you are not feeling so good early on in the race, stay relaxed, keep going, and a few more miles down the road you may feel better.

4. Look around

The Derby Half Marathon has a bit of everything. Derby city centre, urban streets, villages, picturesque country parks, a river path, commercial areas and parkland.  In the time that you take enjoying this array of scenery, the miles will pass you by.

5. Don’t get complacent

Although a flatter course is an easier course, it is still important to make sure you are doing everything right.  Eat well, drink plenty (but not too much!), make sure you stretch regularly and maintain a steady pace.

6. Don’t try anything new

Save all your trials and tests for the training. You have a whole year of training runs to plan your half marathon but just one Derby Half Marathon! Keep it simple to make sure it goes right on the day!

7. Enjoy it!

This is one of the most important things with running and the point of taking part. Usually the more you enjoy it, the better you do.

Try out Richard’s tips at our flattest and fastest half marathon

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