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 a 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!


By all means go out strong on flat courses (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.  Just make sure that you know your course and that there are no hill to catch you out later on.

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

Our Run For All routes tend to have a bit of everything! Urban streets, villages, picturesque country parks, river paths - you name it.  So enjoy your run and take in this vast array of scenery. It will serve as a great distraction and inspiration as you clock up the miles.

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 race to get it right! 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.


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