Couch to half marathon? 9 top training tips to get you there this summer –

The Affidea ExpressCare Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is returning for another year, and it’s far from too late to start training.

Ireland’s most unique running event is coming back to the streets of Dublin for a sixth time on August 12.

Want to challenge yourself, get in shape and have a great time doing it this summer? Well here’s 9 top training tips to get yourself from couch to half marathon:

Sort out your gear

First things first, get all your running gear sorted before you even start training.

Most important is your running shoes, different people need different footwear, you can get tested on a treadmill in most sports shops to find the perfect protection for your feet.

It’s also no harm picking up some cycling shorts, chaff will be your worst enemy — do everything to avoid it.

Build your base

A running base is the number of miles or weeks of running you have in the bank before beginning your training.

It will be the foundations you build upon, making things easier and helping you to avoid injury down the line.

You can switch between walking and running at the start as you feel comfortable, going gung-ho from the beginning won’t help — baby steps are key.

Follow a plan

Pic: Shutterstock

There’s an almost unlimited amount of training plans you can find online to choose between and get yourself half marathon ready.

Once you’re happy with your base, you can choose from anything from a nine-week to three-month training programme.

Find the right one for that is manageable with your time, they’ll start off short and sweet but will get you where you need to be come race day.

Be realistic and know your body

Don’t beat yourself up over missing a run, be realistic; if you’re busy with work and can’t fit in a long run on a Friday, it’ll be fine to do it on Saturday instead.

But remember rest is just as important as the actual training, you won’t be able to run if push yourself too hard and get injured.

Furthermore, only you can tell how your body is feeling, if you’re in pain and it’s only getting worse you should take a day off — but always try not to miss the long run.

Mix things up

Most programmes will tell you this, but cross-training is crucially important to your preparation.

If your legs are killing you, go swimming instead, and if you can hit the weight room in the gym it will only help you avoid injuries, build muscle and make things easier later.

Spinning or cycling are other great options, while doing core work will only help you when hitting the pavement.

Train with friends

Ambassadors Kevin Kilbane & Thomas Barr. Pic: Marc O’Sullivan 

Beyond the obvious benefits of getting fit while spending time with your mates, it will also help you keep your discipline.

No-one wants to be the person who lets down the other, so it’ll keep you on course to achieve your half marathon goal.

Also, you’ll get to enjoy the experience even more after all the hard work pays off on the big day.

Keep things interesting

Training can get monotonous and your motivation can take a hit, so don’t make it even worse by running the same route everyday.

Plan your runs in advance, change where you go and take in the city, hiking trails, beaches or the countryside when you have the chance.

It always helps to try and make your run a loop, rather than coming back the same way every time.

Make a playlist(s)

It’s the Affidea ExpressCare Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon after all, and since a band will be playing every mile, there’s no reason why your training should be any different.

There’s nothing quite like being outdoors and running to music, if you really want to get in deep you can make a playlist that’ll build up in tempo and push you when it’s necessary — find your power song to take you up that big hill.

If that’s not your thing,  there’s a wealth of podcasts out there that will keep you entertained instead.

Enjoy the perks

Want to know the best thing about training for half a marathon? Throwing that diet plan out the window.

Eat plenty and as much as you want, you’ll be shedding the pounds while hitting the pavement and loading up on carbs will only give you more energy.

You don’t want to become stick-thin because you’ve started to run, and even if you gain weight it’ll probably be muscle.

To register for the 2018 Affidea ExpressCare Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, go to and follow all the updates on the official Facebook page and @RnRDublinHalf and @AffideaIreland on Twitter.

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