Okay, so you’ve started your half marathon training. Our guess is that one of the toughest parts so far is getting through your “long run” days. You’re in luck! Read on…
Sure, that might not sound groundbreaking just yet.
The secret is that there are MANY ways to breathe, and ALL of them will affect your running immensely.
Let’s start by taking note of how you’re sitting or standing as you read this. Are you a little hunched over? How quickly, slowly, deep or shallow are your breaths as a result?
Your half marathon training shouldn’t just be about “getting it done”. It should be about DOING IT WELL. Quality over quantity, folks.
Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
Now take 10 deep breaths ONLY through your nose. Feel how much more air is getting into your diaphragm?
Now implement this into your next run:
Before even stepping out the door, perform these 10 belly breaths, breathing ONLY through your nose.
Now, during your run:
Every 10 minutes, perform the same 10 nostril breaths WHILE running.
Go back to your regular breathing pattern afterward.
*You may feel a little panicky and short of breath the first few times. That’s totally normal! Trust the process and stick with it for the full benefits.
Shallow breathing happens only in your chest and shoulders. The result is raised shoulders, a stiff neck, poor posture, and a very uncontrolled, often uncomfortable cadence (how many times your foot hits the ground per minute).
Breathing into your belly immediately allows your shoulders to drop and your cadence to become natural, smooth and sustained.
Pick up your feet!
We can all agree that at least in the beginning of your half marathon training, the end of the long run is never pretty.
For a lot of us, what starts as a smooth, energetic stride ends up looking like a hunched-over shuffle by mile 8, 9 or 10.
We came up with our version of a “reset” button for that stride, so that your posture doesn’t suffer between the start and finish.
Standing on two feet, practice exaggerating each leg of your run stride.
Do this by finding a point exactly between a “butt kick” and a “high knee” position to create a “pulling” motion.
Practice 10-15 reps of this pulling motion, one leg at a time.
Then implement this into your next run:
Every 10 minutes, perform 10-15 seconds of heel pulls.
IMPORTANT! Unlike when you practiced this, you’ll alternate legs on every rep to create an exaggerated running motion. Again, finding that sweet spot between a high knee and butt kick.
This drill will ensure upright, quality posture for the entirety of your run.
Good posture encourages lowered shoulders, optimal breathing and a quality stride and cadence. It also helps to sustain high energy!
Feel free to incorporate these drills any way you’d like! You can use both in one run or you can separate your long runs into different categories of focus (breathing, cadence, posture, etc).
Have fun with it! Your half marathon training will only get better from here.