This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
15 Training Mistakes That Can Crush Your Half Marathon Dreams
DISCLAIMER The information in this report is for informational purposes only. The author and No Meat Athlete LLC expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of any information contained in this report. Page 1 . before undertaking the nutrition and training principles described in this report or attempting to train for any endurance event. in consultation with a healthcare practitioner. You should use proper discretion.
I was fascinated by the idea that otherwise “normal” people could train themselves to run 13.trust me.2 miles without stopping. and when I’d hear about people finishing these longer races.1 or 26. So as I started to become interested in fitness as I got older. I had only just recently gotten comfortable running three miles at a time. I’ve been there too. Page 2 . something which so few other people ever do? Since you’re reading this report. I’d ask myself questions like: What must it feel like to be able to just drop everything and run 10 or 15 miles? What kind of fitness level must you have once you can run that far? And how great do you feel when you accomplish something like that. the idea that I could have the strength and endurance in my body to run 10 or 20 times that far was something that filled me with tremendous excitement and motivation to get out there and bust my butt to do it. like you probably are. intimidating -. you’re in the right place. well. WHAT’S THE SPARK FOR YOU? All throughout middle school and high school I had always been the kid who literally dreaded the day when we’d have to run the mile.1 miles for the first time just seems a little. I’m guessing you’ve found yourself asking similar questions. When I was a new-ish runner. Or if the mere thought of jumping from something like a 5K all the way up to 13. And I want to help you discover those answers for yourself.HALF MARATHON TRAINING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS HARD If you’ve been frustrated when you’ve tried training for a half marathon before.
I was probably in a much worse place. so bad that all three of us got hurt in the process. where 13. thanks to a few big mistakes I made. like me. which was way too advanced for us. a few friends and I decided we were going to run a marathon. since none of us was very good about sticking to the training schedule.) Page 3 . I’m not sure we even lifted our arms for the finish photo. I’m here to tell you that you can get there. We made some hideous training and nutrition mistakes. HOW A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE CAN REALLY SCREW YOU UP FOR YEARS Back when I was a wild college kid. We weren’t runners. we didn’t get abs. Or maybe for you it’s about conquering the distance.Maybe you want to own that level of fitness too. We all did run the race. In fact. It was not pretty. like incredible fitness and achievement of something so great. But we downloaded a free training plan from the internet and just jumped right in. so why not?) We had no idea what we were getting into. Not that long ago I was in a place like you are. as it took everything we had to pretend like we were running at the end. impossible-seeming thing and then go make it happen. Or maybe. and girls liked abs. Whatever your reason. because you’re not afraid to put in the sweat. (And we figured it’d give us abs. We wanted to do it for the reasons above. (And by the way. we were a sorry. although I wouldn’t call what we did for the last 8 miles “running. and the idea that you can set your focus on this huge. and you want to show people that you can do some pretty amazing stuff without eating meat for protein.1 miles seems like a daunting distance.” When we finally limped across the finish line. sorry sight. you’re a vegetarian or vegan.
But here’s the worst part: During the training for that first marathon. I somehow felt worse about it than I did before I had run it! So I started over. I badly wanted to redeem myself. I’d try a new program. I even shaved my shins so I could tape them up without causing pain! And yet most of it didn’t do a damn thing to help me complete a half marathon. Having crashed so badly in the race. which turned to stress fractures when I tried to home-remedy them. So it felt like I was on my own.For years after that. trying to find a way to train that wouldn’t get me hurt. I unknowingly ran in a way that caused painful shin splints. I wasn’t injury-free. and decided this time I’d do it right. I went through four or five different training books this way. taking walk breaks. But gradually. figure out was working. Page 4 . but it was progress. icing. keeping what worked and throwing out the rest. and massage. focusing on running a strong half marathon before I even dreamed of running another full one. I couldn’t get more than a few weeks into any program before the stress fractures came back and forced me to stop – leaving me frustrated. then hang onto that and move onto something else. I tried heart-monitor training. even as I was being smarter about training. running in different shoes. I started to notice what did work. Running the marathon only made the injuries worse. I TRIED EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO MAKE IT WORK For three years after that first race. It just seemed like so much out there was written for people who never dealt with injuries like I did. doing all sorts of stretching. much less a full. and people who had already run these distances. And now. I experimented with every thinkable solution. disappointed and wondering if I just wasn’t made for this running thing.
WHAT IT FINALLY TOOK In 2005. hardest goal I’d ever set for myself. It is (of course). and it qualified me for the Boston Marathon by one minute. and I want to give you the tools to be successful at it. NOW I WANT TO HELP YOU GET YOUR GOAL This whole experience of going from that dark place of disappointment. It took me just under two hours. but it wasn’t the time that I cared about. I did something that I had long considered impossible: At the 2009 Wineglass Marathon. Four years and several half and full marathons later. And finally. I had done it. qualifying for Boston had been in the forefront of my mind. Far more than when I ran that disappointing first marathon. and it was the biggest. since not so long ago that was me. This was a full 100 minutes faster than my first marathon time. And I know how frustrating it is. six months after I put the final piece in place when I adopted a vegetarian diet. I ran my first half marathon since that disastrous first race. Why? Because you’re like me. not afraid to try something that everyone else is telling you is wrong or can’t be done. And let me tell you. Finally. has brought way too much joy to my life for me to keep it to myself. I see so many people who I admire for their ambition and dedication to training for their first half marathon. Since the moment I had registered for that first race back in college. and yet they’re training in ways that can only lead to injury. you might be asking the same questions I was about whether it’s possible to put your body through such intense training on a plant-based diet. Page 5 . to qualifying for Boston and now running 50-mile ultramarathons. I finished with a time of 3:09:59. I felt like I had achieved something real. And I want to help you prove those skeptics wrong. if you’re a vegetarian or vegan or you’re thinking about becoming one. it was as thrilling as I had imagined. It was the fact that I didn’t get hurt. with very little natural ability but a lot of discipline.
If you just go out there planning to get it done as fast as you can. hill workouts and all else. MISTAKE #2: CHOOSING A RACE THAT’S TOO SOON (OR TOO FAR IN THE FUTURE) When you get the half marathon bug. above speedwork.Enjoy this report of 15 crucial mistakes people make when they take the first leap past the 5K distance and set their sights on a half marathon. finishing in a time that’s much slower than what you could have if you’d have just targeted a certain time and stuck to that pace. and I hope that by reading this and applying it. If it’s a certain time you want to beat. either. If it’s just to finish – which for your first half is the goal I recommend most – then avoiding injury will be your primary concern. having to wait 12 or 16 weeks to race seems like an eternity.1 miles. it’s very likely you’ll run the first half of the race too fast and crash during the second.) Whatever your aim. clarify in your mind exactly what it is. but I’ve seen it. It doesn’t hurt to write it down. And come race day. it’s imperative to know exactly what that goal is. I’ve made every mistake here at one time or another. you’ll avoid the setbacks I had and find success with far less pain than I had. MISTAKE #1: NOT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT YOUR GOAL IS What’s your goal? Is it to run 13. plain and simple? Is it to break 2:30 or 2:00 for the distance? Is it to wear an Elvis costume and juggle the whole time? (I hope not. this will dictate your training pace for long runs. And if the “perfect race” just so happens to be only eight Page 6 .
my race isn’t for 9 months. The problem. it’s possible you could finish a half marathon in 8 weeks of training. then plan for 12 weeks of half marathon training. I’ll just run two or three times a week to build my base until it’s time to really start training. you feel guilty about it. In that case. try Couch to 5K or a Runner’s World program to get you up to 5K distance. So what’s the right time frame? If you can comfortably run a 5K (any speed. or if you’re current able to run three miles a few times a week. But it’s way more likely that you’ll get hurt before you even get there. Page 7 . since most plans start with three miles as your baseline distance. there’s not much to keep you going. here. since doing so requires ramping your mileage up quicker than is safe.weeks away. you haven’t run in months. or even just enjoy running. I always tell them to start with one simple step: Run slower. like you’re just being cautious.” what happens is that you get really bored. you’ll need to first build up to that level of comfort. If you’re not there yet. When you say “Oh. You might run for a few weeks. When the day to start training finally arrives. on the surface. But there’s a less obvious mistake people make with scheduling. but when you’ve got to wait 6 months before you even officially start. your mind is great at convincing you that you’re superman and that you’ll be alright on less training. And that’s choosing a race that’s too far in the future. MISTAKE #3: RUNNING TOO FAST When people ask me how they can learn to run longer. and it’s one that seems. is that it’s easy to lose your drive. more if you’ve never run before and are out of shape. Sure. and you might not even feel like running a half marathon anymore. I recommend taking a month to get there if you’re already doing some running or are already pretty fit. This is a big mistake. doesn’t have to be fast) and not feel trashed at the end.
focus on easy-digesting carbohydrates and a little bit of protein (a small scoop of protein powder in a glass of orange juice is still one of my favorite pre-workout drinks). you’ll want to do all of your long runs at this easy pace. MISTAKE #4: NOT GIVING YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS FOR WORKOUTS One of the biggest differences between half marathon training and more casual. If you do have a time goal. you probably weren’t concerned with replacing calories during your run. failure to give your body what it needs can be detrimental to your performance and recovery. you shouldn’t just yet. When you’re truly running easy. For your first half marathon. but with the longer runs required for half marathon training. So even though you might feel like you could run faster. you can get by without paying much attention to what you eat. you should be able to carry on a conversation (with ease!) while you’re running. If you’ve trained only for 5K’s before this. as it’s way easier on your body. that changes. While you’re running. But when your mileage starts creeping up to 15 or 20 miles a week. which is usually about two minutes slower per mile than you’re capable of running the same distance. and your recovery runs between workouts should be at easy. with nearly half of that in a single long run. carbohydrates (mostly Page 8 . conversational pace. except on specified speed workouts. your tendons and ligaments will take several more weeks to adapt. shorter-distance running is the need to fuel your body correctly.Most people have never run as easy as their “Easy” runs are meant to be. you still should be slower than your goal pace on your long runs. Before you run. Running slowly significantly reduces your chances of getting hurt. if your goal is simply to finish. When you’re just running a few easy miles a couple times a week. Even once your muscles and cardiovascular system have adapted to the work you’re putting them through.
unless you plan to carry everything you need along with you during the race. For your longest runs. doing nearly every single workout and following your plan to the letter. ideally a 5K and 10K. Aim for carbohydrates and protein in a 4:1 ratio. and when it’s time to perform … your stomach revolts. Fueling with different foods on race day than you trained with. during your training. 2. There are two main culprits: 1. practice your pre-race nutrition strategy. Fortunately. You head into the race brimming with confidence. do some research after you’ve chosen a race to find out what sports drink and what other food (usually gel) they provide on the course. Treat these like real races – get up at the same time you’ll get up before your half.sugars) should be your focus. you’ll want to include some solids as well. and run it hard. these are easy to address. You’ll actually be able to use these finish times to predict your half marathon finish time with some common estimation formulas. You train diligently. The second issue is remedied simply by running a race or two. Page 9 . and letting the nerves catch you off guard. Then use that exact sports drink and gel throughout your training. And after you finish. Never having run a race before. This happens far more often than it needs to. the biggest key is getting food to your muscles within the first half hour to 45 minutes after you finish. to get used to everything that race day brings. but the numbers are less important than making sure you don’t miss this opportunity to jump start the recovery process! MISTAKE #5: NOT REHEARSING YOUR NUTRITION AND RACE STRATEGY It happens all the time. so that you can have a pace in your mind to shoot for that you know is reasonable and won’t leave you wrecked with five miles left in your race. and most sports drinks will provide them (“lowcalorie” sports drinks won’t cut it now) along with the electrolytes you need. For the first one.
But it’s actually not the decision to go right for the full that I think is to blame for our demise – it was that we utterly and completely disrespected our long runs. MISTAKE #7: DISRESPECTING THE LONG RUN When my friends and I first decided to train for a marathon. stay up late. While maybe that’s just how it is in college. which is why we skipped the half marathon altogether and went right for the full. we’d order some pizza. Page 10 . we were in college and we lifted a ton of weights. And when we got back. Which is why all three of us got hurt. it’s really tempting to add more. Whatever training plan you’re following. And we thought were invincible. then roll out of bed the next morning and plan our route and go run -. that’s obviously not the way to train for marathon or even a half. When all you’ve done before is 2 or 3 miles at a time.MISTAKE #6: INCREASING MILEAGE TOO FAST I won’t blame you for getting excited once you start running farther and you start to notice more energy than you’ve had in years. And without any idea of what pace we’d run. but that was the extent of our preparation. Maybe we’d make a huge plate of pasta the night before. Don’t. We’d still go party. and all of a sudden you realize you’re able to stay out on the roads or trails for an hour without even being that winded.without thinking to bring water or food with us. And then party again that night. our bodies now starving for sustenance. stick with it. and make sure that in no week are you adding more than 10% (in terms of mileage) to the most you’ve done in a previous week. Adding any more than 10% a week is just begging for an overuse injury.
Plan your route ahead of time with a tool like Gmaps Pedometer.Your long runs will likely be the most stressful part of your training. Likewise. and then simulate that in training so that you know just what to expect on race day. the difference between trails and roads is much more than just picking up your feet to avoid rocks and roots. If you’ll be doing your long runs on the weekends. or you’ll be in for a nasty surprise when your quads are screaming way too early in the race. Have your iPod loaded and charged if you’re going to use it to pass the time (consider safety issues if you’re going to wear headphones while you run). Even for a road race. as long as you drink plenty of water as well. if you’re the adventurous type who chooses a trail half marathon for your first one. hitting the trails every once in a while or doing a couple track Page 11 . And have your food ready for the morning. so that you wake up energized for your run. While you certainly shouldn’t go play beer pong like my friends and I did the night before our long runs. MISTAKE #8: TRAINING ON THE WRONG TERRAIN If your race is hilly. eating what you need to and relaxing. I don’t see too much harm in drinking a beer or a glass of wine. both on your body and your mind. The point is to find out what your course is like. you’ve got to train on hills. Trust me. and check it out in a car if you really want to be sure it’s a good route. you might be wondering if it’s okay to have a drink the night before. and for when you get back from your run so that you can eat immediately after you cool down. like most people choose to do. But they will be infinitely less stressful if you plan for them and respect them. you’d better spend some time in the woods on comparable trails to what you’ll be running. Plan to take it easy the night before. But don’t be afraid to mix in other types of terrain to round out your training. the first time you run a race of a new distance.
I find it easiest to think of this as three steps per second. for me and many others. I battled injuries constantly. and it’s not hard to line your steps up with a watch or a treadmill clock and groove this stride rate. For my first four years as a runner. MISTAKE #9: ASSUMING YOU DON’T NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FORM We all know how to run. if most of your training is on roads. the injuries just stop happening after that. and running mindlessly can only drive these bad habits deeper. quicker strides. As vegan ultrarunning legend Scott Jurek says in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body. It feels funky at first. it’s not quite that simple. it’s not uncommon to have developed some hitches in our giddy-up. but after several runs your body builds up the new muscles required to run this way and it begins to feel natural. most of the rest corrects itself. Page 12 . It’s amazing that one little adjustment can have such a huge impact on your running form.I’m sure I looked pretty awesome doing that – but when I finally did figure it out. Most of us sit at desks all day. right? We’ve been doing it since we were little kids chasing after the ice cream truck. and when we do finally decide it’s time to do something about our health and start running. a lot of form problems could be fixed with one simple trick.or treadmill runs will go a long way toward giving your feet a break from the pounding of the asphalt.” The standard for stride rate among elite athletes seems to be right around 180 steps per minute (that’s 90 each foot). And. These can slow us down or even lead to injury. Who needs instructions on how to put one foot in front of the other? Well. Take shorter. I tried everything from new shoes to stretching to walking around on my heels after every run -. “If you focus on higher stride rate.
Page 13 . and it’s not without some validity.MISTAKE #10: RUNNING TOO MUCH MILEAGE In the training for most long races.1 in your training. BEAT-UP CONVERSE ALL-STARS Seriously. The obvious one is that you don’t need to run the whole race distance on your own. without aid stations or crowd support to keep you going. Respect your feet and get yourself a decent pair of shoes. You don’t have to spend a lot on them. on race day. By pushing beyond that 80% mark only once. and many people get by on less. But at least pay a visit to a real running store. The recent minimalist shoe movement has certainly questioned a lot of what the running shoe companies have been telling us for years. so that you can make an informed decision about the investment. This offers several benefits. So you shouldn’t take any one person’s or company’s opinion as gospel. and the corresponding sense of pride and amazement when you’re done. I think your long run distance should peak around 10 miles. So for a half marathon. but at least learn what the options are and what each offers over a pair of allpurpose cross-trainers. you also save your legs lots of wear and tear. my favorite reason: Saving some miles for the race makes the accomplishment really special. If you don’t feel at least a few butterflies in your stomach at the start line. like the half marathon and beyond. and the first time you train for one.1 miles. you certainly don’t need to do 13. then you missed out on part of the magic that the whole experience offers. where most of them will get you on a treadmill and have a look at your stride before putting you in a pair of shoes. you’re going to be running 13. MISTAKE #11: TRAINING IN THOSE OLD. there’s no need to ever run more than about 80% of the distance in training. And finally.
your body will thank you. but be disciplined and give yourself this break. it’s also crucial to build in a reduced-mileage week every month or so during your training. Often. This “easy” week can be a chance to cross-train. that you’ll be losing. you’ll be so amped up about your training that you won’t even want to scale it back. a route.To end with a terrible joke: When the rubber meets the road. over 200 per day. that’s 1500 calories. Above all else. And when you come back. your training plan should be flexible for the same reasons.) So if you suddenly add 15 miles a week to your training. not only will your body have had a chance to heal any minor aches and pains. (That number may be more or less. pay attention to this when you decide what shoe to train in. When race day comes. depending on your weight and other factors. it comes down to what feels good on your foot. or even just to run slowly a few times without a watch. but your mind will be refreshed. While it’s important to space your workouts far enough apart to allow for recovery. If something starts to hurt.) MISTAKE #13: NOT EATING ENOUGH Let’s just say running a mile burns 100 calories. If your goal is to lose weight. (On another note. MISTAKE #12: NEVER TAKING A BREAK So many people don’t give their bodies a chance to rest and rebuild. do yoga. or a plan. not to push on with the schedule and risk a more serious injury. but I’m a strong believer that you’ll maximize your chances of successfully running a half marathon if your goal isn’t weight loss this first time around. Page 14 . a few days or a week off is often what you need. maybe that’s okay. stretch and do foam rolling.
even without meat. And yet I also really wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon (which would take a 3:10:59).So replace those calories with mostly whole. grains. so that your body can repair itself and build new muscle. and when you’re finished. It’s just a matter of having a good bank of meals you can rely on to meet your needs.you can get protein from vegetables. meat and dairy have a lot of protein. so that you come back strong when it’s time to run again. The amazing thing? It wasn’t until I went vegetarian that I was able to take the final 10 minutes off my marathon time that I need to get into Boston. nuts. but because I just didn’t want to eat animals anymore. Vegan registered dietitian Matt Ruscigno wrote an excellent guest post on No Meat Athlete about vegetarian protein. head over the recipes page to find some meals that will keep you going strong in your training. when some easy-to-digest processed foods get a pass). unprocessed foods (except around your workouts. MISTAKE #14: THINKING YOU NEED MEAT AND DAIRY TO GET THE PROTEIN YOU NEED In my mind. No doubt about it. So I could never make a meatless diet last while I had that belief. too. Check it out. not so much for health. But there’s nothing magical about animal protein -. this was the obstacle that prevented me from going vegetarian when I first tried to do it. running a 3:09:59 just six months after I stopped eating meat. and after eight years of coming up short. and seeds. I really wanted to stop eating meat. and thought I couldn’t do it without the protein I got from meat. Page 15 .
today. until this perfect day in the future when. but once you start. we put it off until things settle down. instead of waiting until the timing is perfect. we’ll have all the time in the world and no problems in our lives. We all have the bucket list. WHAT’S NEXT? It doesn’t end here. of things we want to do while we still can. written down or not. If running a half marathon is important to you. You know what would happen. and it’s for one pathetically simple reason. Once you had signed up.MISTAKE #15: NEVER SIGNING UP FOR THE RACE By nature. Or even right now. Let me ask you something. It will never be perfect. instead of waiting until that day when you have hours of time to twiddle your thumbs and do Sudoku puzzles. Instead. I’m just urging you to give yourself a reason to move. Page 16 . In a few days. I’m not saying you should do something stupid and sign up for a race that you can’t possibly be ready for in time. you’d have a reason to start training. depending on where you are now. that day might come sometime. you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. I’ll send you a little video I put together that’s all about the mental aspects of accomplishing a goal like this that might seem really far off. We never take the first step. Trust me. But most of us will never do a lot of them. for some inexplicable reason. how much would your chances of actually doing it increase if you were just do something crazy and sign up for one? Like. You’d have something at stake and a reason to make time for it (24 hours a week is all you really need). we humans are incredible procrastinators. but a half marathon won’t seem like nearly as much fun then as it does now.
nomeatathlete. visit http://www.nomeatathlete. or just to let me know what you thought of this report.Believe it or not. Don’t forget to check in at http://www.com/15-mistakesdownload to leave a comment with any questions.S.com P. I’m definitely not what you’d consider a “natural” runner – I truly believe that the only reason I was able to take so much time off my marathon to qualify for Boston was because I handled the mental strategy of getting from 4:52 down to 3:10 so well. The video puts all that in the context of half marathon training. And if you got it from someone else. (Oh. feel free to pass this report on to anyone who you think could use it. so I think you’ll get good tips from it that you can put to use right away. See you then! To your health. you can find more about that at http://www. and if you’re looking to run your first first full marathon as a vegetarian. Also.) Page 17 .com/marathonroadmap. Matt Frazier NoMeatAthlete.com/halfmarathon to get more information that will help you run your first half marathon.nomeatathlete.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.