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The final countdown is on – here are some training tips to get you to the start line

The timing clock is ticking and with just six weeks to go to JCP Swansea Half Marathon race day we have teamed up with two top athletes in their own right to give you a guide to that all important training advice for the six-week countdown.
If you haven’t signed up already then now is the time to do so, and if you are in training you can still benefit from these top tips to get you race ready.

Mara_Yamauchi_ASICS_AmbassadorMara Yamauchi is a British long-distance track and road running athlete, the UK’s second fastest female marathon runner of all time (2:23:12), and a two-time Olympian. Mara is an ASICS Ambassador and internationally recognised leading authority in the running world. Here are Mara’s top ten training tips:

  1. Running the distance: if you can, try to run the half-marathon distance in training at least once. That will give you the confidence of knowing you can complete the race.
  2. Speed-work: to improve your PB, at some point speed training is essential. For the half marathon, longer intervals are the top priority to build your speed endurance.
  3. Ready for the weather? Late June in the UK could be hot, cool, dry, raining, windy – you name it, the weather could do it! Think through how you can prepare best for these different scenarios.
  4. Run the course: being familiar with a course in advance helps enormously on race day. If practical, run the course before race day, or at least have a good look at the course map on the race website or on a map.
  5. Race day logistics: think through everything you’ll do on race day – what time to have breakfast, getting to the start, what you’ll wear, drinks, how you’ll get home afterwards, etc. If you’re well-organised, that’s less to worry about on race day.
  6. Practice eating & drinking: whatever you eat on race day before, during and after the race, is very individual. What suits one runner will be different to others. Practising is essential, so you know if it helps you to run well or not.
  7. Have a race plan: having a goal for the race is essential – it could be a certain time, to run the whole way, or just to complete it. When things start to get tough, your goal will motivate you to keep working hard and stay positive.
  8. Recovery afterwards: it’s easy to think only as far as the finish line on race day. But if you can plan your recovery – drinks, food, icing sore muscles, getting a good sleep, gentle exercise etc, your body will thank you for it later.
  9. Rest up for race day: in the final few days, you will not get any faster by doing more training. You need to toe the start line feeling physically and mentally fresh. So give yourself enough rest before the race to ensure this happens.
  10. Enjoy it! At the end of the day, running has to be enjoyable – if it isn’t, motivating yourself will be tough. So make the most of an exciting, challenging day, even if it involves some pain.

tashTASH SMITH, Swansea resident and couch to Marathon runner achieved her ultimate goal of running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year. Tash gives us her top tips for the six week build up to race day.

Time on your feet is vital – you should be averaging 15-20 miles across 3-4 runs per week. Ensuring that you include a long run once a week to get your body used to running those longer distances prior to race day.

Cross-Train – vary your training by adding in cross-training, whether that is using the elliptical trainer or stationary bikes in the gym, or simply using some weights to strengthen your muscles. Cross-training can improve your fitness, help with injury prevention and you will see a difference in your running fitness as a result.

Hydration – staying hydrated is an essential part of running, not just on race day but also during your training. Your core body temperature will increase during your runs prompting your body to keep cool by sweating. It is vital that those fluids are replaced. It is possible to over-hydrate so drink to thirst, replacing those fluids with small sips of water over a period of time.

Stick to what you know – with only 6 weeks to go you should have been training for the half marathon for some time, you should have settled into a pattern in your training and should know what works for you. Don’t start dramatically changing your training regime now, stick to what you know ensuring you’re hitting your mileage.

Run with friends – sometimes getting out the front door can be tough, why not get motivated by running with a group of friends. You don’t all have to run the same distance if you’re at different stages in your training, meet along a route where you can all cover the distance you need to individually cover. Running with friends will ensure you have company and encourage you to get those miles done.

Rest – don’t forget to rest! Your muscles will need time to recover especially after those long runs, resting will allow your muscles to recover and will help to prevent injury.

The JCP Swansea Half Marathon starts at 9.00am on Sunday 26th June in the heart of the city centre and takes runners on fully closed roads along the magnificent six-mile stretch of Swansea Bay towards The Mumbles and back.

Public places cost £33 for affiliated athletes and £35 for non-affiliated runners, which includes a fully marshaled course on closed roads, medal, technical t-shirt, on route entertainment, post-race massage and goody bag for all finishers.

Places are filling fast as the countdown to race day draws nearer, so to ensure you get your place and line up with thousands of others to take on Swansea go to

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