Half-marathon runners provide tips on how to train for the Longhorn Run

Jennifer Errico

Time is the enemy as the Longhorn Run approaches. On April 18, the 5K and 10K run around campus will draw both students and Austinites to race to the finish line.

With around six weeks left, there is still hope to maximize training to reach the finish line. The Daily Texan has compiled a list of advice on how to train to attain success.

Start slow

Katherine Babcock, an undeclared freshman and half-marathon runner, said developing a running habit starts with building the body up to avoid burning out, so it’s important to start out with low mileage at a slow pace. An example would be running one to three miles at a pace where a conversation can be held with someone, she said. 

Babcock said the body needs time to get accustomed to running and building endurance, otherwise injury is likely. 

Felicia Calo, an applied movement science senior and member of the Longhorn Run Committee, said the committee provides four training events for participants to get them motivated for the run. 

The first event, held on Feb. 24, was endurance training and included an obstacle course and a 3-mile run around campus, Calo said. The next training event is speed training and will take place on March 10.

“The training events are designed to help runners get prepared to achieve their goals, as well as bring everyone together as a community,” Calo said.

Maintain a schedule that includes a variety

It’s a common misconception that when training for a race, one should only run. Babcock said different forms of cardio, such as cycling and swimming, can also improve cardiovascular endurance while reducing impact on joints, which helps to prevent injuries. 

Babcock said she suffered two different stress fractures in one year from continually implementing running workouts, so now she includes a variety of cardio into her training.

Additionally, Calo said focusing on other fitness components such as strength and speed can improve running time. She said strength workouts are important to build leg muscles for running up hills and building arm muscles to pump the body through the last minutes of the race.

When implementing running workouts, maintaining a variety of training types such as interval, fartlek and continuous  running keeps things interesting.

Babcock recommends implementing interval training on Mondays and Wednesdays.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Babcock recommends continuous training by running three to five miles to build and maintain your pace.

It’s also important to plan recovery days into the training program. Babcock said she carves out a day, usually Friday, where she either rests or does yoga for stretching and muscle recovery.

Sleeping and eating right 

Nathan Hardham, chemical engineering freshman and half-marathon runner, said getting 9-12 hours of sleep a night is important in the repair of muscle tissue while training.

“The training that you’re doing is so intensive, you’re literally destroying your body, so you need sleep, otherwise your body doesn’t heal,” Hardham said. 

Hardham also said eating around 1,000 calories of carbs both two days before and the day before a race increases glycogen stores, providing runners’ muscles with enough energy to sustain them until they cross the finish line.