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Beginning Runner Training

Expert Panel Questions???

“I have never been a runner I am out of shape and attempting to train for a half marathon I am just now starting should I focus on keeping up a faster pace for shorter time or go for distance with a slower pace?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts)


If you’re just starting out as a first-time runner, you should make the establishment of a consistent training program your first priority. Find thirty minutes each day (six days each week, if possible) to set aside for your training. Don’t worry about pace or distance at first. In fact, you may need to do a combination of walking and running in order to get through thirty minutes. Before long, if you are consistent, you’ll be able to run comfortably for thirty minutes each day. As that begins to feel easy, add time to some (not all) of your weekly runs and see how your body responds to the increased workload.

Try not to skip days unless you need to recover from an injury. Instead, learn to listen to your body, running faster on days that you feel good and easy on days that you need to recover. Not every day should be a hard day. Besides keeping you healthy, this is important for your enjoyment of the sport. If you begin to dread the difficulty of a normal run, you’re working too hard.

If you’re a beginning runner training for a half marathon, you’ll eventually want to work a long run into your schedule once each week. This long run should be about 10-12 miles and should constitute about 20-25% of your weekly mileage. For example, if you run 10 miles on Saturday morning, you should average at least six miles each of the other five days for a total weekly mileage of 40.

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13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon

The UtahRUNNING.com Expert Panel received a request to provide a list of “7 things to do before running a half marathon,” so that is what I originally set out to answer in this article. However, while running with the high school girls I coach and discussing this topic with them, they helped me realize seven tips were just not enough. In fact, they insisted that I list 13.1 tips for preparing to run a half marathon (makes sense, right?) Thanks, girls, for the inspiration and for making me laugh everyday!

13.1 Tips to Consider When Running a Half Marathon:

1) Train Smart. Be consistent and gradually build your mileage. Work in some interval workouts, tempo runs, and long runs into your training regime.

2) Keep It the Same. The week of the half marathon is not the time to try something new. Don’t change what has been working for you. Obviously, your workouts should be lighter, but you should still run the days that you normally run, stretch, eat relatively the same, etc.

3) Hydrate/Sleep. Besides keeping your routine the same, it is also a good idea to put extra focus on being well hydrated (urine should always be clear) and to get plenty of sleep in the weeks prior to your big race.

4) Plan for Your Race. Before race day arrives, work out the details of your race in your mind. Visualize it–your pace, when to make a move, and how you will handle tough spots in the race (hills, mile 9/10, etc.). Consider different scenarios and how you will react to each one. Come up with some things you could tell yourself or remind yourself of when the pain starts to set in and you need some inspiration. Decide when you are going to refuel and know where the aid stations are in your race (For example: “There is an aid station at mile 7. I’m going to plan on taking an energy gel just before I get there). The night before race day eat a solid meal (pasta, rice, potatoes…whatever works for you). Make sure you don’t eat too late. I like to eat around 5:30 or 6:00 the night before to give my food plenty of time to digest before I go to sleep. The best way to know what and when to eat is to try different strategies with your training runs so you know what will work for you on race day. Have all of your race gear (shoes, clothes, number, energy gels, etc.) ready to go the night before, so you aren’t rushed in the morning.

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Here is a list of running clubs in Utah.  Many of these clubs have organized group runs on a regular basis.  Another option is to check with your local running stores.  They would be able to provide you with additional information regarding training group options in your area.

Sage to SuMMit

Nibley, UT



Sun and Snow Runners

Logan, UT


Golden Spike Track Club

Brigham City, UT



Ogden Running Club (ORCS)

Ogden, UT



South Weber Wind Runners

South Weber, UT


Summit Busters

Kaysville, UT


South Davis Road Runners

Davis County



Northern Utah Triathletes

Davis County



Salt Lake City Track Club




Salt Lake City Jeff Galloway

Salt Lake City, UT



USA Track and Field-Utah




Wasatch Athletics

Murray, UT

(801) 288-9555

Sojourners Running Club

Orem, UT


St. George Running Club

St. George, UT







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by on May.10, 2010, under Running Clubs, Training, Utah Running

Best Way to Recover After a Long Run

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “What is the best way to recover after a long run?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)


After completing a long run, your first priority is to REFUEL. Since your body’s muscles are depleted, it is important to get something in your body to begin the refueling process as soon as possible – the sooner the better but definitely within an hour. I approach Recovery Nutrition in stages, aim for 3 eating episodes over a four-hour period.

Stage 1: As soon as possible. Often this first eating episode involves a drink containing readily available-easy-to-digest carbohydrate with small amounts of protein (10-20g). The carbohydrate helps replenish depleted muscle stores and the protein helps initiate the muscle rebuilding process. Choices include sport drinks, smoothies, recovery drink mixes, or chocolate milk). Drinks serve the dual role of re-hydration and nutrient replenishment; however, don’t feel limited. Sport bars/gels, bagels, cereal, yogurt, crackers, and PB&J sandwiches are all examples of readily available carbohydrates, with some protein, that you should be consuming within 30 minutes of completing a long run. What you choose depends on where you finish your run, convenience, and how you feel. If your run is more than 90 minutes, you should also be consuming some carbohydrates during the run – this will hugely impact how you feel after the run and how quickly you recover.

Stage 2: Within 2 hours of completing your long run, aim to have a meal. This should be a balanced meal, replete with carbohydrate, protein, and small amounts of healthy fat.

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Dear Sore Muscles

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I’m 60 yrs old and my muscles are always sore after or sometimes during the run. I run about 45 to 60 minutes four times a week and weight train twice a week. What causes the soreness?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)


Dear sore muscles – there are many causes of more noticeable muscle soreness (myalgias) that occur with or after activity – one of which, of course, is your age but let’s not go there yet. Questions I would ask are the following: are you taking any medications, particularly those for blood pressure, cholesterol, restless leg syndrome or prostate symptoms. Cholesterol lowering medications in particular have been known to cause myalgias even months after a person has been taking them.

The most common complaint is a sense of having done a hard workout even when that hasn’t been the case. The muscles are often sore to touch and seem to cramp easily. Many blood pressure medications have a mild diuretic (water pill) as a component of their formula and these can affect important electrolytes necessary for effective muscle contractions such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. Others contain medications that cause blood vessels to respond more slowly to changes in muscle blood flow needs. Aside from medications, proper hydration is always a concern with muscle cramps as is adequate dietary sodium intake especially if you sweat heavily during exercise.

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Should I run a half marathon before a marathon?

Expert Panel Question???


“I’m planning on running the Ogden Marathon this May and am wondering about racing beforehand. Particularly, I’m wondering if I should do a 1/2 marathon race 6 weeks before the marathon or just use that half marathon as a training run?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)


The amount of time it takes to recover from racing is different for everyone. Some bounce back relatively quickly, while others recover more slowly. The general rule is that it takes about one day to recover for every mile that you race. So, it will take almost two weeks for you to be fully recovered from a half marathon.

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