On 2nd April it begins: our Keller Sports running pro Raphael M’Barek will be starting the half-marathon in Berlin. In this post, Raphael tells us how he is preparing for it and what goals he has set for himself. Apart from that, he also shares helpful tips for your next workout. Do you want to prepare for a running event but don’t know how to go about it? Don’t miss Raphael’s tips:

This is the first running event I’ve taken part in since the New Year run of 2016, and I can’t wait. The half-marathon distance is one of my favourites, as it is long enough for a constant running pace but short enough to keep up a good speed. The challenge for me is to estimate as best as I can how long I can keep up my fastest pace without absolutely falling apart at the 16th kilometre. This challenge makes the event more exciting, and right now I’m toying with the thought of breaking my own personal record of 1 hour 22 minutes. In order to achieve this, I have to run 21.1 km at a pace of 3:55 min/km, or rather approx. 15.2km/h.

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My training towards achieving this aim looks something like this: I base my workouts on three different distances - 10k, 13-14k and shorter 5 - 7k sprints. I manage 10k in around 42-46 minutes, 7.5 k in 27-29 minutes and 5k in 18-20 minutes (taking into account that I vary my speed on the treadmill at the gym).

What have I learnt since my first marathon in Hamburg? To incorporate uphill sections into my treadmill training in order to prepare for any hills or headwinds during the actual marathon. The full-body muscular challenge of running uphill leads to further valuable stimuli - both muscular and mental. An important aspect of half-marathon training is not only to have a basic level of endurance, but also to keep up a suitable pace for longer periods of time. This is possible by training over the distances mentioned above.

No matter how long it currently takes you to run any given distance between 5 and 14 k, choose a pace that will allow you to complete the route as quickly as possible without having to neglect your running time or having to constantly change your pace because you can’t keep up with the one you set yourself.

You can achieve anything you put your mind to! Just work it out as you go along and use a watch that measures your heart rate and speed. I’m currently using the Garmin Forerunner 735XT Bundle to follow my achievements and I’m really happy with it.

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Last but not least, don’t forget to go for some long runs too. During these you will lay the foundations for your basic endurance. Make sure you reduce your pace a little and adjust the distance to 25 - 30 k. For me, this would mean completing the run at around 4:30min/km. Integrate this kind of run often into your training plan - at least every two weeks if you are preparing for a half- or full marathon. Good luck to you all!

My current training week looks something like this:

Monday: 10 k at 4:00 - 4:20 min/km + weightlifting focused on upper body/torso

Tuesday: 13 k at 4:00 - 4:20 min/km + intensive stretching/Blackroll

Wednesday: 10 k in the morning at 4:30 min/km + 5 k with sprint intervals in the evening

Thursday: Swim 1.5 k + 1 hour indoor biking

Friday: 10 k at 4:00 - 4:20 min/km + weightlifting focused on upper body/torso

Saturday: 25 k at 4:30 - 4:35 min/km

Sunday: 10 k at an easy 4:45 min/km

Now it’s your turn. Set yourself realistic goals, believe in yourself and keep at it - nothing will stop you during your next half-marathon!