Silverstone Half Marathon

First run in 2003, the Silverstone half marathon takes place at the historic Silverstone motor racing circuit.  With its March slot in the racing calendar, many people run the Silverstone half marathon as preparation for the London Marathon, which is run in April.

It's a mass participation race with over 5000 runners taking part each year, and has the unique twist of taking racers around the famous Formula 1 grand prix circuit, finishing in front of a large crowd at the grandstand.

The Silverstone half marathon is a great first half marathon for anyone looking to step up from 10k races, with a unique course and lots of other runners to encourage you when the going gets tough.

For anyone new to running, it is essential to allow your body the time to get used to running regularly before you start training for a race such as this. Most experts reckon it takes at least three months for the body to adjust to the stresses of running on a regular basis – only then should you start thinking about actually training for a distance race.

The 13.1 miles is often used by runners as a way to test the waters before running a full marathon – it's a challenge in itself to run a half marathon, and requires appropriate training, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for a race such as this.

If you are going to enjoy a long distance race, there is no substitute for putting in the miles in training.  Running regularly, and gradually increasing the miles you run each week is the tried and tested formula for preparing for a marathon or half marathon.

However, it's not simply a case of going out and running a few miles each day and hoping you'll do OK on race day.  It is vital to follow a proper training program that includes a variety of distances, run at different speeds, over different types of terrain.

A typical half marathon training program would find you running four days per week – that allows three days to recover and do other types of exercise.  In those four days, the most important run each week is the long run.  Whatever other types of training you do in the week, the one thing you can't miss is your weekly long run.

As you build your strength and stamina, you will gradually increase the length of your weekly long run, peaking somewhere between 10 and 12 miles a couple of weeks before the race.  These longer runs train both the body and the mind to run long, so that when the race comes you know that you will be comfortable simply completing the distance.