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File: Prepare as best as possible for your half-marathon

Posted by Jean Baptiste on

File: Prepare as best as possible for your half-marathon

Because running 21.0975 km cannot be improvised, the #TEAMSTIMIUM experts offer you this file which develops 5 major aspects of preparing for a half-marathon:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical preparation
  • Equipment
  • Health advice
  • Mental preparation

Let's go!!!


3 essential points for a successful half-marathon: training, recovery and obviously nutrition. The intake of calories, sugars whether quick or complex, proteins, vitamins & minerals play an essential role which we develop below:

1. The daily diet of the marathon runner

has. The marathon runner's energy intake

Energy needs: quantity

Daily, our diet helps meet our energy needs. Age, sex and size are factors that influence energy expenditure.

Our level of daily physical activity (NAP) also influences our needs: professional activity (sedentary, heavy-duty), modes of travel (car, bicycle, public transport, walking), additional activities (other sports, gardening, mechanics, etc.) . This NAP is obviously variable with intrinsic variability (it is not the same in an individual from one day to the next) and extrinsic (it is different from one individual to another).

A Runner starting his half-marathon preparation must take this into account to adapt his diet to his objectives without exaggerating:

  • Do not starve yourself under the pretext that half-marathon performance will be proportional to weight.
  • Do not overeat and eat more snacks at the slightest scheduled outing or long session.
  • Quite simply , listening to your hunger and managing your diet according to the planned sessions is essential.

Distribution during the day

The quality of nutrient intake (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and the right distribution of foods during the day depending on the training (fasting, long outing, interval training) must be adjusted. is not limited to blissfully opening our mouths in order to provide our body with the optimized calorie intake/expenditure ratio.

Don't focus on the calorie ratio but rather on the nutritional quality: that's your priority!!

Finally, when running, remember to chew your food well to avoid digestive problems. To fully understand the importance of taking your time and chewing our gum diligently, do not hesitate to read our dedicated article here .

b. The macronutrient needs of the marathon runner

The fuel for effort: carbohydrates!!

It is the essential long-term fuel and star nutrient for endurance athletes. It is the main daily food source.

There are two main types of carbohydrates:

  • Slow or complex carbohydrates which gradually diffuse throughout the body. They help to go the distance and replenish glycogen stores. Precious reserves to avoid the agonizing WALL of the 30th km, (whole grain products, legumes).
  • Fast or simple carbohydrates, quickly assimilated by the body and therefore quickly available. they should be favored around and during physical exercise (fresh fruit, white sugar, sodas). Exercise foods also fall into this category (gels, gums, isotonic drinks).

To help you maintain your glycogen reserves, at Stimium, we have developed the following products:

Note that the concept of glycemic index and load are more precise than the notion of “simple and complex” since the speed of assimilation of our ingestas can vary depending on:

  • other foods consumed during the same meal (the gastric bolus)
  • the fiber content of a food
  • the degree of maturity, cooking and processing of the same food.

Thus, whole grain rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice. And this same white rice has a lower glycemic index than puffed rice cakes.

The lower the glycemic index, the slower sugar arrives in the blood and therefore the more energy is gradually released into the body.

The structure of muscle: proteins!!

Proteins are an essential food in the marathon runner's diet and not reserved solely for the needs of sprinters, bodybuilders, team sports participants, etc. The runner too often forgets that muscle does not only have an explosive role.

During a long and intense effort (proteolysis), you put extreme strain on your muscle fibers. You must therefore rebuild them via a post-activity recovery ration and a daily diet provided with animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs, shellfish, dairy products) and plant proteins (legumes, soya, quinoa) with high biological value. That is to say limiting fat intake and composed of all 20 amino acids.

During a high training load phase, a protein intake of less than 1.25g of protein per kg of body weight per day exposes you to the risk of poor recovery and injuries. A protein deficiency can also lead to poor glycogen storage . Because don't forget that the fuel for effort is mainly contained in the muscles.

Stimium offers 3 main types of proteins Stimium® [C] Whey , Stimium® Iso Hwy or Stimium® VegPro to maintain a good protein intake sustainably during the training phase and better muscle regeneration.

Lipids: motor oil

The bane of the calorie hunter in search of sharpening for the good reason that 1 gram of lipids = 9 calories while 1g of proteins or carbohydrates = 4 calories, fats should certainly not be excluded from your diet. You just need to carefully select them.

A dual objective:

  • Limit saturated fats mainly from meat products (except oily fish) and fats (butter, cream, palm oil, coconut milk).
  • Favor unsaturated fats (including omega 3) of plant origin such as rapeseed oil, olive oil, flax oil, avocado, oilseeds (walnuts) and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines). We also offer a supplement: Stimium OMG3 with 1000g of omega 3, with a high dose of EPA/DHA and enriched with Vitamin E.

These fats constitute the sportsman's engine oil. They contribute to the maintenance of structures such as tendons, cartilage, etc. during repeated efforts and help maintain attention during exercise (cognition).

vs. Micronutrient requirements

The marathon runner burns more energy than the “Reference Man”. Its caloric needs are therefore logically multiplied. In preparation for a half marathon, the runner also consumes a large amount of vitamins and minerals . These non-calorie micronutrients are present in very small quantities in the body and each has a specific role. Some, for example, are valuable antioxidants, that is to say they fight against the stress that the body undergoes during intense sporting effort by playing the role of a protective barrier. This is the case for vitamins A, C, E but also minerals such as zinc, copper, chromium and selenium. To avoid these deficiencies, during the race we have developed our Stimium Boost or Stimium Pro-Nrj gums but also our isotonic exercise drinks Stimium Boost Powder , Rgn3 Reload and Rgn3 Clean-Up .

Vitamins and minerals come from different foods. If a varied and balanced diet is therefore supposed to provide you with all the necessary nutrients, it is possible that your body is subject to certain deficiencies and therefore needs to increase these intakes. Thus, certain metabolisms retain iron less well. Other runners have lower calcium levels in their bodies and are therefore more prone to fractures and joint discomfort. Moreover, we offer Stimium Joint Flex to help you protect your joints and ligaments.

To help you avoid deficiencies around races, we offer Stimium MVM with its 13 vitamins and 12 minerals as well as Vital LLR , the only product on the market combining vitamins, minerals, ginseng and tribulus and releasing its active ingredients in 5 minutes , 45 minutes and 8 hours!

To put the odds on your side, consider adding useful ingredients like citrulline malate . Active ingredients also allow you to approach your preparation more calmly with Vitamin C or D for example which contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system.

d. Water needs

The athlete is made up of almost 70% water. Hydration must therefore be considered a daily priority and not just during exercise.

The water protocol

Every day it is necessary to drink 1.5 liters to 2 liters of water. A quantity to which we add nearly 500 to 800 ml per hour of sports practice.

Developing a water protocol allows you to create a good distribution throughout the day and thus automatically hydrate yourself by always keeping a small bottle nearby.

Water must remain the main source of hydration compared to sugary drinks (soda and fruit juice), alcoholic and diuretic drinks (tea, coffee).

Also avoid drinking too much at the end of the day which could disrupt your sleep.

The different types of water

The waters allow, with a lower caloric intake, to supplement the mineral intake necessary for runners such as:

  • Magnesium : anti-fatigue and anti-cramp. Present in significant quantities, notably in Hépar® water, Courmayeur®, La Rozana®, Quezac®.
  • Calcium: preserving bone strength and muscle contraction. Present in quantity, notably in Contrex®, Courmayeur®, Hépar®
  • Sodium: To counterbalance losses linked to exercise. Present in quantity, notably in Vichy Célestins® water, St Yorre®.

2. Specific nutrition for marathon preparation

has. Nutrition before exercise

Meal before exercise

In order to avoid gastric discomfort - especially in the event of intense effort - the runner must favor a digestible diet, already tested and at least 3 hours before the start of the session or competition.

Avoid meals that are too fatty, too spicy and sources of fiber in large quantities to limit the risk of certain gastrointestinal disorders (nausea, gastroesophageal reflux, vomiting, bloating, intestinal burns).

The cake of effort:

Consuming an exercise cake is an excellent alternative to the last meal or breakfast before exercise because it can be consumed up to 1.5 hours before exercise and will meet the energy needs of exercise while limiting the risks of gastrointestinal disorders.

You can find these cakes in the form of powder to reconstitute in stores or make it yourself very easily in 30-40 minutes including cooking.

Recipe for Effort Cake developed by Marie-Caroline SAVELIEFF, Dietitian Sports Nutritionist

The homemade sports cake will meet 2 essential objectives:

- Rapid and optimized digestibility since it can be consumed up to 1h30 before exercise, accompanied by a fluid intake (water, tea, etc.) and why not a 100% fruit compote.

- An energy supply meeting the needs of the athlete.






White wheat flourT45, T55


Whole wheat flour T110, T150

20g (5 units)

Walnut powder (whole nuts)


Whole egg


Egg white

1 ( 11g)

Packet of yeast

70g (2)

Liquid honey (soup spoons)

80ml (2 units)

100% pure orange juice (squeezed clementines)

200g (2-3)

Raw grated carrots (medium carrots)

30g (3)

Raisins (coffee spoons)

1 tablespoon

Cinnamon powder


1.Preheat the oven to 180°C (Thermostat 6)

2.Peel and grate the carrots.

3.In a salad bowl (or mixer), mix all the ingredients: flour, walnut powder, baking powder and cinnamon.

4.Then add the eggs one by one then the honey to finish with the orange juice.

5.Once the mixture is homogeneous, add the grated carrots and the raisins (only the raisins should not be mixed).

6.Pour into 6 small molds and bake for 25 minutes. (Increase cooking time by about 10 minutes if you only have a large pan).

7.The cake is cooked when, when you insert a knife into its center, the blade comes out without liquid batter.

8.The cake will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

9.It is possible to freeze it in individual portions once cooled to take it out the day before the next tasting.

10.The cake can also be used as a snack in case of late training at the end of the day.


  1. Flours:

--> Possibility of using basic household flour if you no longer have any other flour in reserve. (The light intake of wholemeal flour, in particular minerals including magnesium, limits the risk of cramps during exercise without creating transit problems because the ratio of wholemeal flour to white flour is low).

--> Possibility of replacing the 50g whole wheat flour with gluten-free flour. But not all flours because gluten is essential for the cake to rise.

  1. Oilseed powder:

--> Possibility of replacing the nut powder with another powdered seed: almond, cashew, peanut, sesame... But nuts offer the best intake of omega 3. In case of specific needs, you can always take Stimium OMG , the Omega 3 Stimium doses are 1000mg and very rich in EPA/DHA!

  1. Sweet product:

--> Possibility of replacing honey with fructose, agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut syrup or sugar.

--> The darker the color of the honey, the richer it will be in taste and above all rich in minerals of interest to athletes (magnesium, potassium). Ex: chestnut, buckwheat, heather honey.

  1. Juice :

--> Possibility of replacing the orange juice with grape juice, apple juice always 100% pure juice or a home-pressed juice.

  1. Dried fruits:

--> Possibility of replacing the raisins with another dried fruit (cranberries, prunes, dried apricots in pieces, dates, figs in small pieces).

  1. Spices :

--> Cinnamon is not essential and will be dosed according to personal taste. However, it will have a satiating power.

Let your imagination speak: 4 spices, fenugreek, anise, rose powder... But be careful, the spices must be powdered and tested because personal tolerances may vary.

The snack before exercise

A snack before exercise is not obligatory and is not automatic unless you are a high-level athlete with a very high training load.

However, consuming a compote or a very digestible biscuit 1 hour before exercise (gingerbread or rice cake) can supplement an insufficient intake during the previous meal and provide a quickly available source of energy.

b. Nutrition during exercise


From 45 minutes to 1 hour of running outing, hydration is necessary at a rate of 500 to 800 ml per hour of effort.

The runner should regularly consume 3-4 sips of temperate water.

Carbohydrate intake and isotonic drinks

The marathon runner must provide his body with a carbohydrate intake during his event and during his training, as soon as the running outing exceeds 1h15-1h30.

This carbohydrate intake aims to maintain blood sugar levels and limit glycogen loss in order, in particular, to avoid the famous “wall” of the marathon.

Carbohydrate intake must be regular every 40 to 50 minutes and always accompanied by water. A sodium intake is also necessary to compensate for sweat losses, especially during extreme heat.

Finally, it is imperative to test exercise foods (gums, gels, drinks, bars) before the D-day of the marathon. We will obviously recommend Stimium Boost Powder for a complete recharge in the bottle with carbohydrates and vitamins and our Stimium® Boost and Stimium® Pro-Nrj Gums, and Stimium® Rgn3 Reload or Stimium® Rgn3 Clean-Up to restock vitamins and minerals.

vs. Nutrition after exercise

The recovery ration: the anabolic window

Just after running training or competition, the runner benefits from an optimal metabolic window to supply cells with the glycogen and proteins consumed during exercise. The body then effectively captures the nutrients it needs to recover and, thus, avoid a decline in physical or moral form.

For this purpose, provide a recovery ration called a carbohydrate-protein ration . It must consist of good hydration, combined with a source of fast proteins (low-fat or lactose-free dairy products, hemp vegetable drink) and carbohydrates (fruit compote, drinking yogurt, fresh or dried fruit). Consume it ideally within ½ hour after exercise. For this purpose, Stimium offers a unique Stimium® Iso Carb Mix , to reconstitute these glycogen and protein sources, with protein isolate/glucose/fructose.

A magnesium intake can also prove to be a valuable aid. We find this unique composition Citrulline Malate and Magnesium in our sticks with Stimium® Mc3 .

d. The week before the marathon: glycogen storage

The week before the marathon, the athlete's diet must allow good storage of the fuel for the effort: glycogen. An obligation which must take into account the tolerances of the athlete in order to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort detrimental to performance, whatever the objective or level. Avoid any diet that is too fatty, too rich in fiber, too spicy or unusual.

The future marathon runner must therefore ensure a good intake of cereal products , sources of long-term energy, mainly during the last 3-4 days before the competition.

Protein intake must be maintained but meat products must be low in fat and accompanied by low-fat sauces, favoring vegetable oils in reasonable quantities (olive, rapeseed, flax, walnut oil). Raw vegetables and fruits are also consumed in small quantities because they can accelerate intestinal transit, especially during periods of pre-race stress.

Of course, hydration should not be neglected . During this period, choose spring or tap water (certain mineral waters accelerate transit). Three grams of water are necessary to store 1g of glycogen so always keep a bottle of water nearby.

The week before the marathon, the marathon runner can switch to a modified carbohydrate loading diet called the adapted Scandinavian dissociated diet . This diet initially excludes carbohydrate sources and then reintegrates them during the last 4 days, in order to create a carbohydrate rebound conducive to glycogen storage. Before adopting this Scandinavian dissociated diet, which is very specific, it is recommended to consult a sports dietitian who will offer you a plan adapted to your habits so as not to disrupt your transit.

e. The place of complementation

A balanced daily diet meets the needs of the general population.

A normally active individual able to adapt his diet to his energy needs both in quantity and quality (protein intake, quality of carbohydrates, mainly unsaturated fats, cereal products source of fiber and vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, etc.) can therefore do without food supplements.

 But it is clear that our lifestyles, our level of physical and sporting activity, our personal and professional obligations as well as certain intolerances can expose us to nutritional imbalances passengers.

Dietary deficiencies and excesses can expose the runner to to difficulties during his marathon preparation.

Food supplements prove useful in different areas:

  • Around sports practice, you can consume supplements such as cake before exercise with rapid assimilation, carbohydrate intake during exercise, recovery rations.
  • Prevention and limitation of inconveniences linked to exercise: joint, tendon, ligament and muscular discomfort linked to the repetition of the runner's movements. To help you strengthen your joints we have developed Stimium Joint Flex .
    Plan an intake of vitamins, minerals, or even amino acids for a little boost Stimium BCAA Instant , or Stimium MVM with its 13 vitamins and 12 minerals or Vital LLR .
  • Sharpening because the half-marathon being a sport, excess weight limits performance and can damage the joints of the lower limbs.

Physical preparation

 To progress, you must give yourself the means to succeed. This involves an increase in volume and intensity. The physical preparation of the runner encompasses different forms. This includes jogging, speed work, general physical preparation (GPP) and running tactics.

 The 4 pillars of the marathon runner:

  1. Runner's displacement, VO2 Max Vs VMA
  2. Endurance or the ability to run for a long time
  3. Strength
  4. Race management

1. VO2 Max and VMA

Maximum Oxygen Volume ( VO2max ) is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body can absorb during intense exercise. The higher this index, the greater the abilities of the runner. This measurement, which is on average 45 ml/kg/min in men and 35 ml/kg/min in women, can only be obtained in the laboratory during a scientific test.

Endurance sports such as athletics or cycling develop this capacity, but it is cross-country skiing that wins the prize with values ​​that can exceed 90 ml/kg/min!

The VO2 Max makes it possible to precisely determine the Maximum Aerobic Speed ​​(MAV), well known to runners to calibrate the speed of their intervals for example. This index, easier to obtain through field tests set up by a trainer, can take several forms. The best known, the “Léger Boucher test” , consists of placing blocks on an athletics track (400m) every 50m. At each whistle from the coach, who thus sets the pace to follow, the runner must be at the height of one of the blocks. Every 2 minutes, the speed increases by one kilometer per hour. When the runner is no longer able to follow the pace imposed by the whistle, he notes his position. His VMA is that of the last successful level.

A simpler test, the “half Cooper” consists of covering the greatest distance possible in 6 minutes. In this case, the working time will be close to the VMA support time.

To improve your VMA , run short intervals between 90 and 105% of your maximum aerobic speed. The best known method is that of 30/30 fractions which consists of running for 30 seconds at a sustained speed then recovering during the same period of time.

2. Endurance

The endurance index corresponds to the ability to run for a long time at a constant speed. This index conditions performance in the same way as VO2 Max. There are many calculators on the internet which allow you, by entering your VMA and one of your times in a competition, to obtain this endurance index.

The question is: “how to improve this endurance index?” »

To improve your endurance, run for long periods and at a speed close to 65% of your VMA. This strengthens your lipid system and accustoms your body to “digging” into lipids when carbohydrate reserves are exhausted, as is the case during a half-marathon. Long outings improve the body's ability to use fat as fuel (lipolysis).

Still to improve your endurance, work “at threshold”, that is to say at 85% of your Maximum Aerobic Speed ​​(MAV). In this new fraction work, the running times are longer with, for example, sessions of 3 x 10 minutes with 3 minutes of recovery. Some coaches recommend running these fractions at the pace chosen for the marathon, or around 80% of the VMA.

3. Strength

Two types of physical preparation coexist in athletics. We are talking about general physical preparation (PPG) or specific physical preparation (PPS) . In the first case, it is a question of developing the physical qualities used to maintain the body in effort through core training or force production, all in an aerobic sector.

For the specific preparation, we are in a development more focused on the qualities specific to running such as dynamic sequences of lunges, jumping squats, burpees, etc... in this type of circuit training, the athlete is in a sector at threshold or anaerobic (between 85 and 100% of its maximum heart rate FCM).

Circuit training is a succession of exercises requiring the upper and lower body over a very short period of time, generally 30 seconds or 1 minute, with identical recovery times.

Preparation must, in all cases, take into account the basic physiological principles of the runner and in particular, as emphasized by Doctor Jacques Turblin in his book “ Doctor, I run ”:

  • The essential role of oxygen in long-term exercise. The body has the possibility of increasing its energy output in relation to this oxygen consumption through multi-weekly training where endurance racing must dominate.
  • The cellular composition of muscle, essentially made of three types of muscle fibers, slow, fast and very fast twitch. These three families of fibers function according to different biochemical mechanisms:
  • Slow muscle fibers = Endurance work aerobically and are developed by low intensity and prolonged effort (> 45 mins).
  • Fast muscle fibers = Resistance work in lactic anaerobic and are developed by an intense and short effort (30'' to 5 mins).
  • Very fast muscle fibers = Speed ​​work in lactic anaerobic and are developed by very intense effort (6'').

To function, muscle uses two main energy substrates: carbohydrates and lipids.

  • Exercise performed at low intensity promotes lipolysis, that is to say the use of lipids.
  • Intense exercise mainly promotes the use of carbohydrates.

The best muscular performance is therefore obtained by training which requires the activity of these three types of fibers.

4. Race management

Race management, or race intelligence, consists of determining the right race pace, but also the strategy to adopt in a half-marathon (linear race, negative split , etc.). Among beginners (and not only that…) the most common mistake is to start too quickly to build up a lead that you can draw on when things become difficult. Except that it doesn't work: every second run at too high a pace in the first half of the race is paid "cash". You must therefore start cautiously, on the basis of your (realistic) time defined in training.

 What warm-up before a race?

There is no need to warm up in a traditional way before a half marathon, unless you are aiming for a great start. For the majority of runners , it is necessary to wake up the muscles which begins as soon as they get out of bed. A self-massage is an excellent activator of the cardiovascular system. It helps activate blood flow and at the same time create muscle awakening.

To get to the race, you probably have to walk. Then comes the waiting and the trampling. Sometimes this wait can exceed an hour. In this case, small jumps on the spot and circular movements with the arms are welcome. These little exercises are all the more necessary when the temperature is low. On the other hand, if it is hot, or even very hot, stay calmly where you are.

In any case, cover the first few kilometers at a moderate pace to allow you to gradually reach your cruising speed.

 If you're doing your first half marathon, don't spoil the party with a goal. Run with your eyes wide open and enjoy the atmosphere. You won't have two chances to run like this without constraints because, afterwards, whether you admit it or not, you will always try to do better! :)


Preparing for - and succeeding in - a half marathon requires careful nutrition, a well-prepared body... and well-chosen equipment! We think about the choice of shoes, of course, but also clothing, protection and the now essential high-tech accessories. Here are the tips from our experts in the field...

1. Textile, running clothing

Layers (1-2-3)

The principle of 3 layers of running textile will allow you to stay dry while maintaining an optimal body temperature, whatever the weather conditions.

All of these 3 layers must be made of breathable textile, meaning it allows perspiration to escape to the outside. We then speak of technical fabric, as opposed to cotton clothing for example which absorbs water without evacuating it.

The principle of 3 layers:

  • Layer 1: transfer of perspiration from the skin to the other layers.
    It prevents the feeling of cold and dries quickly. The hydrophobic fibers used are, as desired, polypropylene, chlorofibers, polyester, acrylic and sometimes nylon. Tank tops, short and long sleeve t-shirts, as well as underwear and long johns, shorts and corsairs make up this range.
  • Layer 2: sweat transfer and thermal insulation to maintain a constant body temperature in cold conditions. Its breathable function avoids creating a hammam effect. The long-sleeved insulating t-shirt, like the fleece sweater or even the sleeveless sweater, always in fleece, form this family.
  • Layer 3: protection against the elements (rain, wind, snow). The most expensive and the most technical. There are 2 main families: induction (glued to the fabric of the clothing) or Gore-Tex (naturally waterproof membrane due to its construction). The latter has a longer lifespan than induction, from which heat-sealing can suffer due to the number of washes.

Layer 3 does not always have to be waterproof. It can simply be windproof or Wind Stopper . It does not protect against rain but, as its name suggests, its membrane cuts wind and thus helps maintain an optimal body temperature (36-38°C). It concerns jackets and certain long johns.

2. Running shoes

The Runner 's first tool, the choice of running shoe is obviously essential and individualized depending on the stride, speed, practice area and distance.

When preparing for a half-marathon, it is strongly recommended to wear two pairs of shoes and especially not to try out your running shoes during a long outing or a specific objective.

Running shoes are classified according to the type of correction.

  • Universal: wear of the center of the forefoot and the outer heel (50% of runners).
  • Pronator: wear mainly on the inner edge (45% of runners).
  • Supinator: wear of the outer edge of the forefoot and the outer heel (5% of runners)

If you use corrective insoles, automatically opt for universal shoes.

The drop may require special attention. It is defined as the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot of the shoe. The lower the drop and therefore the flat sole, the more stress is placed on the calves and Achilles tendons. If there is a desire to transition, the change must be very gradual because the risk of injury is significant.

3. Protections

When preparing in cold weather, in the early morning or during a warm-up, protection of the extremities is often essential.

Note for example that 30% of the heat produced by the body escapes through the head!

Likewise, in hot weather hyperthermia can be avoided via suitable protection which can be humidified in order to maintain body temperature.

In terms of thermal and solar protection we distinguish:

  • The head: the hood, the hat, the cap, the visor, the headband covering the ears. The buff can act as headgear as well as neck cover.
    These accessories can be waterproof, windproof, insulating against heat, cold or sun.
  • Hands and forearms: gloves, mittens, mittens, terry cuffs, forearm cuffs.
  • Glasses: lenses can combine solar correction and visual correction. Some running glasses have interchangeable lenses depending on the weather conditions (yellow lenses for gray weather, polarized to avoid reflections, neutral for the sole purpose of protection from bad weather).

4. Hydration bags

These are water bottles, soft flasks or bags containing a hydration bag to be chosen according to personal comfort, the feeding zones which sometimes make this ballast unnecessary and the race regulations (certain events do not authorize water bags). back during the race for safety reasons - check with the organizer before departure).

5. Electronics / high-tech

The watches

The choice of watch depends on your practice. The more sophisticated it is, the higher the number of measurements and often, the higher the price.

The main thing is that the information given interests you and above all that you manage to use it without reading the instructions each time you go out. ;)

There are three main types of watches:

  • Stopwatch watch : calculates practice time.
  • Heart rate monitor watch: measures heart pulsations (pulse) in order to run in a specific target zone, depending on the running and weight loss objective. It thus makes it possible to measure progress and state of form during marathon preparation. Heart rate measurement is carried out either via a belt worn at chest level, or directly via a sensor located on the back of the watch.
  • GPS cardio watch: this watch instantly captures satellite signals and therefore your geographic position. The GPS watch can calculate your distance traveled, average speed, instantaneous speed, as well as elevation gain and loss.

Some watches have specific dedicated options:

  • For multisport: waterproofing, detection of swimming movements, cadence sensor for cycling and triathlon.
  • On the trail: barometer, altimeter, pedometer, mapping.
  • For training planning: maximum heart rate, target zones, personal trainer, training programming, performance anticipator.
  • To optimize the stride: pelvic oscillation, stride length.
  • For weight loss: calories burned, percentage of fat mass eliminated.
  • Practical: return to starting point, touch screen, route recording.

 GPS watches have a PC connection via USB, infrared, WI-Fi or Bluetooth and thus enable the transfer, storage and analysis of training and racing data.

Running apps

Running applications complement the information provided by your watch. They also have the ability to compare and share your running outings with your social network, in particular offering to challenge your athletic friends on certain known route segments. Some of the most popular ones include RunKeeper, Runtastic, Strava and Nike+Running.

Electro stimulators

Electrostimulation is an electrical stimulation device intended for recovery, muscle strengthening or rehabilitation initially reserved for physiotherapy practices.

Opt for a quality device dedicated to athletes and don't let yourself be tempted by cheaper products intended for weight loss and without any real action.

The electrostimulation device complements running or core training and does not replace it.

MP3 headphones

The role of the MP3 audio headset is to punctuate your session, or to disconnect you from the outside, particularly during a session on the mat. Make sure, when going out for outdoor running, that you do not put yourself in danger by keeping an ear out for outside noise.

The choice of helmet responds to 3 main factors:

  • Practicality: lightness, support (in-ear, headband), material (silicone), transmission (Bluetooth, wired), autonomy.
  • Water resistance: resistance to perspiration, bad weather, washing
  • Connectivity: remote control, reception of phone calls, the presence of a virtual trainer with voice coaching.

 Health advice

Preparing for and participating in a half-marathon involves sustained effort and is therefore far from trivial from a medical point of view. The #TEAMSTIMIUM experts remind you of the essential rules to follow in order to engage in this project in complete safety.

1. From a medical point of view

The certificate of no contraindication to the practice of competitive running

Both regular and new marathon runners are no exception to an immutable rule in France: the presentation of a medical certificate stating that there is no contraindication to competitive running.

This document must be drawn up by a doctor and dated less than one year ago.

Note that FFA licensed practitioners are an exception since only the presentation of the license for the current year is sufficient. In fact, their medical certificate is valid for 3 years, as long as they remain licensed during this period.

This key, which allows organizers to cover themselves in the event of an accident, opens the first door to your registration for a marathon.

Exercise test (VO2max, VMA)

The stress test, developed in our chapter on physical preparation, has no direct impact on final performance. However, it allows the athlete to evaluate their physical abilities at any given moment and, thus, to construct an individualized training plan. It therefore limits the risks of overtraining.

This test also makes it possible to detect possible cardiac pathology, which may prove to be a contraindication to marathon running.

Body composition analysis

This analysis goes beyond the limited concept of weight on the scale.

When seeking to sharpen up in marathon preparation, the athlete must strive not to lose kilos, but to reduce his percentage of fat mass, while maintaining his muscle mass.

Note that commercial consumer scales are not reliable, with biases being linked in particular to the level of hydration. So contact a healthcare professional with appropriate equipment (Biody-Xpert, DEXA).

The blood test

The blood test is ideally carried out before marathon preparation in order to anticipate the risks of deficiencies which could jeopardize your objective.

Indeed, anemia, a significant iron deficiency synonymous with constant intense fatigue and lack of oxygenation of the cells (a shame for a marathon runner), cannot see its level return to normal before 6 to 8 weeks.

This biological assessment is prescribed by the sports doctor: only he is able to ideally guide the needs (ferritin, serum calcium, zinc, etc.).

2. From a paramedical point of view


The sports physiotherapist should not be systematically considered as a necessity, but respond to a specific request (muscle, joint, tendon, ligament).

It therefore maximizes rehabilitation, motor recovery, healing and can limit inflammatory risks via massages and specific tools (electrostimulation, k-tapping).


The sports osteopath works on joint and muscular flexibility undermined by repeated effort.

As a preventative measure, a regular visit helps rebalance the different body structures which could cause long-term pathologies.


The sports podiatrist acts on two points:

  • Pedicure in order not to create or treat inflammation and friction (optimized nail cutting, limitation of calluses, blisters, sweating).
  • Posture correction via analysis of stride during exercise with prescription, if necessary, of tailor-made foot orthoses (postural, thermoformed).


The sports nutritionist dietitian determines, using an individualized nutritional assessment, your risks of energy, water, macro and micro nutritional deficiencies and excesses.

It guides you towards optimizing your daily diet, but also before, during and after sporting activity. The objectives are multiple: facilitate recovery and chain training, limit gastrointestinal problems, and avoid the famous “wall” of the Marathon.

At the same time, during follow-up, it regularly assesses your body composition, particularly when seeking to sharpen or preserve muscle mass.

3. Additional methods


We can distinguish between whole body cryotherapy and cryo-cabin cryotherapy. It is characterized by exposure to intense cold (-110 to -140°C).

Cold therapy has two main objectives:

  • Pain relief, reduction of edema (inflammation and muscle damage).
  • Helps with recovery by improving blood circulation and therefore limiting aches.


These boots, which are preferred for use by physiotherapists, have two functions:

  • Stimulation of blood exchanges . Thus, in the event of edema following a sprain, they drain the latter by limiting swelling of the ankle or knee.
  • Lymphatic reflux . In the case of traumatic muscle injury such as a strain, it helps accelerate healing by bringing blood to the level of the injury.

Altitude training / Hyperbaric chambers

Altitude training increases aerobic capacity via an increase in hematocrit levels. The body adapts to compensate for the depletion of oxygen (related to altitude) by producing a greater quantity of erythropoietin (EPO) and thus increases its number of red blood cells.

These physiological changes are activated from 1800m. It is necessary to spend 3 weeks at altitude in order to optimize the effects.

Aqua jogging

Aquajogging is defined as the practice of running in an aquatic environment with the aim of limiting joint shock. It is especially recommended for rehabilitation purposes, during an injury involving a period of stopping practice.

Aquatraining is carried out in a series of round trips. It is necessary to invest in a belt that allows you to stay vertical and run in the water.

Mental preparation

Genetics, training and diligence are essential criteria to prepare the runner for competition. However, the runner is not always rewarded for his efforts. The pressure of the goal sometimes annihilates the months of training. Good mental preparation can help overcome these difficulties.

 You spend months or even years preparing for a goal. You apply yourself during each of your training sessions. However, the competition result does not reflect the expectations and hopes harbored during this preparation phase. You've increased your stamina and physical toughness, but what about your mental toughness?

It is difficult if not impossible to quantify mental toughness. Some are more “tough” than others. This observation should not be inevitable: it is possible to progress in this area so that the mind dominates the body.

For years, it was the coach who played the role of confidant, psychologist, motivator, trainer... now, there is an expert for each area. For a decade, the greatest athletes have been accompanied by a mental trainer. Some, like Teddy Riner, pay tribute to him regularly (see Meriem Salmi, in “How I helped Teddy Riner build a mind of steel” ). And if, for others it is still a secret subject or even downright taboo, it is no longer rare to see simple runners call on a mental coach to overcome their fear of losing, failing or winning…

Bouabdellah “Bob” Tahri , specialist athlete in the 3,000m steeplechase (8min 01s 18) and French marathon champion, has not yet said his last word and is preparing for the end of his career some chronometric highlights over distances like the half or the marathon. Almost 40 years old, however, he knows that most of his career is now behind him. He is therefore preparing for his new professional life, as he has always done in competition: “go hard or go home” . Already holding a 2nd degree FFA coaching diploma, he has now created his training center in Iten in Kenya and obtained a university diploma (DU) in “nutrition” and “physical preparation”. Insatiable, he is preparing another DU “coaching and mental performance”. It is on this specialty that the champion gives us his advice.

1. Definition of mental preparation

Mental preparation is a set of direct or indirect techniques aimed at enhancing the athlete's psychological potential. It has a single objective: to optimize the athlete's performance. Mental preparation refers to procedures and strategies to obtain this improvement in the athlete's performance.

For Bob Tahri, the marathon, due to the physical demands it requires, is the most difficult discipline for the Runner to manage, particularly due to the psychological aspect necessary to achieve his goal. Preparing for this test requires discipline, rigor, but also and above all willpower. This state of mind that you forged during training, during which you listened to your body and tried to push your limits, both physical and mental, will serve you well during the competition.

2. Methodology for the marathon runner

  • Set a realistic goal and focus on it. Do not set too ambitious goals because it generates stress and anxiety, which is counterproductive to serenity and performance.
  • The key to success is being able to anticipate sensations and consequences. You have to have control of your mind to better control your body. Never forget that the head is in charge!
  • Mental imagery work during training by imagining yourself in the race, in the difficulty. It is interesting to divide the race into four parts, without losing sight of the overall objective that the marathon represents. Set goals throughout the course such as arriving fresh at the 10th km, passing in an acceptable time at the 15th , knowing that it will become difficult at the 18th km and imagining that each stride of the last part brings you closer to the goal. arrival. By taking the race step by step, it is easier to plan than when considering overall management of the 21 km.
  • The runner must have complete confidence in their preparation but also in their equipment. He must feel complete peace of mind about the accessories that accompany him on his journey. Shoes, shorts, tank top, etc… without forgetting your running food. Absolutely everything must be tested and validated during training.

 The implementation of these strategies aims to improve performance and allow the runner to achieve its objective.

3. The keys to a successful half marathon

  • Do not underestimate or overestimate yourself. Stay in the “real” and not in a hypothetical victory or underperformance.
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques help you release tension and anxiety.
  • It is important to put concentration into training, to be conditioned to achieve your goal. This involves your outings, but also your lifestyle (diet, sleep, recovery).
  • If you are lucky enough to have a coach, he must be your guide and you must trust him completely. You should not choose from the sessions only those that interest you, because they all have an important role in achieving your goal. The relationship that develops between you and your coach must be sincere and honest.

4. Conclusion

Mental preparation plays as important a role as physical preparation. It is completely part of overall performance planning. It is by increasing psychological potential that we get the most out of our training. Contrary to popular belief, mental preparation is not only used to solve problems but also to optimize performance as a whole.

 You now have everything you need to best prepare for your half-marathon. Do not hesitate to reread this file regularly to ensure optimal preparation and make race day a great conclusion to several months of hard work.

Above all, don't forget to have fun in what you do. Don't let stress and anxiety take over.

You are ready to experience a great race!

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