Tips on preparing for a half marathon from BYUH students and faculty

Written by: 
Jordan Cortez

Running a half marathon is simple with good preparation, sleep, and a positive attitude according to BYU-Hawaii students and faculty.

Kevin Schlag, director of the XTERRA Gunstock race and former cross country coach at BYUH, said finding a preparatory exercise program is not difficult and “will work if you follow it. Find one that makes sense to you and that you can remember.

“Also be flexible with your training. If you had to study all night before a big training run, change it up. If you have to skip a day, don’t worry too much. Of course, if you skip weeks at a time, that’s not going to help you either.”

Max Moncur, a junior studying finance from California and the current president of the Locahi Track Club, shared his training routine: “Try to run at least four to five times a week. Start small. Up your mileage from two to three miles a day to five to eight miles over time.”

Moncur also said that consistent, small improvements to your mileage are the key to finding success on race day.

Schlag noted how runners are sometimes surprised with the progress they make if they keep track of their miles. He also noted most training programs are roughly 12 weeks long, so new runners should prepare in advance but having 12 isn’t necessary.

For Leah Rasmussen, a sophomore from Alaska studying marketing, the upcoming Gunstock Ranch half marathon on Oct. 21 will be her first ever race. She found an eight-week program that fit her schedule and worked well for her.

Rasmussen shared her advice, “I would recommend finding a buddy to run with. Find someone who keeps you accountable and wants to see you succeed. The more the merrier!”

Preparing right before race day is vital, according to Moncur. “The day before a big race, drink a ton of water. If a runner waits until the day of the race to hydrate, they will be peeing all during the race, and that isn’t fun. Make sure to sleep enough and well. You do not want to have your body be exhausted.

“The night before a race, my go-to meal is always something with chicken, rice and beans. It gives me good, lean energy. When the morning of the race comes, I’ll do a big smoothie full of greens and fruits. I’ll add in some oatmeal too. This puts my body into a good place with enough energy to use while running.”

When asked about how running in Hawaii is different, Schlag said, “The air in Hawaii is thicker than most areas on the mainland. It’s more humid, and if you’re not used to running at sea level, it feels harder to run. You have to hydrate more. But you can run year-round, and it’s very beautiful.”

Schlag said, “If someone wants to learn more about themselves, their limits, and what’s possible for them to achieve, a half marathon is a great thing to do. Working hard for something and then accomplishing it can be a great way to increase self-esteem.”

According to Moncur, people without running experience should not be afraid to start. “Be positive. Lots of people focus on the thoughts of not being a good runner, but just do the best you can and enjoy it.”

Schlag said, “If someone wants to learn more about themselves, their limits, and what’s possible for them to achieve, a half marathon is a great thing to do. A half marathon is also great if someone wants to get into shape or just stay in shape.”

Rasmussen decided to try racing because she “really wanted to do something that would be challenging and something that would test my mental and physical limits. I really wanted to learn more about myself and what I’m capable of. Preparing for this race is giving me that.”

Schlag also noted that there are several races on Oahu for individuals to sign up for year round and even a few specifically not on Sunday. A list of races can be found at 

Date Published: 
Monday, October 16, 2017
Last Edited: 
Monday, October 16, 2017