I have had a few readers leave comments asking me how I train for half marathons. So I decided to write a post about it in case more people out there were interested. Let me just preface this by saying – Running is a hobby. I am in no way informed enough to be an expert on the topic. I am just here to pass along some info and tips from my own personal experience.
For those of you out there who are beginners…I mean straight up, “I can’t even run a mile without stopping,” beginners…I have been there. It is possible to go from no miles to 13.1 miles. My first piece of advice is to not look at the big picture. Tackle the miles a little at a time. The best way to slowly build up your mileage base is with a beginners plan.
I think Jeff Galloway has an awesome approachable method that can turn any non-runner into a racer. His plan slowly builds you up from run/walking a few miles to completing 13.1 miles.
Galloway’s plan makes it so that you are only running three days a week, so your life is taken over by training. The plan is long but it allows you to slowly increase your miles without overdoing it. I am a big advocate of this training plan for beginning runners.
If you are looking for a shorter plan with actual mileage on weekdays, here is a good one from Marathon Rookie.
This plan is shorter so it includes one more day of running, and it builds up the mileage a little quicker. The second plan may be good for someone who already has a bit of a running base and is looking for a way to build it up safely and effectively.
I think the key to training for a half marathon is consistency. You cannot expect to run a good race without proper training, so I like the idea of having some sort of plan. It helps keep you accountable and gives you small goals every week.
Personally, I am also a big fan of cross training on non running days. I get bored of doing nothing but running, so I also like taking a spin class or going to body pump. This helps break up the monotony of training. Here is a plan from Shape that allows for two cross training days, three running days, and two rest days.
Rest days are extremely important when training for a race. You are putting your body through something it’s never experienced before. So taking the time to heal and rest will improve you as a runner and prevent injuries.
Along with having a plan, it is important to learn how your body responds to longer runs so when race day comes you are prepared. This includes proper fuel, plenty of hydration, and clothing. Your training runs are when you experiment. Can you eat before a run? Do you warm up quickly? Do you need a long time to stretch before running?
These are the things you find out about yourself with each training run. So when race day rolls around, you are wearing the right clothes, your stomach is relaxed, and your legs are ready.
If I could offer one overall piece of advice about training for a half marathon, it would be to create a plan (or find one online) and stick to it. If you put in the work, your legs and mind will know what to do when it’s time to race.
And at the end of the day…have fun! Running is an amazing thing. Racing is even better. So take in the experience and really enjoy it.
I hope this helps! If there is anything else you want answered or clarification, let me know. I’m no Jeff Galloway but I can try and find an answer. Have a great weekend!