BeginnerHalf Marathon Training

The ultimate training plan to run a half marathon

how to train to run a half marathon


If you have been jogging or taking long runs of three or even five miles, you are ready to handle something more challenging such as half a marathon. Going for 13.1 miles may seem impossible at first, but you can make it if you increase your runs with one mile at a time, every week.

Having a positive mindset, using strategic walk and quick pacing breaks will help you prepare enough to compete in a half marathon race within a short duration. Here are some few ways to help you train for your marathon.

Develop a Base
One of the major mistakes most new runners make when preparing for a marathon is thinking that a 12 to 14-week plan can take them off the couch all the way to the finishing line.

All marathon training schedules ranging from 10 to 16 weeks mostly assume that by then you have developed a weekly run base of a minimum of 15 to 20 miles. In fact, your most extended sprint should be 5 miles at least.

If your most extended run mileage or weekly mileage is anything less, the ability of your body to acclimate will be significantly overwhelmed. If you already have a solid base, then once you begin your training, you will just be adapting to the training workouts demands of the marathon.

If you begin training for the marathon when your base is weak, then you will be expecting your body to create that foundation as you acclimate to the demands of the new training. That is overtraining or else an injury waiting to happen.

Select a Plan
The standard length of most training plans of a half marathon is twelve weeks. However, a fast Google search will give you training plans ranging from 10 to 16 weeks. If it’s your first marathon, ten weeks will work for you.

The duration will provide you with ample time to adapt to the demands of the training.

The training plans will not only differ in length but content as well. Before you select a training plan, study several of them carefully and then pick one that interlocks well with your family and work schedules.

Consider Quality Over Quantity
Going for a lot of miles every week is one way of preparing for your marathon, however, running for many miles will only increase your chances of injury. You can have your runs four times in a week. Two of your runs can be quality runs, and the other two base maintenance runs. Your quality runs can comprise of a weekend long run, and a mid-week tempo run.

The natures of the tempo run often vary, but they start and end with a one-mile warm-up and the miles in between are run using a pace of around 30 seconds. The tempo bit is the uncomfortable pace. It assists your body to increase its ability to absorb and use oxygen at your muscle layer to create energy and also drive out your lactate level. Increasing your lactate level and VO2Max will help you fight fatigue for longer as well as become a more effectual runner.

Doing aerobics cross-training and some light resistance training during your off run days is a beautiful way to boost your running fitness. Swimming, cycling, jogging, using row machine or elliptical machine are all useful types of cross-training.

The light resistance training targets the upper body and the core, and will considerably assist you in maintaining good running style for longer, supporting you fight off fatigue.

Join a Training Group
Regardless of whether you are training with a coach or you are doing runs with some friends, training with a group will bring a difference in how successful you become with your preparation.

Once you discover how much your colleagues will miss you, you become more responsible for your workouts and fitness. Having friends to encourage you during a challenging run will motivate you to fight off your fatigue and pull through.

Research on the Race
Do your research on the sports drinks that will be available or provided during the race. If it’s possible, use the same sports drinks during your training or plan in advance how you will make use of your own.

Never use any sports gel or drink during a competition that you have never tested or tried during your training.

Find out about the aid stations and mile marker waters that will be available. Additionally, find out if there will be any Porta Potties along the route and where they will get positioned. It’s important to know where they are in case you experience any stomach distress during the run.

Taking rest is as significant as your run workout. In reality, your body requires time to repair and rebuild. Skipping your rest days will rob off your body the ability to recover making you susceptible to injury. Ensure that you take your deserved rest days, and most importantly pay attention to your body.

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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