So you want to run a Half Marathon

“We all have dreams.  In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
                                           –Jesse Owens


Photo Credit Peter Mooney on Flickr

A friend of mine recently brought up the topic of running and of course I became very excited. She proceeded to tell me that she was considering running a half marathon and wanted to know if there is a specific training program that I follow or recommend.

Now let’s just be clear, when I started my racing I never really had the interest of following a training program but if that is what you want to do then go for it. But if here is what I told her and what I will tell all of you novices.

When I started my training I was already running on average 4 to 5 miles a day on the treadmill. I immediately moved outside which is a big change for anyone because instead of running in place on a downhill incline which is what level 0 is on a treadmill, you are pushing yourself forward. So yes it will be harder.  My suggestion is to start out by running 3 miles outside. Once you can run 3 miles outside, 5 days a week without stopping, begin increasing your mileage. So start running 4 miles every day. If that becomes even easier then move on to 5, then 6 then 7. For me running 7 miles a day 4-5 days a week is quite an accomplishment, especially for the novice.

After you are able to log 6-7 miles a day, why not go a run a 10k? It will get you acclimated with the racing scene, chips, and bibs. Plus it will give you practice running in a crowd of people.


Now here comes the part that everyone dreads. The long runs. Thankfully because you are running a half marathon, you don’t have to put in the 20 + mile runs but you should have tackled at least 11 miles by race day. So every other weekend or every weekend if you prefer, put in a long run. So instead of running 5 days a week (that is if you are) run 4 days and log a longer run on the weekend. Start off by running 9, then 10, then 11. And the good thing about this, is that you can make your last long run the weekend before the big race to allow your body to taper.


For myself when I was training, I wanted to make sure that I could run a half marathon, and to this day even before a race, I like to run 13 miles. Because if you are used to logging 10 or 11 miles as your long runs and you find yourself exhausted after 11, what is going to happen when you need to keep running an extra 2.1 come race day? So I suggest, running 13 but like I said everyone is different.


Make sure you rest though. Every person is different, sometimes I rest once per week sometimes twice but you need to give your muscles time to rebuild.


If you follow this type of regimen I guarantee you will be ready to run a half marathon.



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