How to Train for a Half Marathon

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Running a half marathon is an accomplishment that few choose to attempt.

It can seem like a daunting task to undertake, but when you train right, you can achieve the impossible. Half marathons are a stepping stone in the milestones of being a runner. Once you cross your first finish line of a race, you will be gearing up for your next one already.


Step One: Have the Right Gear

The right gear for long distance running is essential to your success. You do not have to go out and buy the fancy companies by any means, but you do want to invest in clothing that helps your body breathe better. Moisture wicking clothing holds your body snugly but gives the breathability your body needs to handle the challenges of running for longer periods of time. Designed for both cold and warm weather, you will be able to find the right clothes that fit your climate.

Find a Shoe that Fits

The best way to find a shoe that fits is to visit your local running store. Running specialists can help determine how you run, what your gait is, and what shoe fits your style. When you can run without worry about the pain in your feet, you can be more motivated to keep up your training. Remember to invest in a pair of shoes and break them in before attempting a race. The least you want is brand new blisters showing up part way through.

Running shoes are designed for all different types of feet. From shoes created with extra cushion, or minimalist shoes for barefoot style running, you will be able to find the right fit and style for your needs. If you have already been running for awhile, just make sure your shoes aren't too worn out to take on a bigger race.


Step Two: Sign Up For a Race

The best motivation for achieving a half marathon is to sign up for a race. Having a day to work towards keeps you on track with your training schedule. It takes about 12-16 weeks to build up the strength and stamina to achieve 13.1 miles in one day. Give yourself buffer room just in case of injury, but sign up for a race that you know you can take on. Look through to find a race near you that is within your budget.


Step Three: Find a Training Program

Finding the right training program that works with your schedule can be challenging. It can feel exhausting some days to get up early or stay out later just to get in the miles. However, training does not always involve just straight running. A good training program should supplement runs with strengthening and rest days. The key is to slowly build your mileage for your body to build strength to help you conquer your first half marathon.

Check out the Top 10 Half Marathon Training Plans to find a plan that works for you. Plans that range from beginner to advanced will help you determine a program that works with your body and your schedule. Always be mindful of any injuries and adjust your training as needed. Allow for rest so your body properly heals to avoid any shin splints symptoms or early signs of runner's knee.

Follow an easy going half-marathon training plan that gives you the rest your body needs, but also the power of great workouts in between runs that guide you to stronger performance.


Step Four: Know What Nutrition You Need

Taking on running involves more than just pounding your feet against the pavement. Nutrition is essential for your body to handle the demands of running. Including complex-carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats in your diet are a way to ensure that your body stays well fueled and heals quickly. If you are unsure, check out the Nutritional Guide For Beginner Runners.

Your body needs fuel through nutrition and hydration. Drink water before, during, and after a workout to stay properly hydrated. Keep the weather in mind and be aware of the dangerous effects of dehydration. When you can keep your body full of great nutrition and hydration, then you will have less fatigue and less soreness while training.

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Step Five: Start Running

As simple as it sounds, the best way to train for a half marathon is to leave the excuses behind and start running. Know how to keep your body properly aligned for better form while running. Running with proper form keeps your body strong to avoid reoccurring injury. Listen to your body and learn how to adjust your stride and cadence for healthier and more efficient running.

Hold your core tight and keep good form throughout your longer runs. Even while cross training, make sure you are holding your body up with integrity to avoid any potential injuries during your time training. Even if you begin training in the winter, do not be afraid to get outside for your runs. When you can embrace any form of weather, you will be more than prepared for any obstacle during a race.


Step Six: Finish Strong

How you train will determine how you finish. If you train with integrity and keep to your training program, then you will be able to cross the finish line with confidence. Find what motivates you to accomplish your goal of finishing a half marathon. Remember to wear the right gear, the perfect shoes, and keep your body happy and healthy all throughout your training process.

When you cross the finish line, think of all the hard work you put in to be there. Whether you are running for a cause, or running for yourself, you have an accomplishment to be proud of. Keep your head up and finish strong! Once you cross the finish line, you just might be ready to sign up for another one!

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article.

Portland, OR