This half marathon training plan has helped me run over 10 half marathons, and I hope it’ll help you with your half marathon training as well! And make sure to read the entire post because it’s full of great tips for half marathon training for beginners.
Just over a week ago I announced on my Facebook page that I signed up to run the Indy 500 half marathon in May and that my half marathon training was beginning. Every time I say I’m going to run a half marathon, people always say something like oh my gosh you’re so amazing, I could never do that. But guess what, I bet you can. As long as you’re healthy enough to run, I bet you can run a half marathon. It’s work, but you can do it.
The first step is getting to the point where you can easily run three miles. If you don’t run at all yet, check out my five easy ways to start running. Once you can run three miles, come back to this post and get started with your half marathon training!
Okay so let’s get started. These are my five best tips for being able to run your first (or 100th) half marathon. I’ve run over 10 half marathons in the past few years and plan to run many more; these three tips get me across the finish line every time.
Half Marathon Training Tips
#1 – Put together a half marathon training plan
I said it before, running a half marathon takes work and training. If this is your first half marathon and you want to make sure you cross the finish line running, you need a plan to do it. I’ve used the same basic half marathon training plan (with only a few slight modifications) for all 10+ half marathons that I’ve run. It gradually builds up your miles until you run a 10 mile run. If you can run 10 miles, I can almost guarantee that you can run 13.1 miles; it’s really not much different. I typically print out the training plan, add dates, and put a copy next to my treadmill so that I know what my run looks like for that day.
Enter your first name and email address in the form below to get the printable. If the form isn’t showing up below, click here to get to the form to download the printable files.
#2 – Be consistent in your training.
For me, half marathon training is about preparing my body for this long endurance run. In the notes on the training plan, I mention that you can switch up the workouts as necessary for your schedule (i.e., if Sundays work better for your long runs, switch them to Sunday and move everything else accordingly). But the key is consistency and getting the workouts in. If you’re expecting your body to be able to handle running for 2+ hours, then you need to give it the proper time to prepare. If you do the first three weeks of training according to the plan then decide to only run once the next week and skip your long run the next, this plan won’t work, especially if this is your first race. So do your best to get in all of the workouts and if you do skip any, skip the cross training ones. There aren’t that many runs a week, so it’s important to get them all in.
#3 – Eat better
This for me is one of the keys to successful half marathon training. You’ll notice that when you eat healthier and more nutritious foods your body performs better on runs. And I don’t even want to tell you how bad it feels to do a 10 mile run in the morning when you ate greasy fast food for dinner the night before. I’m not saying that you have to do whole 30 or go on a crazy diet, just try to be more thoughtful about what you’re putting in your body and try to eat things that will serve as fuel rather than dead weight on your runs.
Right now we’re using this Whole 30 meal plan to get plenty of nutritious foods to fuel our bodies but do whatever will make you feel the best when you run!
#4 – Be patient with your body.
Barring any injuries or actual things that stop you from running, your body will get there. Eventually. But be patient with your body, especially when you’re just starting out. If your body isn’t used to running 10 miles, you may have to stop on your run to take a bathroom break or to stretch out your super tight calves. There will be days that you feel like you could run another five miles and then there will be days that you are crawling every last step to finish the three mile run. Just be patient and realize that it happens to the best of us. Tomorrow will be better.
#5 – Reward yourself
This is SOOOO important. People tend to do better when they are given positive reinforcement. Don’t just reward yourself after you finish the half marathon (that better be a big reward), reward yourself as you go. One of the things I do every single day is put a sticker over the workout I just completed. It’s seriously amazing how even that little action makes me smile as I cover up the workout with a bright and shiny star.
I also like to treat myself to a nice nap after a long run, a couple of hours of binge watching my favorite show on Netflix after I finish an entire week’s training, and other small things like that. It could even be just as simple as pouring yourself a big glass of your favorite drink for completing a workout you didn’t want to do. If none of these seem like a reward to you, maybe one of these workout reward ideas will. It really doesn’t matter what it is as long as it seems like a reward to you, something that helps you correlate running with positive things.
Bonus – Run to great music
Running to great music just makes running easier. I shared my favorite running playlist a couple of weeks ago that can help you get started with creating your own. And just recently I shared an awesome list of 25 workout songs that are perfect for strength training, which is a huge part of your training!