How To Train For Your First Half Marathon

If you have never run a half marathon before, it can feel very intimidating, especially as there will be regular marathon runners in the race.

How To Train For Your First Half Marathon

A half marathon is less intense than a full marathon as it is 13.1 miles compared to the 26.2 miles of a regular one, but there is still a lot of training required. 

Although it can feel intimidating, running a half marathon is an incredible achievement. If it is your first time running, you want to make sure that you are as prepared as possible.

Therefore, following a good training schedule will help you to feel confident that you will reach your goal of finishing the half marathon. 

This article will explain how to train for your first half marathon to ensure that you feel confident and prepared for the event. You can find out more below to help beginners get started on their training!

Why Do You Need A Training Schedule?

It is very important to have a training schedule to help keep you on track for your half marathon. Without a training schedule, it can be easy to lose motivation, causing you to fall behind on your training.

Having a schedule allows you to hold yourself accountable and help you remain motivated for the race. 

Beginners might be unsure of how to formulate a training schedule, so it is important to make sure that they follow one.

It can be very easy for beginners to copy the training schedule of an advanced runner, but this does not work for everyone. Creating your schedule will be what is best for your body. 

What Should Your Training Schedule Look Like?

Create A Running Plan

One of the most common mistakes beginners can make when training for their first half marathon is winging their training.

You need to create a running plan to make sure that you are regularly running to help you remain consistent every week. If you are not consistent, you will not feel yourself progressing and you will not be ready in time.

It is best to make a running plan where you have two rest days that are spread out on Wednesday and Sunday as this ensures that your body has time to recover in between sessions.

You can then schedule runs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but make sure that the distances are broken up. 

You shouldn’t schedule 2 long-distance runs one after the other as this can exhaust your body and increase your chances of experiencing an injury.

You should also begin by scheduling 2-mile runs and then gradually increase the distance as the schedule progresses. This will help your body to adjust to running longer distances. 

Mark Your Running Days On Your Calendar

If you have a calendar hanging up in your kitchen, it is beneficial to write down the days that you are running and mark them off.

This will give you a sense of accomplishment and will help you to stay motivated. You can then make sure that your training always takes priority and that you do not double-book yourself.

There will be times when you need to miss a training session as there are lots of things that are unavoidable, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

As long as you pick it back up from your next training session, you will not lose any progress. If you use a calendar on your phone, make sure that you keep track of it and do not let your training slip. 

Find A Race To Participate In

Finding a race to participate in can give you all of the motivation that you need to train for the half marathon.

Knowing what your end goal is and how much you want to reach it can help you to put all of the hard work and effort in so you can achieve your target.

It can also serve as something to look forward to, especially if the half marathon is in a different city or state. 

Once you have signed up for the half marathon, booked your travel, and paid for your accommodation, you will not feel like you want to give up and cancel your half marathon.

This is how it can help you to stay motivated and keep your end goal in sight. 

Make Sure That You Rest

How To Train For Your First Half Marathon

It is very important to make sure that you are well-rested, so scheduling time for rest is vital. You need to make sure that you have your runs booked in, but resting is just as crucial to your training.

If you do not rest, your body will be more likely to suffer from burnout or exhaustion, which can increase your chances of experiencing an injury. 

One of the big mistakes that people make when they are training for a half marathon is that they feel terrible if they are not moving.

If you are resting, it can be easy to feel like you are not doing enough. However, taking care of your body and letting it recover is just as important as physical training. 

It can be easy to think that you can lose all progress if you take an extra rest day or that you only run 2 miles on a day when you were supposed to run 4 miles.

It is not a bad idea to put your health first and to make sure that your body is in the best condition that it can be. If you do not rest, you will see no improvement in your training as you will feel too tired and weak. 

Take Part In Other Activities

As you are training to run a half marathon, lots of people think that this means that you need to only run.

This is not the case, and it is advised that you take part in other activities to break up your training schedule while still working out. You need to make sure that you are training all of your muscle groups, not just one. 

If you are only running, you will burn out both mentally and physically as you will end up becoming bored of repeatedly doing the same exercises.

Having sessions for strength training can help you to become stronger and can allow you to experience other types of exercise to help you during your training. 

By strength training, you will be able to prevent injuries. You will be making your body stronger so it will not be as prone to injuries as before, but this does not mean that you can avoid all possible accidents.

You still need to be careful and make sure that you are looking after your body. 

If you have never used weights before, do not use heavy weights straight away. This will cause an injury and you will not see any benefits. Start with light weights and work your way up when you feel ready. 

Focus On Nutrition

Nutrition is a very important part of a training schedule as you need to be feeding your body the right foods to give you energy.

You should be eating foods that are full of protein and loading up on healthy carbs like legumes, quinoa, oats, and whole grains. It is always important to consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your body healthy. 

When the half marathon begins to get closer, it is a good idea to cut down on your alcohol intake to help you focus.

You need to remain hydrated for training, so consuming lots of water instead is important for making sure that your body has the energy that it needs to focus. 

Even if you are training in cold weather, you still need to be drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.

Water is crucial in the summer as your body will be sweating more, so keeping on top of your hydration needs is very important for your health and training. 

Continue To Follow Your Running Plan

There will be some days when you feel like you can run more than you are scheduled to for that day, and it can be very hard to resist the urge.

This can happen on a day where you are scheduled to run 2 miles or even on a rest day. If this happens, you need to try to stick to your running plan to make sure that you are gradually increasing your distance. 

Increasing your distance too quickly can be tough on your body, which is why it needs to be done at a gradual pace.

Running too far too quickly doesn’t give your body time to adjust to the distance increase, so make sure that you follow your plan.

Your body will be able to reach the longer distances eventually and it will be more comfortable for you. 

Listen To Your Body Asking For Help

It can be hard to admit that you have an injury or that you need to slow it down, but listening to your body when it is asking you for help is very important.

If you feel slight pain or strain, you need to listen and let it heal properly. If you do not let your body heal, the problem will get worse and it will take you longer to recover. 

Admitting that you need rest can be tough for people, but it is better for your body in the long run. If you have an injury that is continually getting worse, seeking help from a doctor is important.

You might feel reluctant to speak to a doctor as you are worried about the healing process, but it is important to make sure that you are listening to your body and putting it first. 

Keep Your Running Routes Varied

How To Train For Your First Half Marathon

Having a treadmill is very beneficial as it allows you to easily train from the comfort of your own home. You can run on your lunch break or as soon as you come home from work.

If it is raining or snowing, you can still train and make sure that you are still on track with your schedule.

Although treadmills are very helpful, keeping your running routes varied can make sure that you do not get bored. You should try to run outside and in different settings.

One day you could run around the block, then around the park, and then down by the coast. This will allow you to regularly run and enjoy the scenery that is around you instead of feeling bored. 

You can aim to run in all of the parks that your city has to offer or even run in a part of the city that you are unfamiliar with.

Keeping your routes varied will help you to stay motivated and excited for your runs as you can explore new areas and find new spots to hang out.

Decide If You Want To Run On Your Own Or With Others

This is a choice based on your preferences, but you need to decide whether you would be more motivated running on your own or with others.

If you want to run on your own, this is very beneficial as you can focus on your own body and you can use it as an opportunity to spend time with yourself and to clear your mind. 

If you would prefer to run in a group, you might find it beneficial as you can all motivate each other to carry on. You can get to know people who have similar interests to you and you can support each other through training.

If you want to find a running club, you can have a look for groups in your local area to see if it is something that you would be interested in. 

You can mix it up and run some sessions on your own and then others with a group. This will help you to get excited about different runs and to keep you motivated.

You will then be keeping your training schedule fresh and different. 

Be Prepared With The Right Gear

If you do not have the right running gear, you will find it very difficult to prepare for your half marathon. Running shoes are extremely important as you need to make sure that they are comfortable, secure, and supportive.

If the shoes cause you pain or blisters, they will not be the right ones for you to wear as you will not be focused on your training. 

Knowing the route of your half marathon is important when you are choosing running shoes as you need to know what the surfaces will be like.

If you will be running on the road, you will need shoes suitable for that, but if you will be running on nature trails, you will need soles with lots of traction. 

Sports bras are also very important as you need to feel comfortable during the run. If your sports bra is uncomfortable, you will find it very difficult to focus on running.

You need to be sure that the bra is moisture-wicking and tight enough so that you are secure and comfortable, but not too tight that you feel restricted in any way. 

As blisters are a very common condition for runners, blister-proof socks are a good idea, even if your shoes do not hurt.

As you will be running for a long time, you need to make sure that you are prepared for any situation and that you will not be caught off-guard. 

Connect With Others

Social media is the perfect place to connect with others who are also training for half marathons.

You should never compare yourself to others, but it is a good idea to connect with people who are doing the same thing as you so you can offer each other support and encouragement. 

The people that you connect with do not have to be training for the same race as you, but they will be passionate about running and will have end goals in sight.

If you want to prepare for a full marathon in the future, speaking to those who are training for one will allow you to have some insight into the process and build up your knowledge and confidence. 

Should You Run A Half Marathon If You Love Running?

How To Train For Your First Half Marathon

You should never feel forced to run half a marathon as it takes a lot of hard work to train. Just because you love running does not necessarily mean that you will enjoy training for a half marathon.

You might run for fun or stress relief, and running for a half marathon might take that away from you. 

You need to be sure that you want to train for a half marathon as you cannot do it with no motivation. You will not find the training enjoyable and it will be likely that you will fall out of your routine.

If you enjoy running when you feel like it and do not enjoy following a schedule, you should consider whether you want to take part in a half marathon. 

Check With Your Doctor First

If you want to train for a half marathon and you have existing health conditions, it is advised that you consult a doctor before you start.

You do not want your condition to worsen from the training, so you need to make sure that a doctor is happy for you to proceed. If a doctor agrees that you can start training, you can make start straight away. 

If a doctor is not happy for you to train for a half marathon, you need to listen to their advice. They will be giving you the best possible advice for your health, so you must listen.

If you carry on training when the doctor has advised you not to, it could have an extremely negative impact on your body, so always listen to their advice. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, if you have never run a marathon before, you need to make sure that you are prepared and that you are following a training schedule.

This will help you to stay on track with your training to make sure that your running does not suffer. You can then hold yourself accountable to stay motivated for the event. 

You need to schedule your runs on certain days and have a good mix of long-distance and short-distant runs.

You also need to incorporate rest days into your schedule as you need to allow your body to recover. If your body doesn’t have enough time to recover, you will find it more difficult to progress. 

By following your schedule and having the right gear, you will be able to reach your full potential in the half marathon. You will have a lot of support and you will feel motivated to succeed.

Being confident in yourself is important and you need to believe in yourself to help you achieve your goals!

Jessica Knight