Ready to push yourself to your limits? Do you dream of reaching a major personal fitness milestone? Are you looking to lose weight, build stamina, and increase endurance? It might be time to start training for a half marathon!
Before you go and sign up for the first half-marathon you see, you’ll need to keep some things in mind. Training for a half marathon requires a significant investment of time and energy. In order to avoid injury and make it race day, you’ll need to understand some things related to training. Read below for some helpful information to help you train for a half marathon.
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4 Steps to Train for a Half-Marathon:
Step 1: Ensure You’re Ready to Begin Training
Before starting any new fitness routine, it is always a good idea to get a doctor’s approval. Prior to training for a half-marathon you should be able to run for 30 minutes straight on a consistent basis. This is the precursor that determines whether your body is able to take on the higher demands of long-distance training. Distance is not the objective when first starting. You want to build stamina and endurance through running, or a combination of running and walking to prevent injury. If you’re fairly new to running be sure to check out our tips on how to start running without injury or burnout. One of the biggest mistakes many runners make is trying to do too much all at once.
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Step 2: Prepare Yourself Mentally
A lot of distance running is all about attitude, the ability to put mind over matter. Training for a half-marathon requires patience and persistence. Break the larger goal down into smaller chunks and keep track of your progress, it will help you stay motivated to see it through.
Don’t get discouraged when things go wrong during training. Training rarely goes as planned without some sort of deviation. Give yourself plenty of time to train. Longer training times give you leeway for unforeseen challenges, injuries or any other issues that may arise.
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Step 3: Select an Appropriate Training Program
Distance training requires a significant investment in time. Most half-marathon training plans run from 12 to 20 weeks. Each week should have 2 – 3 resting days spread throughout to provide adequate recovery time. Sunday and Thursday are popular rest days in many training schedules. Not having enough time to rest greatly increases the risk of injury.
Mileage is increased gradually during every week of training until you can complete 10-12 miles at once a few weeks ahead of the race. It is recommended to not increase your distance by more than 10% per week. After you reach your peak, training is tapered off a few weeks prior to the race to allow your body a chance to recover and to ensure you have the strength to complete the race.
Step 4: Be Ready on Race Day
During the week of the race, most runners increase their carbohydrate intake to ensure their muscles are getting the fuel they need for endurance. Some runners find it difficult to tolerate solid food right before a run. If this is a problem for you, be sure to take time to find a solid meal replacement shake to give you the vital nutrients you need.
It’s also a good idea to get new shoes a week or two prior. Use your training sessions to break them in. It’s important to have shoes with adequate support the day of the race. Find your perfect pair of running shoes with our Guide to Choosing the Best Running Shoe.