The 13.1-mile (21.1-kilometer) race is a great challenge that can take from eight to 14 weeks of dedicated exercise to prepare for. How much training for a half marathon?
The time it takes to train adequately for a half marathon depends on your current level, running experience, and goals for the race. When it comes to long-distance running, you can not cram a lot of training into a short period and expect to be ready. To do that will almost certainly lead to overload injuries.
People newer in distance running may take longer to prepare for a half marathon, while advanced runners may be good at that in less time. A gradual approach will help you avoid running injuries and getting burned out.
Beginners to half marathon
If you have run or run/walked for a few months and you have already tried a shorter running distance, such as a 5K, you are probably ready to start training for a half marathon.
Expect to spend 15 to 20 weeks training if you have never run a half marathon and currently run under 10 miles every week. It would be best if you planned to run three to four times a week at the beginning and five times a week as your training progresses.
You can expect to build endurance and strength during this time to where long runs start to feel more comfortable, and putting on miles is the natural next step.
While sticking to your exercise plan is critical, it is not as necessary as stepping back if you are experiencing an injury or a personal crisis. Breaking through can aggravate the injury and result in a long-term problem. If you feel pain – apart from general soreness after a run you may experience – it is probably best to pause your workout and consult a doctor.
Run three to four times a week at a conversational pace initially, which means that you can speak in whole sentences without struggling to breathe. Each week, continue at this pace as you gradually increase the distance. Aim to run 10 to 20 miles per week when you first start and move to around 25 to 30 miles.
Aim to run four to five times a week with a long run once a week. You will also include one to two days of cross-training to help build your fitness and increase resistance to injury. Make sure you have a dedicated rest day and take more as needed.
When it comes to the weekly time commitment, the maximum mileage weeks of your training will be three, four, and five weeks before the race. During the last two weeks before the half marathon, you will start to slow down in the phasing-out phase, allowing both bodies and minds to recover after training and prepare for the upcoming race.
You should invest in good running equipment – namely a pair of high-quality running shoes. You should also get sweat-transporting clothes and maybe a hydration belt (or fanny pack) to store energy gels, small snacks, water.