Half Marathon – You Can Do It!

Whether you just want to get in shape, or you foster dreams of becoming an avid runner, these steps will help you get to where you need to be. You can face the half marathon.

It will not be easy, it takes determination. Running long distance is more than just a physical game, it’s also a mental game. If you can tell your body to push through, it will listen. Here’s my guide to getting into running mode:


Before you begin training:

Make sure your diet is right. Lay off the McDonald’s and go for a salad. Choose a smoothie over coke. Try the Iced Tea. Diet determines what your body can endure. Eat plenty of protein and lay off the oils. Start drinking at least 3 bottles of water a day.

Find a good pair of trainers. Some stores will custom fit you to a pair based on how you run. Look for these stores. Trust me, it’s worth the investment for these long runs. While you’re there, pick up plenty of Polyester socks! Cotton causes horrible blisters and will leave you in pain. I recommend around 4 pairs.

Get a watch. Just something to keep time. Log these times each time you run. Log the distance with it as well and you can mark your progress.

Make sure you stretch and do a little warm up jog. Just something to get the blood flowing and muscles warm.

The actual training:

Start at least 10 weeks before the event. This plan will be a 10 week plan. The earlier you start, the more you’ll develop, the better you’ll be.

Week 1: Run 2 miles on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday. This is your time to go on a full run. Do the best you can. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, jog 2 miles. Take it slow and easy. This is called a “recovery” run. Take Sunday off! Your body needs to rest a day, and fully recover.

Weeks 2 and 3: Do the same, but double the mileage. Do 4 miles. If you can’t do this, just do your best. Your body will adapt in time.

Week 4: The final week of the month. You should know how your body feels under the pain. If you still want to continue after this, you’ve gone crazy like the rest of us runners. This week aim for 6 miles. This is the usual for many 5K competition runners, so you could actually run a 5K if one is around this time. Feel the thrill of a race. Continue like the rest of the weeks before.

Week 5: It’s time to gain some speed. If you have a track near your home that you can use, this is the time to do so. If you don’t, estimate the amount as best you can in a park or other open area where you can form a loop. A soccer field is perfect. This week we’ll lay off the mileage and go for short distance, but high speed. This will make those long runs seem like nothing.

You can choose any one of these, just make sure you only do them on Monday and Friday. Run a normal 6 miles every other day.

Fartlek 1: 200m, rest for 1 minute. Do this 4 times. Now do 400m, and a 2 minute rest 4 times. You should go your fastest each time.

Fartlek 2: 200m, rest for 30 seconds. 300 meters, rest for 45 seconds. 400 meters, rest for 1 minute. Now 400 meters, rest for 1 minute. 300 meters, rest for 45 seconds. 200 meters, rest for 30 seconds. Now jog for 5 minutes.

These workouts are for anybody. There are other speed workouts to do, but they are more moulded around the individual.

Week 6: Time to increase your mileage to 8-9 miles. If you can run 9, then you are well on your way! Make sure you do your speed workouts.

Week 7: You are 3 weeks away from that 13.1 bumper sticker! This is the week to increase your mileage to 10 miles. This will hurt. Make sure you drink plenty of water each night!! Dehydration will cause cramps and force you to walk. This week though is a gift! Here is what it should look like:

Monday: Speed workout

Tuesday: 6 miles jogged.

Wednesday: 10 miles

Thursday: 10 miles

Friday: Speed Workout

Saturday: 10 miles

You should have run at least 40 miles this week. Brag to your friends! See their faces!

Week 8: Get ready. We go up to 12 miles. This is a very hard run and will cause much pain! Do the new plan laid out from week 7, except with 12 miles.

Weeks 9-10: Say so long to those speed workouts! These weeks are nothing but distance. You need to hydrate and rest! Here is the final plan:

Monday: 14 miles

Tuesday: 7 miles

Wednesday: 14 miles

Thursday: rest

Friday: 14 miles

Saturday: 7 miles

Most half marathons are on Saturdays or Sundays. Whatever day it is, make sure you DO NOT RUN THE DAY BEFORE. REST. REST. REST.

Additional Hints and Concerns:

Chocolate Milk is an amazing after run recovery drink. I buy it by the gallon and usually go through 3 a week.

If something hurts, or feels pulled: Go see a doctor please! You may have to take a break, but it’ll only help you recover that injury.

This is a general workout. I don’t know your body, you do. If you already attend a gym, most will have personal trainers that work there. Schedule one session at least with them and see if they can better customize this routine.

Get up early enough before work for you 9-5 people! That 14 mile run should be allowed 2 1/2 hours!

I wish you the best of luck in this amazing sport. Jog on!

About James Chatt

Avid runner. Coffee lover. World traveller.