Here's How to Train for a Half Marathon Safely
Whether you're an avid jogger or a beginner to the trenches of long-distance running, successfully completing a half marathon is well within the realm of what's attainable. Like anything, improving one's ability to run multiple consecutive miles takes practice. But with a bit of determination and hard work, the payoff is palpable — and not just for physiques.
"People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer," wrote Japanese author Haruki Murakami in his 2007 memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. "But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that."
Going the distance: According to Runner's World, anyone who's already running up to three miles can tackle a 13.1-mile-long course. The publication suggests running at least three times per week to start, averaging 30 minute-long runs during the week and longer runs on the weekend, and increase mileage week by week. Runners should increase mileage by 1.5 miles each week until long runs clock in between 13 and 14 miles. Alternate long runs with shorter runs every other weekend.
And according to Runner's World, timing is key, and the last long run of training should happen two weeks before the half marathon.
Active also offers up a few tips to help make training for a half marathon a smooth and successful process. Runners who don't see the activity as a golden opportunity for solitary reflection can join a running group.
In addition to tackling long runs with the company of others, running groups can can also help motivate some runners to stay committed to a training schedule. According to Active, runners in training can benefit from cross-training like cycling, swimming or yoga. As always whether in training or not, hydrate.
But it's also important to remember to not overexert yourself with training. "If you're feeling worn down, have no energy, feel sore, tired, lethargic and or unmotivated, check your resting heart rate before getting out of bed. If it's just a few beats higher than normal (and you don't have a cold or some other type of infection) you more than likely are overtraining and need a rest day," Active reported.
And for those who benefit from structure, Halfmarathons.net has mapped out a 12-week training schedule that consists of two rest days per week and a steady-but-manageable mileage increase week per week leading up to the big race.
And if all else fails, be sure to build an epic playlist to soundtrack the journey that is long-distance running.