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7953 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2012 9:37 AM by jmsab23
bbrrnnxx Rookie 7 posts since
Dec 8, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 17, 2011 1:56 PM

how can I train for a half marathon?

I have been a casual runner ffor a long time not participating in any formal races. I average around an hour of running every other day. (Approximately six and half miles or so) The other days I either swim, stairmaster or bicycle. I also intersperse Pilates workouts.I also do not know what my pace should be as I've not participated in a 5K or 10K.I just know that I have endurance

I would like to run a half marathon at the end of January 2012.

I have looked at various training programs and it seems that they are very formulaic and do not accommodate the baseline that people are coming from.  (except for long runs once a week most of the runs call for much  shorter distances that I am used to running ,even on the easy days).

My question is do I scale back to the training programs as they outline the distances or is there a way to modify this and apply it to longer distances that I already am used to running?

which kind of training program should I be participating in?.

Also can I keep up I Pilates workouts and swimming or do I do strictly adhere to only running.

thank you.


  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 17, 2011 4:24 PM (in response to bbrrnnxx)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    Just of curiosity, which training programs are you looking into?  In my opinion, with your base fitness, with adequate training you shouldn't have any problem with the 13.1 distance.  It seems like you have a lot of endurance, and the capacity to build more, but if you are looking to run to your potential in a half-marathon, then I highly recommend following a training plan.  Keep in mind too that most training programs are flexible enough to allow cross-training and strength/core workouts as part of the plan, so no doubt you can continue with your other workouts.


    I would recommend you look into at least an intermediate training program--even though you don't race, your base fitness should allow you to achieve the longer distances and increased repeats of the higher-level training programs.  That being said, there's a definite purpose to running shorter distances when training, and if you decide to go with a training plan, you should stick to it even if it seems "too easy" in the beginning.  There are several reasons for this:


    1. You will be running more often than every other day, for about 10-12 weeks straight.  That's a lot of running, and if you start too hard, you could end up with an injury or mental fatigue, either of which can prevent you from making it to the starting line.

    2. Some days you will work on your speed, which will damage your muscles and not allow you to run hard/long the next day.  Short easy runs help you recover from the speedwork training, and yet still add to your fitness.

    3. Your long run days will challenge you to distances you have not reached yet; ideally you should be well-rested and have only run easy the day before, and afterwards you will likely need to run easy as well to recover from the increased distance.


    I hope you find this advice helpful.  If you need a suggestion as far as what program might work for you, I would recommend looking into Hal Higdon's training programs.  His intermediate plan can be found here:

    At the bottom of the page is a link to his Advanced program, if you feel that the Intermediate is not challenging enough (I started with his Advanced when I trained for my first half, too).


    Best of luck to you!

  • ydiez Pro 161 posts since
    Nov 7, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 18, 2011 11:34 AM (in response to bbrrnnxx)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    I am personally just beginning a half marathon training plan after years of running regularly but never really going seriously for better times or longer distance. I would advise to have a look around and do a couple of google searches before you commit to a particular training plan as there are many (I, for example, liked Mr Higdon's plans, but ended up using another one).


    Concerning other sports, so far I am adding them in light running days, as I prefer to only rest in rest days, I combine light runs with not-so-ligth swimming sesions, so I end up pretty tired but my ankles do not suffer too much.

    Current PB:

    5k: 19:53 (December 31st 2014)

    10k : 42:30 (March 9th 2014)

    Half Marathon: 1:32:40 (February 1st 2015)

    Marathon: 3:33:31 (March 15th 2015)

    Completed my first marathon! Feeling like getting some more!

  • bguida Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 18, 2011 1:24 PM (in response to bbrrnnxx)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    I only just started running this past spring with the goalof completing a half. I searched many different training plans and picked onethat seemed to fit my ability and goal.  However, the most effective tool for me was tolocate a local running group. Most groups would have many experienced runnersand there are almost always at least a few that are training for a race.  The group will help to keep you motivated andon track to reach your goal(s).  Itrained with my local group and far exceeded my goal by completing a Triathlon,2 halves and the Chicago Marathon. The group will push you more than you couldever imagine than training alone.


    Best of luck

  • GinnyinPA Pro 150 posts since
    Sep 29, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 18, 2011 1:49 PM (in response to bguida)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    Running with a group sounds like a good idea, but as a new runner, I am afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with more experienced runners.  My town is small, so the group of runners is likely to be small too.  The only member of the club I've met is an ultra runner - way out of my league.  The local group does short runs early in the morning (I don't do mornings) and long runs on weekends.  Trying to run 8 miles with fast runners is likely to get me injured.  After I have more experience and afaster pace, I may join the group, but not yet.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,541 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Nov 19, 2011 2:51 PM (in response to bbrrnnxx)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    There is no reason that you can't make adjustments to the plan to bring it into line with your current running.  Plans are a guide, not necessarily something you follow blindly.  Just be sure when you start the plan that you don't have a sudden jump in weekly mileage.  So your first week on the plan would total the same total miles you're running now, and the long run should not be substantially longer.




  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Nov 19, 2011 3:10 PM (in response to bbrrnnxx)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    I just completed a local running program that was not very advanced, but it does afford the opportunity to connect with others and become introduced to professional trainers, coaches, physical therapists and so on in your area.  You may also find classmates that are more advanced runners in the program moreso for community networking opportunities and it could be beneficial to link with them for the future.  However, I am also a big believer in the notion that individual "higher" level of running, as you state, is almost entirely up to you.  Actually, my suggestion is that you go ahead and join your local running group and participate in the classes and just look at the training time as an additional exercise routine that contributes to your overall goal.  I cannot recommend a specific training plan, because I have not done enough research.  I can only offer that if you are already running at an advanced level, then push yourself out during your personal runs.  Set your own limits to surpass and keep track of your progress in a running journal.  Also, please consider competing in some races at the 8K or 10K level before signing up for a half-marathon.  Race pace is me. 

    Wishing you many happy miles!

  • jmsab23 Legend 243 posts since
    Aug 19, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jan 12, 2012 9:37 AM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    how can I train for a half marathon?

    Ginny, something you may want to consider is starting you run a little earlier than your running group, and as they catch up to you a couple miles or whatever into your run, you have encouragement and company at a good time on your run, maybe some chatting, and if they go on ahead of you, you can finish at your pace, and however far you want to run. Build up to their pace/distance a little at a time, and have more company/encouragement time as you get further along.

    bbrrnnxx, you may want to consider Jeff Galloway's Run-Walk-Run, or a Run-to-Walk ratio, training plan if you are mostly concerned with simply finishing. I haven't found much literature supporting this idea as far as those who are running for time are concerned, but it's an avenue you can search. Check out your nutrition/hydration needs, also.

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