Thinking of signing up for a half marathon? Click here to find your perfect race! Once you've chosen your event, if you're a total beginner or retuning after a break, make sure you build your mileage up gradually. Trying to do too much too soon could result in injury, so aim for a 10 per cent mileage increase per week. Read our half marathon tips to get you started.
Pick a training plan that works for you
Needless to say, training is essential if you want to get to the finish line. With so many training plans out there it can be tricky to know which one to choose.
The key is to find the plan that applies specifically to you, and be honest with yourself when it comes to selecting your perfect plan. If it's right for your current running ability, it will give you the correct balance of miles on the road and rest to ensure you get to race day fighting fit but not over or under-trained.
We have a wide range of FREE expert training plans, whatever your current fitness level:
- 16 week beginner half marathon plan
- 12 week beginner half marathon plan
- 12 week intermediate half marathon plan
- 12 week advanced half marathon plan
- 10 week beginner half marathon plan
- 10 week intermediate half marathon plan
- 10 week advanced half marathon plan
- 6 week beginner half marathon plan
- 6 week intermediate half marathon plan
- 6 week advanced half marathon plan
Running kit is key
Perhaps the most important thing you will need for your first race is a comfortable and professionally-fitted pair of running shoes (and a sports bra for the ladies). A good pair of trainers will stand you in good stead for your first half marathon and beyond. For help shopping, read find the right running shoes for you
Once you've got your kit sorted, you can focus on the half marathon ahead. Even if you're an experienced runner, our kit list for beginners is a welcome reminder of what you might need. And pssst... don't forget safety pins.
Training can be fun
Even if you're a complete beginner, training for a half marathon needn't be a slog. There will be days when you just want to stay in bed and days when the thought of going for a 90-minute run makes your head spin. To stay motivated, ask a friend to run with you, or go out exploring on foot. If you need some inspiration, jazz up your training jaunts with our running hacks
Practice race day nutrition
A half marathon is a long way and nutrition is one of the key ingredients if you want to get to the start line with a smile on your face. Before, during and after your training runs, experiment with what works best for you.
Your body will start to use up its glycogen stores (the energy you need to keep on running) after approximately 90 minutes, so it's important to fuel up before your run and experiment with energy gels or mid-race snacks to keep you moving. Whether you're perfecting breakfast fuel or choosing experimenting with energy gels, give our top fuelling tips a read.
Don’t run the full distance in training
In preparation for your first half marathon, running 13.1 miles or more in training (in one go) isn’t necessary. You want to reach the start line feeling fit and ready to go without being overtired.
If you're stepping up from 10K, our 12-week intermediate training plan will help you build on your fitness base. But don't sweat, if you train and rest well you'll have enough in the tank to go the extra mile on the day.
Hydration is essential, especially during a half marathon. Sip up to two pints of water a couple of hours before the race starts and drink to thirst (so don't keep drinking if you're just not thirsty!) For more advice check out our race day hydration tips
Running a half marathon isn’t all about speedy times and beating PB’s, it’s an incredible experience (and one you’ve paid for) so try your best to enjoy yourself! If this is your first half marathon, set yourself a reasonable finishing time that's personal to you and aim to have fun.
Most importantly, try and get to the finish line in one piece with a smile on your face, regardless of your speed. Read the benefits of slow running and ease into the pace of race day, pressure free.
Make running buddies
Chatting to likeminded runners is not only great for motivation and support, running buddies will make you much more likely to achieve your half marathon dreams. From online pals to real life running partners, a running buddy is a friend for life. Click here to join The Running Bug and start making running friends today.
Finding it hard to stay inspired? Read our running motivation tips and give your training a welcome boost.