Should I Run a Half Marathon Before Running a Full Marathon?

"I'd like to train for and run a full marathon. Should I run a half marathon first?"

I think that any healthy person who is willing to make the commitment to the training can complete a marathon, but marathon training is not something to jump right into with no or little running experience. If someone is a coach potato, they would definitely want to run for at least six months (a year is better) before starting marathon training.

Someone without a lot of running experience would want to start with a beginner learn to run program or a beginner 5K training program.

Should I Run a Half?

Once you've established a good, solid running base, it's definitely a good idea to complete a half marathon (13.1 miles) before a full marathon. If you're a new runner, you should give yourself at least 3-4 months of training to prepare for a half marathon. Check out some half marathon training schedules for beginner runners.

After you train for and complete a half marathon, you'll be in a better position to know if you have the desire and time to take on the full marathon. Running a half marathon is also a good way to determine whether your body can withstand the rigors of training for a long distance race. Some runners decide after training for a half marathon that they don't want to risk getting injured while training for a full marathon.

Running a Half Marathon During Marathon Training

Many runners, from beginners to advanced, run a half marathon during their marathon training as a confidence booster and a way to figure out their marathon goal time. It's helpful to get that kind of long distance race experience because you'll feel more physically and mentally prepared to go the marathon distance.

Finding a local half marathon is not too hard in most areas, and you can fit into your marathon training schedule at any point after you've reached 10 miles for your long run.

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