How to Run and Train for a Half Marathon

Get Training Schedules and Tips

Runners racing in marathon
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The half marathon is one hot distance, and as the 13.1-mile race becomes more popular, it's getting easier and easier to find one near you. 

Why Run A Half Marathon?

People run half marathon races for different reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • They've already run a 5K or 10K and want to challenge themselves even more.
  • They want to see what it feels like to train for and run an endurance event.
  • They eventually want to run a marathon (double the distance at 26.2 miles), but want to see what it feels like try a shorter distance first.
  • They're training for a full marathon and want to evaluate their fitness level.
  • They want to beat their personal record.

What's Involved in Training for and Running a Half Marathon Race?

For beginner runners, running 13.1 miles can feel extremely intimidating. Before you decide to take on the half marathon distance, it's probably best that you train for and run a shorter race, such as a 5K or 10K. After that, you'll probably feel more physically and mentally prepared to run a half marathon. The training period for a half marathon depends on your running base before you get started. To start a training plan, you should be running for about two months and have a mileage base of 8 miles per week. With that type of training base, you can train for a half marathon in 12 weeks.

More advanced runners can train for a half marathon in 8-10 weeks.

The training for a half marathon requires that you run at least three days a week, with one of those runs being your long training run. Your long run will gradually increase during the training, topping out at 10 to 12 miles (for beginners).

You do not have to run more than 10 miles during your training in order to complete the 13.1 miles on the day of the race.

More: How Long Will It Take Me to Run a Half Marathon?
13 Things to Know Before Running a Half Marathon
What's a Good Time for a Half Marathon?

How to Find a Half Marathon

You'll have to decide whether you want to run a big or small half marathon, and if you want to travel to a fun location or stay close to home. Get listings and reviews of half marathons all over the U.S. and the world at

More: Top Spring U.S. Half Marathons
Top Fall U.S. Half Marathons

Half Marathon Training for Beginners

Many beginner runners choose the half marathon distance because the training is not as time-consuming as a full marathon, but it's still a race distance with a lot of bragging rights. If you're fairly new to running and want to train for a half marathon, here are a couple of half-marathon training programs:

Run/Walk Half Marathon Schedule: This 12-week half marathon training program is designed to help you run/walk to the finish line of your half marathon.

To start this plan, you should have been run/walking for at least two months and should have a base mileage of about 8-10 miles per week.

Half Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners: This 12-week training schedule is designed for beginner runners who want to get to the finish line of a half marathon race. It assumes that you already run at least eight miles per week. If you've never run before, follow this step-by-step plan for building a running base before you start with the half marathon schedule.

Half Marathon Training Schedule for Advanced Beginners: This 12-week schedule is geared toward runners who can run four miles and can run 4 to 5 days per week. You may have never run a half marathon before, but you're looking for a schedule that's a little more challenging than the half marathon Beginner Schedule.

Half Marathon Training for Intermediate and Advanced Runners:

Half Marathon Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners: If you've run at least one half marathon race and you're hoping to improve your time, you'll definitely need to add speed training to your training regimen, if you haven't already. This 12-week training schedule to help you run your fastest half marathon.

Half Marathon Training Schedule for Advanced Runners: Before you start this 12-week training schedule, you need to be able to run 8 miles comfortably and be able to run 5 days a week.

Half Marathon Training Tips:

Tips for Running Your First Half Marathon: Get tips for running a successful first half marathon.

13 Things to Know Before Running a Half Marathon: Here are 13 things to know about training for and running a half-marathon, so you can look like a seasoned racer.

Tips to Make Long Runs Easier: Follow these tips to make your runs easier and more comfortable, and get you prepared for race day.

What Should I Eat During My Long Runs?: Fueling with carbs during your longer runs will prevent you from running out of energy and help boost your performance. Find out what and when to eat during long runs.

Do I Need to Drink Sports Drinks During My Runs?: Proper hydration for running is essential to safety and performance, and you should know when you should consume sports drinks and when plain water will suffice.

Mental Tips for Your Long Runs: Long-distance running can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical test of strength and fitness. Follow these tips to help win the mental battle while running.

Get the Most Out of Your Long Runs: Here's advice on what to do before and during your long runs to get the most out of them.

Half Marathon Race Preparations:

Racing Etiquette: To avoid annoying fellow runners, stick to these etiquette guidelines when running in races.

Should I Run the Day Before my Race?: Are you nervous about the starting line for your half marathon?

Find out what to do the day before your race.

13 Mistakes Half Marathoners Should Avoid: Here are some of the most common half marathon training and racing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mental Tips for Your Half Marathon: Running a half marathon tests your mental strength as much as it does your physical fitness.

Each part of the half marathon has different mental battles. Here are some tips on how to win the challenges throughout the half marathon and run a successful race.

What to Do the Day Before Running a Half Marathon: What you do during the day before your half marathon can make or break your race. Follow this advice to avoid making mistakes that will cost you time or cause discomfort during your half marathon.

8 Tips to Run Your Best Half-Marathon: Get advice on how to run your best race.

How to Take Water from Hydration Stops: If you're prepared for how to take and drink the water, you'll save time when running through the water stops in your half marathon.

Other Race Distances:
All About 5K Training and Racing
All About 10K Training and Racing
All About Marathon Training and Racing

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