1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

All About Running and Training for a Half Marathon Race

Get Training Schedules and Tips


Updated May 16, 2014

Runners racing in marathon
Cultura/Frank and Helena/Riser/Getty Images

Half marathons are becoming more and more popular. A half marathon race is 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers long, which is exactly half the distance of a marathon.

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, 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 in the half marathon.


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

For beginner runners, the half marathon distance can seem 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 Halfmarathons.net.

More: Top Spring 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.

Email Course - Run Your First Half Marathon: This 12-week half marathon training schedule is perfect for a beginner runner and a first-time half-marathoner whose goal is simply to finish the 13.1-mile race. Every week, you'll get new instructions and motivation right in your Inbox. By the end of 12 weeks, you'll be ready to run a half marathon.

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.

Next page:  Half Marathon Training Tips and Race Day Advice

Related Video
Proper Running Form-Gait
How To Run on a Treadmill
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Running & Jogging
  4. Half Marathons / Marathons
  5. All About Running and Training for a Half Marathon Race

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.