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10 Best Things About Half Marathon Running

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Updated January 24, 2014

Thinking about running a half marathon or want to remind yourself of why you signed up for one in the first place?  Here are some excellent reasons why we love half marathons.

1. It’s not a full marathon.

Runners in NYC marathon
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Let’s face it, half marathons are a lot easier on your body and schedule than full marathons. I’ve done many half marathons that ran on part of the same course as a full marathon and there’s always a point where the half marathoners turn off and head to the finish line and the full marathoners keep going…and going. I can’t say that I’ve ever said, “Oh, I really wish I was going with them” as I watched the full marathoners forge ahead.  Instead, the other half marathoners and I are usually high-fiving each other that we’re headed to the finish line. We know that completing a half marathon is an incredible accomplishment, but it doesn’t involve as much pain or commitment as a full marathon.

Also see:  Should I Run a Half Marathon Before a Full Marathon?

2. You have a perfect excuse to get a massage.

Runner getting massage
Pinnacle Pictures

Half marathoners tend to get tight muscles from all the running, and regular massages can help you feel comfortable and injury-free. Treat yourself to a massage or two during your training to help relieve some of that tightness.

3. Half marathon running keeps you healthier.

man talking to doctor
Juan Silva

Beyond helping you to lose or maintain weight, there are lots of other health benefits of half marathon training. Running will strengthen your heart and ensure the efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body, which helps decrease your risk of a heart attack. Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally reduce your blood pressure if it's above normal and it can help keep high cholesterol in check. Running also improves your immune system, so your body functions are more effective and efficient at fighting off germs.  Running is also a great stress reliever, so you'll experience mental health benefits as well.

Also see:  10 Great Reasons to Run

4. You'll need to buy some new running clothes and gear.

Running Shoe Store
Digital Vision

Half marathon training is a great excuse to pick up some new running duds. Since you’ll be running at least a few times a week and may be running through more than one season, you’ll probably need some running clothes in your rotation. Picking out a new shirt, socks, or pants is also a nice reward for your hard work.

Also see:  How to Save Money on Running

5. Breaking into double digits feels pretty awesome.

Runner smiling
Matthew Leete

During your half marathon training, you’ll hit double digits and there's something magical about running 10 miles consecutively for the first time.  You’ll feel like you’ve reached a major milestone and hopefully start to call yourself “real” runner, if you haven’t already.

Also see:  You Know You’re a Runner When…

6. You'll sleep better.

Man sleeping
Jose Luis Pelaez

If you’ve had trouble sleeping, following a half marathon schedule and running on a regular basis will tire you out and help you catch more Zzzs.

7. People can make signs for you.

You Got This sign
Getty Images

If you run a 5K, you shouldn’t really expect your friends and family to make signs for you.  Although I’m sure they love you and want to support you, it’s just not something that 5K spectators do. But running a half marathon is definitely a sign-worthy endeavor.  It wouldn’t be too much to ask your buddies to break out the markers and posterboard and get busy. You can even give them some ideas for funny signs and inspiring signs.

8. You can discover different running routes and run in new cities.

Woman running past storefronts
Michael Schmitt

If you typically stick to shorter distances for running and racing, training for a half marathon will force you to find new places to run, since you’ll be doing a long run  every week. Check out MapMyRun.com or ask local runners for suggestions on where to run.

There are half marathons all over the world, so you may decide that you want to run somewhere you’ve never been. Some runners use a half marathon as an excuse to travel to a fun destination with family or friends.

Also see:  Where Should I Run?

9. You'll get a medal (and a shirt).

Medal Art Hangers
Photo courtesy of goneforaRUN.com

OK, so maybe the idea of getting a finishing medal doesn’t get you too excited, but the point is that you’ll get a little reward for your efforts and you’ll have a tangible reminder of your achievement. Many half marathons offer decent swag (usually better than 5Ks or 10Ks), like a technical running shirt, and have race expos where you can pick up some running gear freebies and samples.

Also see: What to Do With Your Race Medals

10. Crossing the finish line feels fantastic.

Half Marathon Finish Photo
Getty Images
Although you’ll experience rough patches during half marathon training and in the race itself, it’s all worth it once you cross that glorious finish line. You’ll feel great knowing that you set a goal of finishing a half marathon and you followed through with it.

Also see:  Finish Line Tips
6 Frequently-Asked Questions About Half Marathon Racing

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