Splurge on some Icebreakers socks, and you will be so glad you did. They are expensive, but if you only use them for your long runs, and take care of them, they will last forever. I have some Smartwool socks, and they are good too, but the Icebreakers are amazing. I've done up to 15 miles in them, and just did a really tough, hilly half in minimalist shoes and had no chafing or rubbing at all. Another thing that helps is to use Body Glide on your feet, between your toes and everything, to reduce friction.
For training, I use MapMyRun.com to map out different route distances, but I found that using their app, or Runkeeper with my smartphone was horrible for tracking distances. It would cosistently add 50% to my distances.
What a reasonable time for training is, depends on your goals. If you just want to finish, then maybe 10 weeks would work, but if you want to run it at a certain pace, I'd advise shooting for a fall marathon and giving yourself several months so that you can slowly increase your long runs and intersperse hill and speed workouts and strength training.
Another thing with HM training plans, is that many I've seen only train up to a 12-mile long run, and that's what I did for my first half. At race pace, I ended up not quite bonking, but I did hit a wall. With the big race I did last week, I did a couple 14-15 mile training runs a few weeks before, and it made all the difference in the world, and I was able to finish the 13.1 strongly, and it was mentally way easier. But of course, you'll need to build extra time into your training schedule if you want to work in those distances before your half.
Good luck and have fun!
Nothing's ever gonna' stand in our way again. ~Wilco
|50 Days until: Freezeout Hill 12K