I would give yourself a solid 3-6 months of training time--mainly to build your aerobic base and to lay-down the capillary network and energy systems your body will need to complete a race of this duration. As far as blisters--definitely invest in a good pair of wicking socks--they are all expensive so you may want to buy one at a time to see what works best for you.
Barefoot running and minimalist shoe running has been all the rage, but it may not be right for you. I would not recommend barefoot running for your half-marathon unless you are working with a coach. Your bio-mechanics (landing under your center of gravity) is by far a better predictor or injury versus whether you heel strike, mid-foot strike or fore-foot strike--so much claim as been made that the only way to strike is mid-foot---the studies show that your running style is unique to you and that trying to change it has been shown to create other issues up and down your kinetic chain.
While Hal Higdon has some great training programs---feel free to look over many different plans and develop your own, focusing on your area of weakness--in other words if you tend to be quad (front of thigh) dominant, you may want to integrate hills into your training program so that you work on firing your glutes and hammies--if you tend to be a slower runner, focusing on a program with some tempos or intervals may be better for you.
Training is about starting where you are and evolving--you do not want to train where you want to be---so if you're just working on your first, it may be best to concentrate on building endurance--and then as you continue to run, you can make the tweaks necessary.
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!
Voluntary Discomfort is the secret cornerstone of strength. We build our whole lives around increasing comfort and avoiding discomfort, and yet by doing so we are drinking a can of Weakness Tonic with every morning’s breakfast. ~Mr. Money Mustache 5K PR: 23:40 10K PR: 48:57 HM PR: 1:59:37 30K: 2:57:44
I agree with Hal Higdon plans. And by all means join the barefoot and minimalist runner's group on spark. Blisters will be a thing of the past, just like any other running injuries. Many overpronators build very nice arches when they remove the casts called shoes from from their feet.
I used the Smartcoach app for my second and third halves last year and it worked out pretty well. I'd allow 16 weeks for the first time out, personally. (used the Galloway plan for my very first, though).
As for socks, any running socks should be okay, though I've become partial to the Feetures socks (I'm prone to blisters on my arch and these seem to alleviate that issue).
Jeckie (aka. Sarah) - Lowell, MA - EST Half Fanatic #3032
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It sounds like you're already well on your way, and that's great!
Hal Higdon has some great training plans for free. I think he has apps for phones as well but I've never used those. Both of his novice half marathon plans are for 12 weeks. Following those, you could be quite ready for an autumn or even a late summer half marathon.
As for blisters, socks are one part of the equation and shoes are the other. Any decent running sock that isn't cotton should be good. Often they'll be made out of polyester, spandex, and/or nylon. I've had success with all sorts of brands...Asics, Balega, Mizuno, etc.
I don't know your shoe situation, but if you've never gone to a running store and gotten properly fit for a pair of running shoes (this includes gait analysis where the salesperson watches you run), now is the time to do that! When I first started a few years ago, I did a half marathon without proper shoes and ended up with a line of blisters up and down the inside of my right foot. This was because I am an overpronator and needed support shoes. When you go, discuss your orthotics situation with them as well.
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Fitness Minutes: (7,721) Posts: 13 4/23/13 4:21 A
Hi, I'm new to the team. I really want to do a half marathon. I can run 5k easily and am aiming to do 10k in a couple of weeks but need advice on building up my distance. Does anyone know any good smart phone training apps for going from 5k to half marathon?
What kind of time would you allow to train for a half marathon?
Also I wondered if any more experienced runners could advise me on socks. I get huge blisters on the soles of my feet when I run which is mostly from wearing orthotics but I wondered if anyone could recommend a good running sock or something.
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