Should I Start Training for a Half Marathon?

Friday, September 24, 2010

OK, everyone I would like your feedback. I have been training for my first 10K which is October 2. I can't wait and I am really excited. As the time gets closer and I talk to more and more people I keep hearing the same thing over and over. You should go for a 1/2.

I don't know that I really have any desire to do a half, even though I think it would be really fun. But the more people keeping telling me I should do it and the more friends I know who are either doing one or training for one my mind is changing a little. Maybe, just maybe, I could do a half and really enjoy it. If I ever do a half, or even longer event, I want to do it for me and because I want to, not because everyone else is doing or everyone else is telling me I should do it.

Training wise, how long does it take to build up from a 10K to a half? When would be a date I should shoot for to run a half if I started training in October? What does it take to do a half? How did you get started and prepare for your first half? Any thoughts or advice would be helpful.

emoticon emoticon
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    DEFINITELY! I did my first half marathon on Oct 17. I had trained for half marathons for several years; however, I always ended up getting injured and could never finish my training, let alone actually run in one. Crossing the finish line was the most amazing feeling ever - aside from my wedding day and having my babies. I used Hal Higden's half marathon training schedule. If you google his name, the schedules will pop up.

    3438 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    I don't have any advice to add regarding "how to" because I haven't done one YET, but I can say if YOU want to do it, that's enough reason. I signed up for my first HM - registered in June for the event in November, with all intentions of WALKING the entire way. However, now I do plan to challenge myself and run some. For me, it was a means to an end - I wasn't losing weight, and needed a goal to help me exercise more regularly. "Fear" will do that. emoticon All I want to do is finish.
    3463 days ago
    I am the odd ball runner. I already do a half in my training. I am signed up to run my first official half in May with my 14 year old grand son as my running buddy, and we are hoping to get my son, his dad to do a 5k. If Aaron signs up for the 5, then Curtis and I will do the 5km on Saturday as a prelude to the half on Sunday.

    I gave my self a year of serious running before I schudele a half race, and I will do a douple half, in 2012. I ran 26 km on Sept 6 to celebrate leaving 55 behind and followed up with 11 km on my actual birthday on the 7.

    To me, it is interesting that many half training plans only expect you to train up to between 14 and 18 km. The idea is that by keeping the long runs shorter you need less recovery time. Typically half training plance are about 13 to 20 weeks.

    All the best what ever you decide to do.

    Good running, and be careful out there.

    3463 days ago
    I just decided to do my first Half which will be in late March. I have 6 months to train. Currently, I am comfortable running 3.5 miles and ran my first 4.5 miles this past weekend. I think 6 months will be a great timeframe to increase my miles... and my speed!

    As far as whether or not YOU should do it... if you are not burning with a desire to do it, I'm not sure you should! Maybe you should just keep doing 5Ks and 10Ks. Maybe work on speed for awhile. Try another sport. (I plan on doing some sprint triathlons in 2011, too.) Find something you love and that you REALLY want to do!

    If you decide on a half marathon, let me know! We can virtually train together. emoticon
    3473 days ago
    I say go for it, if it's what YOU want, and for no other reason! A half marathon is a very rewarding accomplishment! There are lots of training plans out there. Personally, I like Hal Higdon't plans. I have used his plans for my halfs and for the full I did in January, and am using his marathon plan now for the marathon I have coming up in November! His novice/beginner half marathon plan is 12 weeks.
    Good luck!
    3474 days ago
  • FRECKS96
    I am almost exactly where you are. I did C25K this past spring and I'm running my first 10K this weekend too. I'm aiming for my first 1/2 to be in late spring 2011, maybe April. I think I can get there as long as I have enough days to run this winter. I think an easy way to estimate training time would be to look at how long it took you to go from 5K to 10K. That was doubling your distance, so it should take you a bit longer than that to double your distance again.

    Let me know if you find out anything and maybe we can train "together".
    3474 days ago
    You've certainly gotten great advice. I just started C25k, and will start GW28k in 2 weeks when I finish. I'm clear that I don't think I'm interested in marathon running-so I'm with Laurie-do what you're ready to do, in your time.
    Keep moving though, it's an emoticon thing.

    Grace and peace,
    3476 days ago
    Don't be forced into anything. Do it if you want it. But of course I say go for it. If you can do a 10K you can do the half. I did the Disneyworld 5k as my first ever 5K and loved it so much I signed up for the half for the next marathon weekend. I used smartcoach also and just tweaked it to my work schedule. My first 5K was Jan of 2008 and first half was Jan 2009. Don't race anyone else, just set your own goals. I did my first and that was my PR, the next time I wanted to beat my last one. If your friends are fast, great, I will see you when I get there. There will be people passing you, let them pass. You will pass others which actually motivates me some, but I'm still just going for me and my PR. But by all means I think your ready.

    3476 days ago
  • COOP9002
    Looks like you've already got some great advice. I would say that if you are mentally ready for this kind of challenge then go for it.
    3476 days ago
    I was not a runner until June of this year. I actually started running last November on a treadmill but after taking 2 months off to heal shin splints (Jan to Mar) then one month off due to work (May), I started running outside with my husband in June. In July, he was asked if he wanted to run another marathon for Team Diabetes (his first was New Orleans 2002). This one will be in Rome in March 2011 so I decided I wanted to do it with him. As part of my training plan, we worked it so I could do a half marathon on our vacation and it was a great experience! I know everyone is different, but doing this one now has just fueled my fire for the marathon and maybe running your first event will make you hungry for more too!
    Good luck on your 10k!!!
    Cheers, Loreen
    3476 days ago
    Hi there, I actually trained for a half before I ever did a 10k. I had done some 5k races and knew that the half was a challenge I really wanted to take on. I dedicated twelve weeks to training. A typical week included 3 days of running (two days of 3-5 miles, and a long run day which started around 5 miles and worked up to about 10), 2 days of cross training, and strength training. My training plan was based on Hal Higdon's beginner's half training plan. Jeff Galloway also has an excellent training plan designed for beginners. It was perfect for me because I actually enjoy cross training and the plan allowed plenty of time for that. I would allow 3-4 months for training. The training program was definitely a major time commitment, more than a 10k would have been, so I definitely suggest going for it only if YOU want to. definitely don't worry about what everyone else is doing! But if this is something you want to try, I say go for it!
    3476 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/25/2010 10:07:03 AM
  • LAURIE5658
    Go for a Half only when YOU are ready as you need a fully stoked fire in your belly to take on the training. I run my first HM tomorrow morning and I want this so badly! I used Smart Coach ( and made just a few tweaks along the way. My training was 16 weeks and I was 99.9% faithful to it. It works!! Good luck with your running and remember...YOU make the decision when YOU are ready.
    3476 days ago
    Of course, my answer to your question is OF COURSE! lol If you want training advice, go to for a training plan. You are able to go as far out as 20 weeks on a training plan there. Good luck! You've asked a very knowledgable group of people so I'm sure you'll get some awesome advise.
    3476 days ago
  • _DASH_
    GO FOR IT.

    just listen to your body and increase your distance when you feel ready during your runs. my first race was a 10k in june 2009 and in october 2009 i ran a full marathon. anything is possible - i think you will have your own experience and it's hard for me to know when the right time would be - a lot of running is scientific and there are training programs and ways to calculate and build up, but so much of running is mental and spiritual anyway - just let yourself have fun during your runs, if you feel like going farther one day, take the challenge and go farther and before you know it you will be surprising yourself. having fun and letting your body decide is a perfect way to make the process "yours" and not because anyone is telling you to. if you go for it, i have complete faith in you.

    you will make your dreams come true - and if a 1/2 is in your cards - i say there is nothing holding you back. :D good luck!!
    3477 days ago
    I just completed my first 5K and have 3 more coming up. I started with C25K in June and finished about a month ago. I really want to do a triathlon (sprint) in the spring, but am nor REALLY considering a 1/2 marathon. (I honestly don't think I'll ever do a marathon, though.) I am regularly running 3.5 miles a run and plan on running 4 miles tomorrow.

    I'm also considering the Disney Princess Half. It sounds like quite a few SPers might be there. Wouldn't that be fun???
    3477 days ago
    Hey congrats!

    If you can do 10K then you can definitely do a half. Probably 3 months training would be all you need.

    You can always try one and decide if you like it.

    Congrats again!
    3477 days ago
    I would love to give you some feedback but it would take me too long to educate myself on the difference between all the Ks and Marathon distances. I am not a runner.

    But this is my feedback. I am here to support you no matter what you run. I will pray for you at the beginning of each race. I am on the side line cheering you on. I am at the finish line praising your accomplishment. I am your SP friend.

    emoticon on whatever you decide

    Happy weekend,
    3477 days ago
  • BETRME100
    Wow!! Good luck with your 10K in October...I just ran my first 5K last weekend...I can totally see myself running a 1/2 some day, but I'm going to need some time to train. I think you should do it if you want to...but only if you want's up to you feel that burning desire? If so, go for it!
    3477 days ago
    I'm training from Sept thru Feb to train for the Disney Princess 1/2. I went from a 5K to a 1/2 and skipped the 10K all together--haha! I train at least 20 weeks for a half to avoid injury and such. It just works for me, but I think everyone is different. Do what is comfortable for you! I love a good 1/2! emoticon emoticon
    3477 days ago
    Oh, a couple links I found useful in planning:

    Good luck!

    3477 days ago
    Well, the general recommendation for training is to just simply add mileage, 5-10% per week, from wherever you are to wherever you want to be. Adding 10% per week (compounded) works out to be about 8 weeks to go from a 10K to 21.1K, while adding 5% per week works out to be about 15 weeks.

    Myself I started the summer with a 12.5km run on July 1, and ran the 21.1km for the first time on August 18, which was about seven weeks. My original plan had been for it to be a bit longer, but I ended up choosing a different race (this coming Sunday instead of October 17) so I ramped a bit faster than I was originally intending, then held it there at 21.1km for five week in order to convince myself that I can do it. One of those weeks I cut the run short (for a number of reasons) but I've run the 21.1km four times already, so I know I'm ready.

    As for my second HM, my wife & I are booked for the Disney Princess Half in February.
    3477 days ago
    I love the look of that marathon too - girl power and all that good stuff. I echo my spark teammates when saying you have to decide for you and only you! You will know if you want to do it in the end, and also you will decide how to run, run/walk, walk it is best for you and your body. You just forget about what everyone says and listen to your own body and heart!

    3477 days ago
    JENELOPE - The Disney Princess Half is actually one I am thinking about.

    KARVY09 - I like your advice about just adding mileage and going from there.

    I have been telling some people that I may not have speed but maybe I can be an endurance runner. I have never had speed but the longer runs (4-5 miles) that I have been doing are both challenging and in a strange kind of way, fun.
    3477 days ago
    I think the answer is, "If it's what you want to do." I decided to start training for a half marathon before I even started running, which is a bit nuts, frankly.

    I use Jeff Galloway's beginner half marathon training program. This isn't the one on his website. It's an absolute beginner, starting from nothing program that is in his "Half Marathon: You Can Do It" book. It's a total of 38 weeks, including post-race recovery. He has other programs in there for more experienced runners. As of this weekend, I have 22 weeks left until my half (Disney's Princess Half-marathon) and I still need to get through 5.5 miles. Pray for me! emoticon
    3477 days ago
    I've been thinking the same thing; about doing a 1/2. I have my first race, a 10k on 10/23 & I'm starting to get an ancy feeling in my gut that I want to do a 1/2. I'm going to subscribe to your blog & friend you so I can keep up with what advice you are given & what you decide to do.
    So glad I came across your blog!
    3477 days ago
  • AMBER281
    I just completed my first half last weekend. I walked the entire thing. My reason to do it was to prove to myself that I had what it takes to complete it and that I didn't have to wait until I had lost more weight but that I could truly do it. I blogged about my half marathon experience if you want to read more about it.
    I trained for about 13 weeks doing 3 miles a day 3 times a week and then doing longer walks on Saturdays starting a 5 miles and building up from there. I was focused on finishing and not on how fast I could finish since it was my first one.
    I think that if you decide to do a half that you should do it for you and not because someone says you should. Everyone has there own reason and experience but I am really happy that I made the decision to do it.
    Good luck with your decision and have fun at your 10K on October 2.
    3477 days ago
  • KARVY09
    I gave myself about 5 months to train because I didn't want to overdo it in the hot summer months, but in actuality I only needed 3 months to train for my half. I used Hal Higdon's training program

    I agree that you should do it for you and not anyone else! After the 10K, I'd just start adding mileage and see how it feels to you and whether you enjoy shorter distances or like the added mileage. Then you can make a better decision about going for a half. It was a lot easier for me to train for the half than for the 10K. It was easier to make the jump from 6 miles to 7 than 3 miles to 4... your body gets used to the distances easier after you've done 10K.
    3477 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.