Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Journey to a half marathon {part one}

In the past few weeks, I have been thinking about what I would like to accomplish this year in races and how far I have come since I started running. Let me tell you, what a HUGE difference what a year makes! As I was thinking about what I would like to accomplish, I thought I would put together a series of posts about how to go from no running (or low mileage) to running your first half marathon.

1. Start slow

  • if you are not currently running, it would be best to start slowly building up your mileage each week. Maybe this week, it's running for twenty minutes or for two kilometers. Whatever you feel comfortable and able to do.
  • if you start increasing the mileage too soon, you could end up finding yourself injured or feeling overwhelmed.
2. Pick a plan
  • there are many different plans out there that you can use. I have personally used the Hal Higdon half marathon plan and it worked really well for me. The plan can be found here
  • another popular option is the couch to 5k plan which can be found here. I have never used this plan, but have heard many good things about it. This is a good plan if you are starting out from no running at all. 
  • another option is the plan from Runner's World, which can be found here.
3. Get fitted for the proper running shoes
  • the best thing that you can do for yourself (besides running of course!) is to go into your local running store to get your gait analyzed and find the perfect shoe for you.
  • every runner is different where one runner may not pronate, while another needs pronation support. 
  • there are many different brands and types of shoes, so trying on different pairs is the best way to find out what works for yourself.
  • I personally love Asics and I know other runners who do not like them.
4. Sign up for a race or training group
  • Signing up for a race is a great motivation for yourself! As you have put the money into a race registration, it makes you less likely to back out of training. It also gives you something to look forward to.
  • Joining a local running group (can be found by Googling your area or even through the Running Room) can help provide others in the same stage of training as you. Groups through the Running Room also provide you with information at the start of each run, which is very beneficial if you are a new runner.
Next week: increasing your mileage, the importance of stretching and fueling

Tell me: if you were encouraging a friend who is new to running and wanting to run their first half marathon, what advice would you give them? Did I leave any major points out?


  1. I am training for a half this year as well and I am actually going to get fitted for sneakers today. I would also add the importance of stretching and strength training to the list to prevent injuries!

  2. I used the couch to 5k program last year and LOVED it. I can't wait to get back into running!

  3. Make sure to balance your workouts during training and include cross training, yoga and weight lifting - it will help with injury prevention and keep you strong :)

  4. Hi Leigh,
    Great advice on the 1/2 training. The biggest piece of advice I can add is that before you (anyone) attempts to train for a 1/2, they should do 8 weeks or base running first. Base running would just get the body used to running 3/4 times per week and might include shorter and longer runs, but just runs to log mileage, nothing like hills/speed or LSD (long slow distance); leave that for the training program. I'd almost say that the couch-5K that you suggested would be the best first step to training for the 1/2.

    Oh, and be prepared to want to do more - they are addictive!


  5. Nope you pretty much included all the information that I would include when advising a new runner!!

  6. Great points, Leigh! I've actually been encouraging my best friend to run lately. And the big tip I give her is to do what works for her. She had a hard time transitioning from the treadmill to the roads, so I gave her a bunch of different ideas on how to make it more fun :)

  7. I think you covered the high points - great post! I would also recommend listening to your body. if it hurts, and continues to hurt - go see a doctor. And take it easy, or it will just make the injury worse!

  8. This is a great post! Funny, I just wrote one very similar! I agree on all points, especially about starting off slow, be it with one mile or one minute or whatever! Also, signing up for races is definitely what keeps me motivated and on track!



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