How Do I Train for a Half Marathon?

So you’ve decided to run a half marathon.  Congratulations!

People run for a variety of reasons:

  • To become physically fit
  • For a good cause or major milestone birthday
  • To escape zombies (hypothetically)

Whatever your “why” may be, you soon have to figure out the “how”.  Don’t worry, I’ve got five tips below.

How Do I Run A Half Marathon?

  1. Choose a marathon.
    The last marathon I trained for 10 years ago!
    The last marathon I trained for 10 years ago!

    If you’ve never run one before, or in my case, you have but it’s been YEARS, then give your body ample time to ramp up.  A marathon is 26.2 miles.  A half marathon is 13.1 miles.  A good rule of thumb is to give yourself one week training time for each mile you plan to run.  So if you are doing a half marathon you want to find one that is approximately 13 weeks away.  Other things to consider include the location (which marathon is closest to your home) and the time of year/weather (i.e. – do you want to run in 90 degree heat or during a potential snow storm or find one that is during a pleasantly warm time of year?)

  2. Figure out your goal.  Is your goal to run an 8 minute mile?  Is it to burn fat?  Or is your goal just to finish the dang race without dying?  Your goal will determine your workouts.
  3. Pick your training program:  Individual. 
    Marathon by Jeff Galloway
    Marathon by Jeff Galloway

    The training schedule I’m working off is from Olympian Jeff Galloway’s book, “Marathon”.   His programs focus on finishing the race injury free (a definite plus for me).  He breaks down the training like this:  Monday – walk/jog 30 minutes, Tuesday – cross train, Wednesday – walk 30 minutes, Thursday – cross train, Friday – walk/jog 30 minutes, Saturday – walk, Sunday – 3 mile run at an easy pace.  Each week the midweek run times increase by 5 minutes and the long run increases by a mile.  Another concept he suggest for beginning runners is to run a few minutes and then take a one minute walk break and repeat this throughout your long runs so you finish strong and put less strain on your body.   He also has an app and there are other online training programs out there as well.   Since I’ve done multiple marathons (albeit a decade ago!) and intermittent 5k and fun runs since having kids, I’m pretty comfortable training on my own.  If you’ve never ever run before you might want to consider a group run program.

  4. Pick your training program:  Group.
    5k run for my class reunion
    5k run for my class reunion

    There are lots of other programs that are available through apps and charity fundraising program.  The first marathon I did was with Team In Training, a division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  They were great.  They trained me how to finish a marathon and in exchanged I did fundraising for cancer research.  There are other charities that have run groups as well, like LiveStrong. If fundraising is not your thing, there are local run groups you can find through websites like MeetUp.  You can also ask your local sneaker store if they have any running groups you can join.  Personally, I’m going to be running long runs with the local No Excuse Moms group in my area.  If you ask around you will probably find at least avid runner in your neighborhood or social circle who can run with you.

  5. Run!  Follow your program.  Consistency is key.  This means running in the rain (but not thunderstorms) and running in the cold (dress for the weather) and running even when you just don’t feel like it.  If you put in the work your race day will be so much better.

But Lisa, you ask, What do I eat?  What do I wear to run in the rain?  How can I make my hair look cute so it doesn’t look like a rat’s nest when I’m done???  These, and many more questions will be answered in future blog posts, so keep coming back to read more tips.  I will use the hashtags #JJwillWalk  and #JohnnyJames.

Are YOU training for a half marathon too?  I’d love to hear from you!

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By the way,  I’m running a half marathon to raise money to help pay for medical expenses for my friend’s son JJ, who was in a horrific car accident and is paralyzed from the neck down.

Please go to and type in Johnny James Follis, or click here:  DONATE NOW

Johnny James Follis - before and after the accident
Johnny James Follis – before and after the accident

Keep running and talk to you soon!

Lisa 🙂

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!

Shes-losing-it-book-cover (c) 2012-2016 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, video, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

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