Half Marathon Training Tips for Beginners

Half marathon training for beginners takes time and dedication, but don't let that stop you. Even as a new runner, you can train for and complete a half marathon in less time than you think.  Here are six tips to help you train and race through 13.1 miles.

More: 13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon

Find a Race and Sign Up

Before you do anything else to train, you have to sign up and commit. The act of committing to a race and plunking down the registration fee can help to motivate you. Plus, you need to know exactly when the race is so that you can map out your training runs for the next few months.

When you pick which race to run, make sure you leave yourself enough time to train between now and race day. If you can already run 3 miles, then give yourself 12 weeks to train for a half. If you can't run 3 miles, then start with a Couch to 5K (C25K) program and work up from there. Most C25K programs take you from zero to 3 miles in eight weeks. After you reach 3 miles, give yourself at least 12 additional weeks to train for 13.1 miles. In total, this is 20 week of half marathon training. And yes, if you're a beginner, you can start from nothing and work up to a half marathon in under six months. Now go for it!

More: When Should New Runners Increase Their Distance?

Find a Training Plan and Follow it

This tip really is that easy. A training plan tells you how much to run and when, so it takes all of the guess work out of training. If you follow a reasonable training plan, you will reach your goal.

Look for a plan that is at the right level for you: beginner, intermediate or advanced. There are plenty available. Check out these training plans on Active.com or try Jeff Galloway's Run-Walk Half Marathon training plan.

More: 6 Tips to Expand Your Training Schedule

Go Shopping

To train and complete a half marathon, you really need some good gear. The first thing to buy (if you haven't already) is a good pair of running shoes. Make sure you get a proper fitting at a local running store if this is your first pair. After that, you can buy the same shoes online for less money.

More: How to Pick the Right Running Shoes

Next, you will want to look for a good tech tee that wicks sweat away from your skin and fits well to avoid chafing. Also look for running shorts, pants, capris or possibly a running skirt. You'll have to shop around to find what style works for you. You can buy one pair to start and then run several miles in them to make sure they function well on the run. Finally, try out some wicking socks which pull moisture away from your feet. This helps to decrease the occurrence of blisters.

After you're properly dressed you will need to accessorize with a hydration belt. A hydration belt is a small belt that fastens around your waist. It will allow you to carry energy gels or snacks and many belts also have a place for a water bottle. A good one should also have a pocket for a few necessities like a cell phone, keys or photo ID.  There are many brands and styles, so shop around.

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