How to Run Well at Your First Half Marathon

The Chi Running Beginner Half Marathon training program includes more technique tips for every run.

Practice race-specific training. Think of your training as a rehearsal for your half marathon. Recreate race-day conditions on your long runs. For instance, if your race starts with rolling hills and then flattens out, run a similar course on your long runs if you can. Also practice fueling and hydrating. Most runners need water, electrolytes and fuel after about an hour of running, but everyone is different. Long runs are the perfect opportunity to practice.

More: Half Marathon Specific Workouts

Race Day and Beyond

  • Be prepared. Don't eat, drink, or wear anything new on race day. Do everything as you have practiced during training. If you've used a certain type of energy gel or fuel on your long runs, carry them with you during the race. Make sure you get to the start line with time to spare.
  • Don't start out too fast. Take in the positive energy around you, but don't get caught up in the crowd. Stay away from the runners closest to the start line—they are racing to win. Keep a slow, warm-up pace at the beginning of the race. Passing people closer to the end of the event will help build confidence.  

More: Half Marathon Pacing Strategies

  • Have fun. It's natural to feel a little nervous, but breathe deeply and smile. You've put in a lot of work—now you get to reach your ultimate goal. Check in with your technique often, especially if you get fatigued.
  • Celebrate. Be thankful for a body that can run 13.1 miles, and celebrate your accomplishment with friends and family.
  • Reflect and recover. Think about your experience. Did you train enough? How did you feel physically and mentally during the race? Would you do anything differently next time? Checking in with your original goals will help you create useful goals for the future. Do light recovery runs the week after your race to keep moving.

The most important thing to remember is to always listen to your body. Eat well, stay relaxed, and rest when you need it. Take it one run at a time—you can do it! 

More: Top 5 Half Marathon Fears and How to Conquer Them

Active logo Sign up for your next half marathon race.

About the Author

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM