November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
half marathons
Display Avatars Sort By:
Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
half marathons on 06/10/2012 06:52:01 MDT Print View

So... has anyone here ran a half? I'm going to run one in the future and was wondering what the best way to train is. Right now I can only run about 8.5 km (with steep hills) and I could probably do a 10 km on a flat surface. What's the best way to get ready for a half?

The earliest I'd be running this is next Spring and I'm using hiking, cycling and yoga to cross-train.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 07:26:47 MDT Print View

I've ran several halfs and a couple full marathons. Honestly the hard part is getting the first 5 miles. Now you just have to spend some time increasing your distance. I would suggest getting a training program and just following it:

1. Furman Institute of Running ( has a good program. I like it because it focuses on quality runs and not killing yourself running 5-6 days a week.
2. Running World has programs. Galloway has some good programs.

I'm sure others will have some good suggestions. I personally try not to run back to back days and limit to no more than 4 days a week. If you are trying to run competitively then you will want something more intense.

With a half you will also need some need some calories during the race. I like the information at Hammer Nutrition website. Gives you a good idea what the body needs. However you can buy other products to met the need.

BTW, pick a flatter course for your first race. Then more challenging as you do more.

Good luck


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 11:31:28 MDT Print View

Laurie- what are you currently running- ballpark mileage wise per week? You've got lots and lots of time, this is a great time to add to your base.

When you get three months out (or so) from your 1/2, you can jump into one of many posted training regimes found on the web. Look at lots of them, as they can vary quite a bit and try and find one that best suits yourself (or steal portions out of several and make your own). The one thing they will probably all have in common is that they will slowly ramp up the weekly mileage. Most will have a "long run" on one day and this will get slowly ramped up as well.

Some will have you running 5 days, some 4 and even a few 3- you'll have to sort out what fits best for you. They should incorporate some less strenuous (recovery) weeks every 2-4 weeks as well. They should all have you tapering as you near your event. Many will incorporate days where you're doing hill work, speed work, etc.

If you find a regime isn't working for you, try to identify why and then choose another.

A couple pieces of advice, first have fun with it- running needs to be fun (most of the time anyways! :) ); listen to your body- if you feel an injury coming on, get it healed properly; if you get feeling burnt out- back off, the body is an amazing feedback system if we listen to it

Glad to see you've been bitten by the running bug.


Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Half on 06/10/2012 11:57:45 MDT Print View

I ran my first half in March. I made up my own 12-week training plan using elements from a number of others. From what I've read, the details don't matter much, but there are 3 key things that just about all training have in common: 1) a weekly long run that gradually increases to at least 10 miles 2 weeks before your race (I went up to 13; some go to 15), 2) some speed work, and 3) gradually increasing your miles per week to 30+ and then cutting the mileage way back over the last 1-2 weeks (the "taper"). If you search around online, you'll find lots of options. Don't overthink it too much--just choose one that looks reasonable.

I tried the FIRST plan (the Furman plan referenced above) a couple of years ago and got hurt. You run fewer miles per week than many other plans, but all of the miles are fast-ish. This means a lot of pounding on your legs and feet.

I don't think that you need to eat during a half marathon. Your body can store more than enough calories for 13 miles. During my race, I didn't see anyone taking in anything other than water.

Good luck with it. Finishing the race was tremendously satisfying.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Half marathons on 06/10/2012 12:20:11 MDT Print View

+1 to the advice above. I've also run a few halves and several full marathons and agree with the general advice above:

Don't overtrain (a common mistake). Almost all running plans have some different iteration of a "staggered" plan, where you slowly increase your mileage, reaching your highest mileage a few weeks before your race.

Start with getting a good running "base", where you can run a "long" run once a week (around 5, 6 or 7 miles) and run 2-3 short runs during the week (like 3-4 miles). Keep this base for 2-3 months (at least). Keep it fresh by trying out some group runs and finding different places to run in your area.

Once you have this base, start increasing your "long" runs by no more than 1-2 miles, then back off the next weekend to your base miles, then increase the next weekend and so on, staggering until you reach your goal mileage. For a half, there is no need to actually run 13 miles before the race, but you can, as it won't really break your body down like trying to run 26 before a marathon. What I mean is that if you can run a few 11 mile or 12 miles runs about 2-3 weeks before your race, then you WILL finish your half with no problem!

Do you currently run with a partner? A good way to get excited about a race is find someone to run with and to pick a race that maybe benefits some organization you like.

Good luck!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 17:38:53 MDT Print View

Hi Laurie,

If at all possible do your training on a trail.

Trail dirt is softer than a track. A track is softer than asphalt. Asphalt is softer than concrete.

I've done 1 milers, 5K, 10K, 18K, 1/2 marathon and 2 complete marathons. These were all a half a life ago! L O L

My 58 year old knees will attest to the fact that the harder the surface the shorter your running career.

What worked for me was LSD. ;-)

Long slow distance training runs mixed in with shorter and quicker paced days in-between. The cycling and some mild hill work that you mentioned also benefited me when I was still into running in a galaxy long ago and far far away! ;-)

Taper off your training towards the half marathon you plan to run leaving yourself 3 to 5 days of rest prior to the actual run itself. Use this time to load up on complex carbohydrates to build up a fuel reserve for your run.

+1 for listening to your body! If something hurts don't ignore it, attend to it. If it involves rest, rest!

Enjoy your run. Remember that if you can carry on a conversation with the runner next to you, you are at a comfortable pace that you can maintain. With training the mileage will come to you.

Good Luck!

Party On,


Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 18:43:19 MDT Print View

to elaborate more on LSD,

Laurie, when you run currently in your workouts do you feel like you are pushing yourself ?

LSD, Long Slow Distance is all about going easy and Not feeling like you are pushing.
My theory is if you go slow enough you can go any distance.

Many runners feel a bit ashamed if they have to walk now and then, Don't.
I suggest as part of your base building do 2 or 3 13.1's, easy and slow, and if you must walk some of it no big deal.
Once you have the confidence you can at least do 13.1, then you can build up to running the whole thing at an easy pace.

while in general there is no need to actually run a full 13.1 in your training, I think in your case, being a novice, you should, even if you have to walk a bit.
it will help to give you some confidence in the distance.
it will be a great contribution to your base building.

Edited by asandh on 06/10/2012 18:53:23 MDT.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 19:25:56 MDT Print View


Scott makes a good comment about FIRST. I like the approach of doing an interval, tempo and slow long run each week. I do dial back the suggested speeds in FIRST because at 45 years old I'm not trying to prove anything. A lot of programs have 5-6 days of running and I have found that my body just responses better to 3 days and then I either lift weights or cross fit a few days a week. Rest is not a bad thing.

As other have said walking is not a bad thing. I had a buddy who wanted to do his first full marathon, so we used the Galloway run walk method. Ran 4 mins, walked 1 min. Worked out great and I recovered super fast.

Nutrition is something you will have to experiment with. Kinda like shoes. What works for one doesn't work for another. We all just react differently. I personally target 200-225 calories per hour and 18-22 oz of water (depending on temps). If hot I will add electrolytes. If race is half or less I will just take egels every 40 minutes. If marathon I will usually do hammer product. Just depends. I also don't do all the crazy pasta loading the night before, etc. Plenty of good stuff to read online about approach.

As somebody said, make sure you have fun and don't stress if you have bad training day.


daniel B
(dbogey) - F - M

Locale: East Coast
Re: half marathons on 06/10/2012 20:16:30 MDT Print View

From personal experience I'd get out and run 2-3 times per week. I'm 43 and I run 9-12 miles 2-4 times per week. It takes some time for your body to adjust but run at your own pace, get shoes and socks that are comfortable and go from there. To me a lot of running is mental I purposely pick the steepest hills and hottest days to run to test myself. I think that if your healthy you'll have no problem doing it and once you do you'll want to do a full marathon Keep us posted and good luck!!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Some thoughts for a beginning runner.... on 06/10/2012 22:00:13 MDT Print View

Something to consider:
Many beginning runners (myself included) typically go for the mileage progression: i.e. running the first 5K, then the first 10K, the first marathon, etc...

Another aspect to consider is improving one's time at a shorter distances before climbing the mileage ladder in official events. Training to run a faster 5K will take you into the same weekly mileage territory (if not more) as training for your first half marathon simply to finish...but the miles you run will be faster and you'll likely become a better runner.

Many beginners (this happened to me as well) get lured into the mileage as opposed to what many more disciplined runners would consider "quality". II think this is largely due to the fact that it is easy to impress friends (and oneself) by saying one has completed a half marathon or marathon or "X" miles...but notice notice how few people mention their finishing times when saying they have run half or full marathons?

People generally understand and respect mileage. But people generally don't understand time and how hard it is to achieve. BIG difference in the runners that can finish a 5K in under 21 minutes vs. finish a marathon in 5 hours...but the general public doesn't see/understand the difference; the marathon always sounds harder and more exciting.

By all means, do what makes you happy, what motivates you to run. But just putting it out there as something to consider; mileage isn't everything...a lot of people sacrifice quality for quantity in this regard. As you're starting fresh, you still have the opportunity to choose which path you want to focus on.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
half marathons on 06/11/2012 09:43:15 MDT Print View

When I was able to run races I have tried LSD method of training and also interval method of training.
LSD training is good if you want to just complete the half marathon. Interval method is if you want to win or place high in the race. It just all depends on your goals for the race.

I found what also worked the best was to become a efficient runner after reading a article in Runners Magazine by Alberto Salazar. Pretend their was fake celling with nails sticking down one inch from my head to smooth out my running gait till it was effortless instead of rocking back in forth up and down and also let my arms swing low instead of pumping chest height back and forth. Basically your using less energy to run with less effort and you get faster and more efficient also. l also did at least one running day of hill work or if you don't have hills in your towns run the local high school stadium steps.

You should at least run a half marathon distance at least monthly or every 2 months so running that distance become second nature to you. If you have to take breaks during that distance to walk then walk. Because when you run that distance once a month when you do run that half marathon your training for their will be no surprises.
Also enter and run 10 k and 5 k races at least once a month for the fun of it just so your use to running in larger crowds and the fun and fellowship of running the race circuit ,plus you make running friends .
Most of all just have fun and enjoy the freedom of running and if you do well in race it just icing on the cake.

Edited by socal-nomad on 06/11/2012 09:45:06 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Some thoughts for a beginning runner.... on 06/11/2012 09:50:48 MDT Print View


Well said Craig, great insight, and definitely something I needed to hear.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
half crazy on 06/16/2012 16:26:15 MDT Print View

So I'm running intervals... and this week I'll be running two days at 3K each, one day at 4K and an LSD of 6K. I plan to increase the LSD by 1K every week or two. I'm also thinking that I should bring some hill training into the mix again. I'm running a 10K race in October.

Thanks a bunch for all the info... it's going to be a big help as I try to work through this. I swore I was never ever going to run. Then I swore up and down that it would be one 5K race just to say I did it once. I think I might be addicted to this bit.

And... tomorrow I hike.

PS I don't run with a partner... I can't find anyone slow enough. My husband and friends can run a 5K in sub-30. Me... well I'm working on sub-40. I'm painfully slow but much faster than I was when I started.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 06/16/2012 16:27:31 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: half crazy on 06/16/2012 21:14:10 MDT Print View

Don't try eating during a half-marathon. It's far too short, and all eating does is divert the blood supply from your muscles to your stomach - bad news.

Don't bother drinking either - you can not get dehydrated over that distance, despite the claims from the vendors of special drinks. They just want your money. On the other hand, you can overdrink, and end up seriously ill with hyponatremia. Google articles by Noakes in BMJ about that.

The best use for the (plain) water they hand out in those races is to pour it over your head and down the back of your neck. Seriously! Keep your brain stem cool. It feels wonderful.

Cheers (and good luck)

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: half crazy on 06/17/2012 09:16:51 MDT Print View

this early in your training I would stress LSD over intervals.
and I think you can up the mileage on your LSD if you are truly running LSD (Long Slowwww Distance).

goal # 1 should simply be to know you can run the distance.
that's LSD.

goal # 2 should be to go a bit faster once you can go the distance.
that's intervals.

Regarding eating during a half marathon :
if you plan to take longer than 1.5 hours (most likely by what you've said)
then you would benefit by taking a single gel and a couple gulps of water every half hour during the race.
but you have plenty of time till next spring to figure this out.

Edited by asandh on 06/17/2012 10:25:56 MDT.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Reply on 06/17/2012 18:18:44 MDT Print View


Unless you are planning on running like a Kenya at about an hour I would strongly recommend drinking something and a gel along the way. This is based on my experience and about 99% of the running world (not sports drink companies). You could be looking at running for 2.5 hours so I think you will crash if you don't drink and have some gel. I know I would. However training runs are where you figure this out.


Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
half marathons on 06/18/2012 07:41:12 MDT Print View

Well I only ended up running 5.18 km yesterday for the LSD instead of 6 km because of impending thunderstorms. If I hadn't been out there with my toddler in the stroller I might have gone further but last thing I wanted was for her to be soaked. Of course, it seemed to blow over right when I got home and was cooled off. We were actually planning a hike originally so everything got messed up. So I'll aim for 6 or 6.5 km next weekend with smaller runs during the week.

I was in a real funk about running too. I have been a little bit since the trail relay. Do any of you find you get like that ever? How do you work through it? I basically pushed myself to get out and at least do something.

I'm diabetic so gels or something are going to be a must. I can't have potassium supplements so I have to be careful there. I find I need about 24 grams of carb every 30 to 40 minutes to sustain proper glucose levels and not completely crash. Of course this depends a lot on what my pre-race blood glucose was and when I ate prior to running.

I also need to hydrate more frequently than most because even slight dehydration causes an issue for me (long story but partially related to use of a statin to treat familial hypercholestoralemia - say that 5 times fast). For me hydration is a daily thing - not just running. I've noticed how hydrated I am the day before a run makes a big difference. I drink a few ounces every half hour (nothing major).

Taking this on as a diabetic makes it a bit more challenging in that I really have watch things and listen to my body.

When I say I run intervals... even my LSD's are 10s and 1s. I'd love to be able to run 5K straight through but I'm not quite there yet and need 2 to 3 walks of 1 minute each in that distance. I imagine I'll need to do the same for a half.

Should I be looking at adding tempo runs, fartleks, and hills into the training yet? Or is this something I should do a little later on?

Thanks for all the advice... I'm going to sit down and take it all into consideration when modifying my training plan.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: half marathons on 06/18/2012 07:56:07 MDT Print View

Mike... I forgot to answer your question. I'm running between 18 and 22 km a week with cycling, hiking, pilates and yoga in between runs to cross train.

I'm certainly addicted to this even though I've had a funk going on. If I have a day or two off I really miss running both mentally and physically.

When I started I preferred the treadmill and the indoor track and now I find that I dread them and would rather run outside on a bit of trail. We live a mere kilometer from the Grand River so I run trails along the water and through the forest.

Back in May I accidentally did my longest run ever and before that I had never run more than 5K. It was the week before the trail relay (where I ended up running 8.4 km - total of 2 laps) so I tapered for the entire week pre-race. Here's the story for those who might be interested in my newbie running adventures.

We were camping on private land between the river and rail trail. It's a gathering I host at Sharp's Rapids on the Grand River every Spring with 40 or so other backpackers and paddlers. I decided to get up before everyone else and go for a run to the German Woollen Mill Ruins pictured here...

mill one

mill two

And this is what I posted in my training log...

I was so excited when I got back that I sent a text message to some of my running friends. Here's why... I wanted to run to the mill ruins and back. I had mapped it out on Google Maps based on where they said the mill ruins were which would have been 7.7 km including the return trip. In actuality it was 9.27 km round trip from Sharp's Rapids to the mill. I didn't realize I had done tens and ones for over 7 km until I decided to look at the GPS because I had been running for more than an hour. I'm not sure if it was the recent hill training or the beautiful cool morning, or the fact that I wasn't thinking so much about time or distance that made it seem like I hadn't gone as far as the GPS said. The mill was at kilometer 70 and the campsite close to kilometer 65 so that confirmed the GPS information. I saw wild columbine, trillium, some sort of honey suckle, and what I think was a muskrat crossing my path. I was glad I ran in the morning because it was killer-hot in the afternoon.

Lesson... sometimes I think it is best if I don't think... lol.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: half marathons on 06/18/2012 08:12:39 MDT Print View

at your current experience and fitness level, 90% of your effort should be on base building, meaning LSD, meaning simply going the distance.

intervals, farleks, are for building speed, and you don't have enough of a base to worry about this yet.

tempo runs, same thing, not enough of a base yet, maybe in a few months.

hills, whether you should train on hills or not depends on whether your goal half marathon has hills or not. try and train somewhat specific to the race you plan to run ... I assume you have a half marathon picked out, or do you?

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
half crazy on 06/18/2012 08:46:32 MDT Print View

Thanks... that's exactly what I needed to know.... so I will concentrate on increasing and attaining the distance first and then work on the pace later.

I'm looking at the Mississauga Marathon (half) or Ottawa.