Note: Before starting any new exercise regime, or taking up running for the first time, make sure that you speak to a health professional if you have any existing medical conditions.
Training to run a half marathon is going to take time, dedication and serious motivation. Unlike a 5K race or 10K run, which can usually be completed within an hour, a half marathon is 13.1 miles in length and can take anywhere between 3 to 5 hours to complete. The Great North Run is also the biggest half marathon in the world, so read our Great North Run training plan. It is both physically and mentally challenging and if you’re new to running, it is best to start with a 5K or 10K race and slowly work your way up to a half marathon, rather than attempting to run this endurance race without much running experience.
This half marathon training plan has been developed on the basis that the reader has already completed a 5K and 10K race and frequently runs or takes regular exercise. Starting at week 1, challenge your body and develop the stamina needed to run half a marathon within an 8-week period. This half marathon training plan doesn’t just include running – you will also work on general cardio and strength training for half marathon.
The average time it takes to run a half marathon can be anywhere from 3 hours up to 5 hours depending on your pace and individual running style. This might seem like a really long time to be running without a break, but after week 3 of our half marathon training plan, you will already be working out for 60 minutes at a time.
For the days when you’re tasked to complete a 30-40-minute cardio workout, we highly recommend swimming, cycling and using a cross trainer as these types of workouts are fantastic full body exercises that will strengthen and tone, as well as aid muscle development.
Make sure to always pay close attention to how you feel and your overall health and wellbeing. If you feel ill during training for the half marathon, it’s OK to miss a day or two, and allow your body time to recover. Skipping one or two days of training for a half marathon is better than pushing yourself to run, when you don’t feel quite right, as you can risk serious injury. Pulling a muscle, or damaging ligaments after pushing your body too much, can set you back weeks, if not months, meaning you’re less likely to be able to continue with your half marathon training plan. If you believe that you have injured yourself whilst exercising, stop the activity immediately and seek professional health advice.
Check out our warm up and cool down guides and our delicious meal ideas too!
Warm Up Inspiration - Running Training for Half Marathon
It is vital to warm up your body and muscles before working out, to help avoid injury. It’s so easy to forget to stretch before running; but, without a proper warm up, you risk injuring yourself.
Here are some fun ways to warm up before a run:
10 Jumping jacks and 5 squats and repeat 3 times. Finish with hip rotations.
Jumping rope for 10 seconds and 6 lunges, followed by 5 squats and repeat 3 times. Stretch to your side, with your hand pressed against your leg and slowly stretching down towards your toes.
10 side squats and 5 jumping jacks repeat 5 times. Follow with high knees in bursts of 15 seconds. Finish with 6 deep lunges.
Did you know that we have our very own Alder Hey Running Spotify playlist that you can listen to while working out!
Cool Down Inspiration
A cool down exercise will help to bring down your heart rate slowly and can prevent injuries or dizziness after a long workout or run. Including breathing exercises, as well as stretching, in your cool down can help to aid recovery too.
Here are some interesting cool down ideas:
- Walk for two minutes, followed by yoga for 10 minutes, with focus on breathing deeply.
- 5 side squats followed by 8 knee raises slowly for 5 minutes.
- On a yoga mat, lie on your back and raise your legs. Perform a cycling motion for 30 seconds and then cuddle your knees for 5 seconds, taking deep breaths. Repeat 5 times.
Delicious and Nutritious Meals for Runners
When training for a half marathon, it’s important to fuel your body with the right vitamins, minerals and protein to sustain your development and give you enough energy to train. Your body will be burning far more calories than ever before while training to run a half marathon and it’s your job to replace the burnt calories with the right ones. Instead of being tempted with sugary snacks and energy drinks, prepare a range of delicious and healthy meals that will satisfy your cravings and allow your body to become stronger.
Here are some delicious meals to try at home:
Run for Alder Hey
If you are planning on signing up for a half marathon, we would love you to consider running for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. Every penny that’s raised for Alder Hey goes towards life changing research and support for thousands of children and their families.
You can find our handy sponsorship form here.