1. Give yourself adequate time to actually train for a half-marathon.
Listen to your body and plan accordingly. More advanced runners might only need six to eight weeks to prepare for a half-marathon. Consider taking a couple extra weeks to prepare. I gave myself 10 weeks and did just fine (I also get at least two hours of exercise at least four days a week), but you might need more or less training time depending on your physical condition.
No one knows your body better than you, listen to your body.
2. Get on a running schedule and start out with low mileage runs.
It might sound tedious at first, but get comfortable running one or two miles and increase your mileage from there. Don't just focus on long runs either. When you start logging longer runs (five miles or more) go on shorter speed runs.
By all means, get on a running schedule and stick to it!
3. Figure out your hydration needs.
It's the dog days of summer down here in Florida and this humidity mixed with the heat is killing me. I swear I'm drinking more water than a camel and that means I need to carry more water. One water bottle doesn't cut it for me for runs longer than four miles and that's why I'll instead carry a hydration pack. It's a bit more of a hassle, but heat related illnesses aren't anything to mess with.
If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
4. Practice good running form.
I think I was logging about eight miles and realized I was feeling really achy. I did some internet research and realized my form was completely out of whack. A half-marathon at this point is long enough, might as well be as comfortable as possible.
Get comfortable and practice good running form.
5. Learn the course before you actually run the course.
See if you can check out the course map ahead of time if you're running an actual event. Drive the course, ride your bike, walk it, just familiarize yourself with the course in some way. This way you know how to pace yourself with the elevation gain and loss during race day and you can pick out some distance markers.
Running a half-marathon on your own? Figure out your route before you go. Doesn't matter how you figure out your route, just do it so you know what 13.1 miles is and can prepare for any change in elevation and set your distance markers. All this helps with pacing yourself and overcoming the mental challenge of being out there alone.
Get your mind ready and in the game ahead of time.
Follow these training tips and your chances of accomplishing this goal of yours should increase substantially.
Any personal half-marathon training tips you'd like to add? Post them in the comment section below!
**Justin is a regular contributor to the Sierra Social Hub as part of #TeamSierra. Learn more from Justin on his website: The Weekend Warrior.