Beginner’s Guide to Training for a Half Marathon

Story and photo provided by TaNiqua Ward, TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist, OSU Prevention Programs

TaNiqua Ward, TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist, OSU Prevention Programs

Spring is finally here! It is the perfect time to jump start a running program. Half marathon training programs are great for runners that have had a long time off or new runners. It is a reasonable and manageable distance to train for. The weather will be getting warmer so it is a great time to get outdoors and take a run. You may be wondering exactly what the distance of a half marathon is. It is only 13.1 miles! You don’t have to run the entire distance, you can walk as well. However, it is important that you train beforehand so your body can build endurance and you will be prepared for your race.

Find a training program that works best for you. There are tons of training programs for preparing for a half marathon but it is important that you find one that is individualized to your needs. Hal Higdon has a variety of training programs for novice runners. There are also training programs available on most race websites if you sign up for a race a few months ahead. These training programs are wonderful because they usually include cross training along with running that will help you get in shape and successfully run the course for that particular race. It takes about 12 weeks to get into half marathon shape, be sure to find a plan that you want to commit to for an extended period of time. First, decide on how many days you want to run. There are many training programs that just require running three days a week, while others require five days a week. Always keep in mind that when you start running that you don’t have to run the entire time. If you are a new runner it is probably best to do intervals of walking and running.  This can help you accomplish your distance without being too tired early on. Another great thing about half marathon training programs is that they really do fit a healthy active lifestyle. There are a few days of running, a few days of cross-training, and rest days in between.  It is the perfect combination of physical activity to get you in shape!

Everyone has a different goal when training for a half marathon. Many experienced runners want to hit a personal record with their time. Personal records and goal times are personalized to the individual. Factors can change based on the difficulty of the course, weather, proper hydration, and much more. On the other hand, some novice runners are just happy to complete the half marathon. Goals vary for each individual but that is one of the wonderful things about running. You don’t have to compete against others; you can just compete against yourself. It’s all about being better than you used to be and for some people that is a profound accomplishment.

The Fourth Annual Scorcher Half Marathon and 5K hosted by the Junior Service League of Stillwater will be held on June 4, 2017. This is the only Half Marathon in the Stillwater Area and features many beautiful parts of the City of Stillwater including the Oklahoma State University campus. Junior Service League is a volunteer group of women focused on uplifting the Stillwater Community through outreach. To learn more about the race and to register go to

Remember that your training program is a roadmap to help you achieve your goals in a healthy way. Your training program will help you build up your time, endurance, and distance to finish the race!