If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably wondered a time or two what it would be like to run your first marathon or half-marathon. Perhaps you already enjoy jogging in the morning or using the treadmill for your cardio blast. You may be wondering what it would feel like to finish your first big race. Or maybe, the thought of running makes you want to, well… run. If this is you, you may be thinking about training for your first race because it will be a great challenge!
Whatever your reason for thinking about training for a marathon, 2019 is certainly your year.
How to Train for a Half-Marathon
If you’re just starting out, it’s probably best to first train for a half-marathon, half-marathon relay, or a 10k race. We don’t suggest beginning your running journey with a whopping 26.2 mile full blown marathon. We will focus on training for a half-marathon because this distance is still reachable for everyone (with training), demanding, and will make you feel quite accomplished at the end.
Training for a half-marathon takes some time to get used to, but once you get started you will begin looking forward to your training runs!
1: Plan Ahead of Time
You will not be setting yourself up for success if you try to train for a marathon that is just a few weeks away, especially if you are not currently jogging or getting regular cardiovascular exercise. Ideally, you should give yourself 3-4 months to allow for the proper build-up, and to create buffer time for any unforeseen circumstances such as an injury or big project at work. (Now is the perfect time to begin training for our season kick-off race, the Telekom Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon in April!)
2: Make Sure Your Body is Ready
Most half-marathon training plans start out with 3 mile runs in the first week. If you are not quite there yet - don’t sweat it! Just add on a few weeks of running before you begin your half-marathon training. Start with just one mile a few times a week, and you’ll be surprised how fast you can work yourself up! Remember too that running three miles does not have to be easy for you to begin training, you just have to be able to do it without injury or exhaustion.
3: Choose Your Training Plan
There are a lot of different training plans you can choose from, but any solid plan will include these four elements: cross training days, a long run, a rest day immediately following your long run, and tapering. You should expect a good plan to have you running 4 times per week, for increasingly long distances each week. Plans should also include 2-3 rest days and at least 1 day per week for cross training (meaning exercise other than running such as cycling, swimming, or climbing stairs). Plans typically peak at 10 miles and then will drop dramatically in distance (this is called tapering) leading up to race day. For an idea of a novice training schedule visit: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/half-marathon-training/novic...
4: Find the Right Gear & Fuel
You can be doing everything right, but if you are running in the wrong shoes or are not staying hydrated during your runs, you will feel stunted in your progress. The correct gear and fuel will make all the difference on race day. Do some research and visit a local running shop in your area to be fitted for the right shoes for your feet. It is important to work with someone who understands the needs of runners specifically, because they are totally different than the needs of other athletes such as lifters or netball players.
In terms of hydration, it is imperative that you stay hydrated on your run, and plain water isn’t typically the best method of doing so. If you need assistance with your fuel and hydration plan, our partners at Enduraid are wonderful at creating unique plans to meet your specific needs.
5: Remember to Register for Your Race and All the Details
Before training, it is important to remember to register for your race, and make accommodations for yourself if needed. If you are looking to make an adventure out of your first half-marathon, we would be delighted to have you join us in Budapest for a beautiful spring run through the historic city! The Telekom Vivicitta Half-Marathon is in mid-April - perfect training time, perfect weather, and with people who will do their best to make your run as perfect as possible! We can’t wait to run alongside you as you complete your first half-marathon.