5 Half Marathon Training Tips

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Over the weekend, Michael and I signed up for our 3rd half-marathon to run together! It will be my 5th half in addition to one full marathon that I ran a while back.

I’ve completed the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon, the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon, and the DC Rock n Roll Half Marathon twice. On top of those four halves, I’ve completed one full marathon – the whole 26.2 miles – at the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, which I’m not sure even exists anymore.

Michael and I signed up for the Houston Half. Our training technically starts today. We got in a short run on Saturday to get ready for the week, but we’re officially in it as of today! On that note, I thought I’d share a few half-marathon training tips that I’ve picked up through my long distance running experiences.

5 Half Marathon Training Tips

Let’s jump in!

Set a Training Schedule

For every single race that I’ve run, I’ve used the Hal Higdon training schedules. He has schedules for every type of race and for every level of runner. I’ve used this one for half marathon training and this on too (Michael and I are currently using it) and this one for the full marathon.

You can adjust the days a bit to fit your schedule. For example, I’ve always preferred to do the long runs on Saturdays or Sundays so I move the days in the Hal Higdon schedule around a bit to fit that preference.

I prefer to write all of the training sessions down in my planner. You can also print out a hard copy of the schedule and hang it somewhere prominent or add the schedule to your Google calendar. Just make sure it’s handy and you know what’s ahead on the schedule so you can plan your week accordingly. When the longer runs start sneaking into the schedule, they can be quite time consuming. Knowing that ahead of time can help you mentally prepare for what day you need to block off certain amounts of time for running.

Never Miss a Long Run

Now that I have a few half marathons under my belt, I try not to stress out too much about sticking exactly to the training schedule. I still plan on going to SoulCycle, working out at Anytime Fitness, and going to hot yoga at YogaWorks. So some days I’ll skip the suggested workouts in the Hal Higon training schedule. With that said, I NEVER MISS A LONG RUN.

The long runs are how you really prepare for the race. And if you skip one week’s long run, the next week’s is going to be a noticeable jump in distance from your last long run. Just don’t miss it.

Have a Running Partner

My sister was my running partner for two of the half marathons and the full marathon. Michael stepped in for the last two Rock n Roll half-marathons that we completed in DC. When my sister and I ran together, we lived in separate cities, so we actually trained apart a lot of the time. In my opinion, it takes a lot of discipline and commitment to train for a half and certainly a full marathon on your own. Having someone to do the long runs with once a week makes it so much easier.

Obviously having a running partner to train with the entire time is ideal but at least having a race day running partner is key. Having a partner makes the race that much more fun, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but running is a total mind game, so it’s nice to have someone that’s there so that you can keep each other motivated to make it past the finish line!

Get the Right Gear

If you’re serious about long distance running, a t-shirt and sweatpants aren’t going to cut it. Ever heard of chafing? It’s not pretty. And why not have an excuse to invest in a few new workout pieces?!

Training for this race is a bit different than any I’ve trained for in the past because it’s an early fall race, which means it’s going to be HOT for the majority of the training, especially in Houston.

Currently, my preferred running gear includes lululemon shorts – my favorites are the Speed Up Short 4-inch and the Align Biker Short 6-inch – a supportive sports bra that can be worn alone if necessary (for when it’s blazing hot), a loose fitting tank top, my iPhone arm band (fits my 8+), and my Airpods (yes, they stay in while running), and last but not least, my Nike running shoes.

Have a Good Playlist

I use Spotify to curate my running playlist, and it’s usually a super random mix. The key is to have songs on your playlist that you won’t want to skip through. And make sure you have enough songs on your playlist to get you through the long runs. Here’s my Spotify playlist if you’re curious as to what I’m currently listening to!

Are you a long distance runner?! Do you have any half marathon training tips?! Share them in the comment section below!

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11 Comments

  1. Monica wrote:

    Don’t plan on running any kind of marathon beyond a 5k, but will definitely be utilizing this playlist!! So impressed that the girl who hates the cold more than anything is training this time of year 🙂

    Posted 1.8.18 Reply
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Haha it is shocking, even to me! But like I said, I get really hot when I start moving, so it doesn’t seem all that bad. 😉

      Posted 1.8.18 Reply
  2. Teresa Dean wrote:

    I have run a handful of half marathons and am currently training for my first marathon! If you are without a running buddy for some of your long runs try listening to podcasts. They have helped me get the miles in for long runs when I have to go solo!

    Posted 1.8.18 Reply
    • Ashlee wrote:

      That is such a good idea!! I have never thought to do that – especially now that I actually love listening to podcasts but hardly find the time to actually listen to an entire one in one dose. Congrats on training for your first full! The feeling of crossing that finish line is amazing!!!

      Posted 1.8.18 Reply
  3. Jackie wrote:

    So exciting! You guys are awesome! I am most definitely not a runner, but have been trying to get better about it!

    Posted 1.8.18 Reply
    • Ashlee wrote:

      It’s definitely easier having someone else on board! Otherwise, these past two weeks of frigid temperatures would have been really difficult to handle!

      Posted 1.8.18 Reply
  4. Dominique wrote:

    Ashlee great advice! Having training partners and good music was key for me when I ran my first (and only) half. I’ve all but stopped running now, but I’m hoping to run a full at the end of the year. I miss it!

    Posted 1.8.18 Reply
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Thanks Dom! It is definitely addicting! But I hear ya, I usually end up taking off time in between long races too. Accomplishing a full one is a feeling like no other though! Would love to follow along with your full training on FB!

      Posted 1.8.18 Reply
  5. Dana Mannarino wrote:

    I’ve run a few half marathons and have been a runner since I was in high school, and I cannot stress the importance of taking care of your body pre-and-post run. I have horrible knees so I had to make sure I had the correct running shoes for my stride. Also LOVE the whole group run. It makes training SO much better…even though I ultimately enjoy running races alone.

    Dana | The Champagne Edit

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
    • Ashlee wrote:

      Yes, such a good point about taking care of your body! I had my running shoes professionally fitted years ago and learned that I was wearing shoes TWO sizes too small! I was wearing my normal shoe size, while in running shoes I should have gone up a couple of sizes. TMI, but my toenails used to always fall off – and that’s why!

      Posted 8.5.19 Reply

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