'How long do I need to train for a half marathon?'

By the end of May, Bath Half Marathon will be less than 20 weeks away, which leads me to answer a common question ‘how long do I need to train for a half marathon?’

In order to work out when the best time to start training is, I would ask a few questions:-

  • Are you currently running?
  • How many times a week are you running?
  • What is your current fitness level?
  • What other forms of exercise do you take part in regularly?
  • What is your average run mileage a week?
  • What is your longest run in the last month?
  • Have you experienced any injuries in the past?
  • Have you taken part in Bath Half Marathon (or other races) before?
  • What is your goal for the race?
  • How much time can you dedicate to training in a week?

As I explained in my March blog post – the last 6 to 8 weeks were an ideal opportunity to start your ‘base building’ period – either as a new runner, getting into good exercise habits, or a more experienced runner using the time to either take part in other races or to take some time away from hard training.

If you are still struggling with getting started – or trying to work out how to fit training in around a busy schedule – it helps to draw out a weekly schedule – which you can stick on the fridge – so that everyone in your house knows what you are doing.  When I first started running – I had to make sure my family knew I wasn’t going to be around at certain times – running was my ‘me time’ and I made it fit in around family and work life.

Here is a sample :-

Add in everything that is relevant – if you do the school drop off every morning and then go straight to work, it’s no good trying to fit in a morning run – unless you are happy to get up at 5:30am and get your run done before the family wakes up.

If you have a running club that meets every Tuesday and Thursday – and this helps you stay on track with your training – then put that in your schedule.  We aren’t professional athletes – whose job it is to show up to training – we are ‘Everyday Athletes’ that train for the enjoyment, motivation, personal challenge or fitness aspects of exercise.   Training for a half marathon – especially if you are a new runner – does take a certain level of commitment, and now is a good time to build healthy habits.

Set yourself goals that you want to achieve – for example if you are really new to running – set yourself a goal to run (or run/walk) 5km by the end of May.  If you are an experienced runner – why not challenge yourself to join in a Park Run before the end of May – make a note of the time it took you and use that as a benchmark time to check in on how your training is progressing.

If you would like some more specific help with your training – drop me an email – I Coach runners of all abilities and ages and Bath Half Marathon is not only my home race, it’s the race I have completed the most times (this year will be the 11th time for me).

Angela MacAusland

Run Coach Angela

[email protected]