How to train for a half marathon - Great Welsh Marathon Events
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How to train for a half marathon

The thought of running a half marathon can seem a daunting prospect, but the time you put into training is essential and will your journey to the start line! The principles of training are the same for everyone whether you’re an elite runner or just starting out. Thanks to our training partners at we bring you this guide to help you train smart for 13.1 miles…

Give yourself time!

If you want to maximise your chances of enjoying a positive experience on race day then you need to start training sooner, rather than later. Training for a half marathon is a big commitment. If you’re new to running then you’ll probably need at least 16 weeks of training in the bag. If you’re a more experienced runner with a good base level of fitness, you’ll need considerably less. Remember that it’s the consistency of training, is the key to getting you half-marathon-ready!

Build a base

A half marathon is very much an aerobic event, so you need to condition your aerobic energy system and your body to be able to run for an extended period of time. As a result, you should aim to spend the first part of your training increasing your mileage gradually and conditioning your body to extended periods of running. Don’t worry about pace, the goal is simply to spend time on your feet in order to improve your endurance.

Get specific!

Once you’ve built a strong and stable base, it’s time to get specific as you start to layer on the speed work and add some pace, if that is your goal. The main aim of your training should be to prepare your body specifically for the physiological demands of 13.1 miles, so that means including some training at your goal race pace. You should gradually increase the volume of training that you do at your target race pace as the race approaches.

Train above and below race pace

One mistake that many runners make is that they only ever train at one pace. If you’re looking to maximise your potential over half marathon distance then you need to train at paces that directly support your target race pace, (in other words slightly slower and slightly faster). Aim to incorporate some speed work at your 10k race pace once a week and one longer run, slightly slower than your half marathon target pace once a week during the second part of your training.

Rest is training too!

It’s safe to say that many runners fear rest. However, gains in fitness actually happen when you allow your body to rest and recover. Incorporating a regular rest or a very easy day into your training programme will help you to recharge both physically and mentally and you’re therefore more likely to achieve better overall performance and consistency.