by Gina Shell

Now that winter weather is behind us, it’s time to start looking for the races, an that may include a half marathon. Maybe you have completed 5k’s, and maybe even a 10k. If so, let’s add some new challenge, and go for the half marathon. This distance is a great challenge for runners and, unlike marathon training, it doesn’t consume a lot of time. The following are a few things you need for a successful half marathon attempt.

First, you will need to build a base. The half marathon is 13.1 miles. You should have already had a base of 15 to 20 miles a week. Your longest run should be at least 5 miles. You must make sure that your base is solid before additional training.

Second, a plan to train and complete the half is needed. If this is your first half, I recommend a training plan of at least 10 weeks, if not longer. This plan will help allow your body to adjust to longer runs.

Use cross training on your days off from running. You can go to your local YMCA and hit the weights, swim, or use the elliptical. Cross training helps you avoid fatigue when racing.

Why do the half marathon alone? Find a running buddy to train and do the race with you. Nothing makes a long run go faster than having someone to talk to while training. Also, with a training buddy, you are more likely to stay with the training schedule as you will be meeting someone for the daily runs.

Make sure you take the necessary rest days. Your body will need time to repair and rebuild. When you feel tired, worn down, and unmotivated, that is your body saying it needs a day off.

It’s close to springtime so get out there and finish your first half marathon. Who knows…..a marathon could be in your future…..

Happy Running…..