Newbie Half Marathon Training Tips

I have been wanting to train for a half marathon for forever. I’ve started, I’ve stopped, I’ve thought about it, I stopped thinking about it. For a while I think I only wanted to do it because it was “trendy.” Well rule #1 you’ll probably never be able to do something if it’s for someone else but yourself.

I started training for my half about a month ago, and I will be brutally honest: it. is. freaking. rough. The humidity, the hills, the heat = triple threat against building endurance and adding mileage. Even with all of these factors trying to stop me from running, I have seen HUGE improvements since I started training a little while ago.

Half Marathon Tips

Here are a few tips that have helped me stick to my half-marathon training routine:

1. Weekly Preparation

Running is totally mental. I’m still trying to overcome some mental roadblocks, but every week it gets easier. I’ve found that if I plan my week ahead and consciously know how much I need to run or cross train every day then I am more mentally prepared to run X amount of miles each day of the week. Prepare your week accordingly. If I have plans after work I try and run in the mornings, and vice versa. Don’t make excuses and say you can’t find the time to run. If you have an hour to spare to watch a show or scroll through Insta, you have time to fit in a run.

2. Invest in Good Running Shoes

I’ve been running 12-15 miles per week in my Nike Frees. I didn’t really think it was a problem until my feet started hurting and I started talking to some real runners. When you’re running constantly you want to make sure you have supportive shoes made for running long distances. Good shoes can help you avoid foot injuries and can make for an overall running experience. I’ve only done a few runs in my new shoes but it’s already a step in the right direction, and my feet feel so much better!

If  you’re in the Raleigh area, go to Fleet Feet – they took 45 minutes with me trying to find the best running shoe that best fit me according to my walk, foot, and comfort level.

3. Find a few Running Buddies

Over the years I’ve learned that the only person you can rely on is yourself when it comes to working out or running or really anything. I’m doing this half marathon all on my own and I take pride that I’m not relying on others to get me on my feet; however, the occasional running buddy has made all the difference. A couple of times a week I run with a friend or go to a nearby running club. Because of my competitive nature, I find running with others helps me push my limits and makes it more of a social thing. It helps to have others to run with to change things up!

4. Pick a Playlist

I need all the best pump up jams that have fast tempos to keep me motivated, especially when running up those rolling Raleigh hills. Good fast music, for me, has made all the difference. It literally blocks out the hurt, the heavy breathing, and straining leg muscles and good music really helps me take it up a notch.

5. Drink A LOT of Water

Keeping hydrated is key for running longer distances. I wear out way faster if I don’t drink my 6 water bottles a day before an evening jog. In fact, a few weeks ago I went to run club with some coworkers after work and ended up having to call Brady to come pick me up mid run because I felt like I was going to pass out any minute. That day I had only drank like one water bottle of water earlier that morning, and man did my body feel the difference. Never doing that again!

6. Choose a Destination Race

As mentioned before I’ve always wanted to do a half marathon but for me it was hard to find the motivation to actually stick to the training and get past week 2. A huge motivator for me for running this half is because I’ve chosen a race in a place I’ve always wanted to visit – Nantucket! It’s a good enough excuse to go there and it’s definitely keeping me head in the game to keep up with training.

7. Find a Cheerleader

Brady has been one of my biggest supporters since I’ve started training. Some days when running seems too hard, Brady always finds a way to encourage me to get out the door. He’s never pushy, he just knows exactly what to say, “Cassie if you go don’t go today you’ll regret it tomorrow,” or, “I’ll even run with you tonight if you want!” (Ps Brady doesn’t believe in running, so that’s huge that he would even think of going with me!) Having a strong support system makes a big difference because on the days I don’t believe in myself, someone out there (Brady) still does.

8. Change up your Route

If you know me, I need change in my life to keep things fresh. This totally applies to running too. Changing up my route has kept things exciting on my run and has helped my legs become stronger because different terrain = different muscles.

Have any of you ran any long distance races? If so, what are your tips for me? I could use all the help I can get!! 

Written by

  • I ran my first half last January and actually signed up for my first full in January 2016! What have I done! Good luck on your race, I hope you write some updates on training and your event.

    • Cassie

      Thanks Cynthia! I’m impressed by your ambition to already do a full – you go girl! I’ll definitely keep you posted with my training and my race day (Oct. 11). Follow my blog’s Facebook page and you’ll get my updates in your newsfeed!

  • You go girl! I ran a half marathon last September and I will probably never do it again haha. But it’s actually a really good experience! You will be surprised how motivated and good you will feel on race day. Before I ran my half, the farthest I had ever run was 8 miles. Yikes. But because I knew I wouldn’t give up, I was able to run the extra five (very slowly) on the day of the race. The whole mental thing really does make a difference. Haha, hopefully you will do more training than I did though!

    • Cassie

      Yeah I’m super nervous for race day but hopefully the adrenaline rush of the race helps me out! I remember when you did your half in September, I was so impressed because you said you didn’t train for very long. I’m afraid if I don’t train I’ll keel over on the side of the road during the race…

  • These are great tips! I’m moving to London in a few weeks and am wanting to do a few half marathons over there! I’ve trained for a 5k but a half marathon is a little more intense haha! Good luck to you and thanks for sharing !! 🙂

    • Cassie

      Thanks Kalee! And wow, London – how fun!

  • I write a lot on my blog about my half marathon training – I did a half last February and will be doing my second one in less than 3 weeks! I think your #1 is the most important thing. What training plan are you using? Another thing, at least for me, is don’t feel like you have to run the whole time. I take lots of walk breaks (I have to because of allergies/asthma – I wouldn’t be able to breathe if I was running the whole time!), but it’s all about getting the miles done and not necessarily the time right now.

    • Cassie

      Yeah I definitely feel like I need to stop myself from worrying so much about the time right now and just get my mileage in! I’m using Hal Higdon’s half marathon training program, and for me it’s been great so far! Thanks for the advice, Becky!

  • Ive also been playing with the idea of training for a half! I also just got new running shoes. Holy makes a different Batman. I knew that Nikes sucked for running a long time ago… but this second pair of Brooks has made a huge difference for me. I love them. What training plan are you using? I’m interested to see if I can really do this!

  • I couldn’t agree more with these tips! I’ve done two half-marathons and a full-marathon, and I think the right shoes are absolutely the key to feeling good during a run. I also love to make playlists and insert songs that get me pumped up around the time I need a pick-me-up. For example, I put “Living on a Prayer” at about the one-hour mark for my half marathon so I’d know I was halfway there and to keep praying my way through. I know it’s cheesy, but it helps in those tough moments!

  • date sites Hmm it looks like your website ate my first conmemt (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have

  • Pingback: August by Topaz()

  • Pingback: Nantucket Half Marathon • Topaz and Sapphire()

  • Pingback: A New Year, A New Motto • Topaz and Sapphire()