Thursday, 5 November 2015

How Long Does It Take To Train For A Half Marathon?

This is a question that I am asked time after time. It is of course a perfectly normal question to ask. Sadly it is also a really difficult one to answer for everyone. It depends on all of the following:

  • Your level of fitness
  • Your age
  • Your dedication
  • Your mental attitude
Can I Do This?


Primarily the one thing that will determine how long you need to train for will be your current level of fitness. To contrast this, if you were a 24 year old guy who kept reasonably fit then you could be read for a half marathon in a few weeks. On the other hand if you were a 44 year old male, who hadn't done any exercise for ages, then it would take a great deal longer.

So the level of fitness you are at right now, will determine how long you will need to train before a race. The good news is that almost anyone can follow a 12 week plan, and be ready to run a half marathon.


Few people that I know like to grow old. That is just going to happen to all of us. Age plays quite a large role in how long we will need to train. As we age we naturally slow down. Also when we exercise we also take longer to recover. A younger person could do more training than an older person if they were equally dedicated, simply because they recover quicker.


If you can make a plan and stick to it, then anyone could complete a half marathon training schedule in 12 weeks. However, if you are someone who easily gets distracted, or is creative about excuses, then that will take a lot longer.

If you don't do the miles, and try but fail to stick with a plan, then it will take longer to train.


When we decide we want to do something, then almost always that will happen. If you want to go on holidays, you will decide where, check out flights, hotels etc and make the booking and pay your money.

Training for a half marathon is exactly the same. If it is something that you really want to do, then pick a date in advance, set out your running plan, and then commit to it.


I thought I would include some of the half marathon training questions that I have been asked. Here they are below:

  • Can I Train For Half Marathon in 6 Weeks?
  • Is 8 Weeks Enough Time To Train For A Half Marathon?
  • Can I successfully train for a half marathon in 15 weeks?
  • Is It possible to train for a half marathon in four months? 
  • Is it possible to train for a half marathon in 5 months?
  • Can I run a 1/2 marathon without training?
You can see from this that people have different expectations of how long it takes. The answer to all of the above is YES. There is however a big BUT!

Mainly it is about your current level of fitness and your commitment. I had a friend who wanted to lose weight and run a half marathon for charity. They had not exercised in 10 years and they were aged 45. The reality is that with the right mindset, they could do this in 12 weeks.

However due to recovery times, a couple of injuries, and a bit of laziness it took him 6 months. The bottom line though? He did it and still runs them today and is now a healthy and happy man.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Health Considerations Before Running A Half Marathon


Half Marathon Health Check Up
Get A Check Up Before Running A Half Marathon
There are a few important considerations that you should take on board before deciding to fully commit to running a half marathon.

The most important of all of these is your current state of health.


If you have any doubts or concerns about your overall health then you should see a doctor before commencing the race.
In fact we would strongly recommend, that unless you see your doctor regularly, then have a check-up anyway as the half marathon is quite a challenge.
Each individual reading this article will have a different level of fitness and it is vitally important to understand your own individual circumstances.

For example if you are someone who plays football or hockey every week, then you should be fine to start training for a half marathon right away. However, if you have not done any serious exercise for a number of years, then it will mean a different plan and a longer plan, to get you to the level of fitness that you will need.

Pregnancy OR Known Illness

running when pregnant
For example if you are pregnant then you should always consult your doctor before considering taking on a half marathon. Similarly if you suffer from a known illness, it is always worth seeking advice from your doctor before you begin any form of training.

Year after year people set out to run half marathons. There are however a few people who will suffer undiagnosed medical conditions.

Not only can that ruin their race plan, but it can also have very serious health issues for some people. It is much better to put your mind at rest from the onset by having a proper check-up.

If you get the all clear then your main considerations should be concentrated on the training. You will need to take account of the following:

  • Current Fitness Level or lack of it
  • Family Life
  • Work Life
  • Time for Training
  • Where To Train

Planning Your Marathon Training

plan your half marathon
"If it's worth doing it's worth doing well." That is indeed sound advice especially when you are contemplating a 13 mile run. If you have a high level of fitness overall then you could probably make this trip without a lot of training or work.

For the vast majority of people though you can't just get ready in a month. You need to map out and plan your training and then stick to it. Most people are actually pretty good at making and reading a plan. On this blog I have laid out a 12-week plan for people of an average fitness.

If you follow that then you will succeed. However the stumbling block for many people is skipping odd parts of the plan. To be really honest doing that would be a huge mistake. That is where a strong mental discipline and a desire to succeed will keep you going.

There will be evenings when the lure of the TV will be a lot more attractive, than running on a miserable wet evening. Look at the plan and get it going, and then just stick with it, even through the tough times.

Making Time

running a half marathon
Out of all of these time will be your key consideration. Unless you are at the peak of fitness, then you will not be able to turn up on the day of a race and just run. For most people it will be a matter of putting the hours of training in beforehand.

This is so important and is something that many people struggle to achieve. You simply need to have clocked up the miles in training to be ready for the day of the actual run.This can be one major constraint on plan delivery.

With the best will in the world we start out to achieve something and then real life simply gets in the way. Running a half marathon needs training and you have to set aside the time to do that. There is no way around that and if you get behind, the reality is that you will not catch up.

The training plan is a build up of activity. The training runs start off over a short distance and then build up over time to get you to the big race day. Each of these runs will take time to do. As the weeks roll by you will need more time for longer runs. Make sure that you will be able to commit to these and succeed.

If you know something is going to be happening that will stop this from happening then honestly plan to run the half marathon at a later date.

Now clearly levels of fitness do matter here. Someone who is really fit could easily start at Week 6 or 7 of my plan and be good to go in about 6 weeks. Others who have not done much exercise will need to start at the very beginning and it will take at least 12 weeks if you follow the plan.

Finding A Place To Train

You are going to be running on the roads so you really should train on the roads. If you are completely out of shape then perhaps a few sessions on a treadmill at a gym would make a good beginning. Ideally though, you want to try and be out on the road.

I have covered this in more detail in the training plan, but it is worth giving some early thought to.

Work & Family

This is real life and it is something that you certainly need to consider. In your training plan you will need time to complete your runs. There will be days or evenings when you will be sore and tired as well. Think Mr, Mrs or Miss Grumpy and you will get our drift.

Deal with these issues up front and engage the support of your family. Hopefully all of this makes sense and is very good practical advice.

Now let us have a look at some of the mental blocks you will need to be aware of and how to overcome those during your half marathon preparation.

The bottom line is though, write a plan and then stick to it. Before you do that, and if you have not done any exercise for a long time, then please get you health checked and stay safe.