Half Marathon Training For Beginners

Hello, my friends! A few people have asked me what my training schedule looked like for my half marathon (especially since it was my first big race). My training schedule was very untraditional but I did have a little routine that helped me prepare for the race.

I signed up for my half on June 19 and race day was September 25. So, I knew I had enough time to start training (and I knew once I signed up I was committed). At this point, I had only been running about 1 -2 miles a week. I casually (no pun intended) ran here and there, didn’t stick to a schedule and didn’t push myself to run more and more. However, once I signed up for the half, I knew that needed to change.

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Running Routine

The first area I focused on was writing down what I wanted to accomplish and the time frame for my goals. I knew I wanted to be able to run at least 10 miles two weeks prior to the race. That was my first goal. My second goal was to run 2 miles the week I signed up for the race.These were two easy goals that I knew I could accomplish.

After I ran 2 miles the first week I signed up, I continued to run a little over two miles and got up to 4 miles. When I got to July, I started with 4 miles, then increased to 6 miles by the end of the month. When I got to August, I continued to do 6 miles and slowly progressed to 8 throughout the month. Then, in the beginning of September, I ran 10 miles. This was the most I was going to run before the half, because I was told by many people that the last few miles are full of adrenaline.

As you can see, I didn’t follow a strict routine, but it worked for me. The beginning was the most difficult, because I needed to get into the running routine. However, it didn’t take long to get into the groove of running.


June Began with 2 miles Increased to 4 miles
July Began with 4 miles Increased to 6 miles
August Began with 6 miles Increased to 8 miles
September Began with 8 miles Increased to 10 miles


Stretching is crucial. I thought I was stretching enough, but I was wrong. As you read in my blog More Than Just A Race, I had an incredibly painful knee injury. It hurt so bad during my half marathon, I didn’t know if I would be able to finish due to the pain. However, I pushed through because there was no way I wasn’t going to cross that finish line. After getting tests done to make sure there weren’t any serious issues with my knee, I learned that my IT band was a major source of my pain. This is a common issue that happens to runners, and boy is it painful. I read a lot about stretches for the IT band, and I have stayed consistent with them. So, find stretches that work for you since everyone is different. However, I STRONGLY suggest focusing on your IT band from the start.

Here are some stretches that I used and found useful:

IT Band Stretches

Stretches Before A Run

Stretchers For Runners 


Do not buy shoes right before your race. You need to have enough time to break them in so they are comfortable for you. You don’t NEED new shoes, but if you are considering new ones, get them plenty of time in advance. I bought a new pair of shoes when I signed up for my half, and that was plenty of time. I bought mine through Nike, and actually chatted with one of their employees and they helped me find the right shoe. They were extremely helpful, and I love my kicks!

Map My Run

You can use whatever app you want, but Map My Run worked great for me. I used it for all of my runs, and it times my runs as well as told me the distance I ran. After every run, I would write a little note about how my run went and I saved it on my phone. It was a great way for me to see my progress and continue to improve.

Mind Over Matter

A big part of training was telling myself I could do it. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. A BIG part of racing is telling yourself you can do it. Years ago, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to run 13.1 miles. However, when I signed up for the race and set my goals, I told myself I was going to do it, and I did. So, from the start, tell yourself you can do it. Stay positive.

These various categories were the main aspects of my training and all helped me accomplish my goal of completing a half marathon under 3 hours. I was a beginner when I signed up, and my training techniques worked for me and prepared me for race day. If you’re a beginner, you can absolutely run a half marathon with some training and positive reinforcement.

Good luck with your race!


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