How to run a half marathon

Last year I entered and completed the Auckland Half Marathon. When I started training I could barely run non-stop for 10 minutes but by the time the day of the event rolled around I was able to run the entire 21km without stopping or being hospitalised.

This year I’m doing it again and trying for a better time but thought I’d publish the training regime that I found so useful on the off chance that someone else reading this might benefit.

The essence of the regime is to build up the strength of your muscles in small increments with plenty of rest in between challenging runs to give your body time to heal properly. Most of the runs are only minimally more challenging than the previous ones but the general idea is that you should be able to comfortably chat throughout most of them. It’s a good idea to have an event to work towards and to start the regime 14 weeks out from that event.

Tue Thu Sun
01 10 10 15
02 10 10 20
03 15* 10 20
04 10 10 30
05 20* 20* 40
06 30* 20* 50
07 20 30 60
08 30* 40* 80
09 40* 50* 90
10 30 30 60
11 30 30 100
12 40* 60* 120
13 30* 40* 90
14 20 20 Half marathon!!

All figures are in minutes. Run as slowly as you like but try not to stop. Days marked with (*) indicate hilly runs for building up extra strength (optional). Don’t run if you are sore and think you might do yourself damage. Get some good running shoes and perhaps lightweight shorts and a shirt. Don’t worry about missing some runs but try to keep up with the Sunday ones.

Good luck! It’s totally do-able and you’ll feel pretty amazing after having completed it.

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “How to run a half marathon”

  1. Jack says:

    Great advice Damian – my brother and sister in law have both done half marathons from scratch using a similar program. In fact I was already a runner and expected to beat my bro when we both did our first half marathon (2007) and the blighter sped past me in the last 5 km! I totally underestimated the importance of rest days and recovery in general. I thought I’d have to do mega long runs and runs almost every day but that wasnt necessary or even helpful. I think too that a lot of folk don’t realise how achievable it really is and you are right, its immensely satisfying. I walked the St Clair Vineyard Half this year, was quite nice just to chill out and waddle it. Got a few strange looks with the big belly as if I shouldnt be doing it – but I’ve walked all thru the pregnancy so didnt really see it as a big deal. Its a great course if you ever feel like trying an off road event that rewards you with a free bottle of wine at the finish line!

  2. Damian says:

    Ah! A fellow runner. Good to hear it. The St Clair run sounds great and the bottle of wine at the finish line even better.

    Hey, you must be about ready to drop eh? How long have you got to go and how’s it going?

  3. Jack says:

    Going well Damian – thanks for asking. Belly is pretty big now, don’t think the evolution of bi-pedalism has helped with pregnancy – am sure I’d feel more comfortable crawling about but suspect the college kids may find that a bit weird! Due date is 27 June so am counting down now – just over 6 weeks to go. Gotta say I’m looking forward to stopping work early June, and can’t wait to meet bubs. Also looking forward to being able to tie my own laces by July and can’t wait to be able to run again :-)

Leave a Reply