If you enjoy distance running, but don’t have the time to train for a full marathon, the half marathon is an excellent option. While the half marathon is a respectable distance, training for this event will not require a 20 mile run. As a result, you will feel less fatigued during your training period. Also, your post-race recovery time will be much faster.

While there are many different opinions on the proper length of a half-marathon training period, most running experts believe it should be anywhere between 8-12 weeks. If you are considering running in a half marathon, you should be capable of running at least 6 miles. If you are unable to run 6 miles, build up to this capacity prior to beginning your 12-week half marathon training program.

Throughout these 12 weeks, your program should consist of rest days, easy runs, long runs and speed training workouts. Your easy runs should be performed at a pace that allows you to comfortably carry on a conversation. On your longer runs, begin at an easy pace. For the second part of the run, increase your pace to the desired racing speed. Your speed workouts are shorter runs that vary from racing pace to all out effort. This type of workout can improve your overall speed which will help you maintain a reasonable pace throughout the entire half marathon. On your rest days, you can either take a full day off, or cross train with another aerobic activity such as swimming or biking.

If you are new to half-marathon racing, your primary goal should be to finish the race feeling strong. There is no need to worry about speed. Start by building a base mileage of 25-30 miles a week. Once a week, include a longer run of 8-12 miles. You can also experiment with shorter races, such as the 10k or the 10 miler. Participating in these races will give you an idea of how to pace yourself through the half marathon.

If you are a more seasoned runner, practice some of your training runs at the speed you would like to run your half marathon. You should also practice hill workouts and interval training In addition to your running program, it is important to schedule some gym time for strength and flexibility workouts. While your heart and lungs may be fully capable of running the 13.1 miles, your leg and core muscles need to be strong enough to support the impact. Also, don’t forget your nutritional needs. Eat a high carbohydrate diet, and remember to stay fully hydrated.