Beginner training for first half marathon

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, and thought that i'd say hi and post a new topic to get some advice as a starting point, and some motivation for the new me for 2014! image

So last week, I entered my first race, but because of  number of reasons (and excusesimage) I didn't train at all - and was disappointed at how unfit i've become.

This was a real eye opener for me, as back at school and college (s very long time ago), I was always a great runner.  So this race last week has changed my mentality on fitness etc!

So, i've signed up for the Leeds half marathon in May next year, and then in September - I want to enter the Great North Run in September.

I've just been out to buy all of my new training gear (not allowed it until xmas!), but i'm really excited about getting fit.

A few general questions if you could help - 

I'm starting my training on Tuesday, and will be running a minimum of 3 times per week.  In last weeks' 10k, I completed the race in 1 hour 12mins image , but I'm trying to not focus on this and instead, I'm aiming for 2 hours for the half marathons.

Do you think that 2 hours is a realistic target? I'd say i'm at an ideal weight for my height (123lbs and 5'4) And also - do you find that whilst also eating healthy that this will hep my training along the way? For the past 4 weeks I've been eating very healthy, and i'm feeling great for it.

If you have any tips (as I am a beginner), I welcome them image

I'm using some training apps on my phone which have worked out a plan for me which look great.

Thanks in advance all, and sorry if you thought this was a pointless thread, i'm just excited to get started image!



  • Don't bash yourself up about running a 72min 10k off the back of no training. The fact that you did it means that you are quite fit and have some stamina.
    2 hrs is a very realistic goal, however the race is some way off so no need to focus on time just yet.

    Yup, now you need to train and, of course, the best training is running. 
    3x a week is great for a beginner, you could start with 2x for the first couple of weeks if it starts to wear you out (leaves you with too many aches) and you aren't recovering. 

    xtraining is great to supplement your running, free weights and core exercises or swimming.

    Eating healthily is the best thing you can do for your body both in terms of fitness and health.

    Have you had a look at any training plans? Do you have any idea of how best to train for a hm?
    How was your 10k?

    Glad that your are excited about getting going. 

  • If you put in 2-3 months base training then a 3 month HM training plan I can't see you having any problem at all hitting sub 2 hours.  You managed a 10K in 1:12 on no training, I'd say that's pretty good.

    If you can get up to running at least 15 miles a week, building up to it carefully, more importantly running *slowly* to train specific metabolic pathways, until you can run for at least 1 hour without any issues in your LSR - "Long Slow Run" of the week  - then start a 12 week HM schedule, if you end up on 3-4 runs a week at the end of the base period, all the better.  I'd imagine you'd storm under 2 hours.

    HM Schedule:


    Healthy eating will help a bit of course, as will cross training -  but by far the biggest thing you can do to run better/faster/longer is to run!

  • Good luck image

    you seem a great weight to begin with, so that's a plus. Don't be to ambitious until you have a good training base. Until the new year I'd recommend you stick with 3 days a week, cross train if you want on the days off. I'd recommend some core strength training exercises, it does help having a strong core.

    one key is enjoy yourselfimage if you become fed up you could give up, so do your best to smile and make it fun. 

    tell us how your training goes. Have a great time image

  • Hi guys! thanks so much for the responses, you're right about ensuring that i'm focused on completing the HM as opposed to setting myself a time to aim for.  As i'm doing 2 races, i thought for the Leeds HM I will concentrate on just completing it - and then four months after that is the GNR - and I can set myself a time completion for that.


    Daeve- thanks so much for the schedule - that looks really useful, i will use it for my training up until the races next year.

    I'm glad that i've found this forum too as already your responses have motivated me loads! ) thanks guys.  I will keep you updated on the training, and I agree - i think i definitely need to do some core strengthening and continue to eat healthy too to complement all of the training.



  • TheDanTheDan ✭✭✭

    If you're doing leeds half make sure you get some hill training in, some of them are pretty evil

  • I think given your weight that 2 hours is a fair target. Remember the most important part of distance training is the long SLOW run. Build that up week by week and you'll do fine!

    Well done on getting out there image

  • The very best of luck in your training and congratulations on biting the bullet and entering a half marathon.

    From what other people have said I would say straight away that you need to build in plenty of rest days to your schedule.  Training is going to take it's toll as you build up to around 9-10 mile runs before the big race.

    There are plenty of free schedules that you find online or in running books from the library.  This will give you a good indication of how much training you need to put in to achieve your goal time.  One word of caution... Be realistic!  Once you embark on your training plan you need to stick with it so don't set your sights too high!

    I hope you have a great first half marathon.  Before race day make sure to read my article on prepping for a half marathon here:

    The very best of luck

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