The 4 Hardest Things About Half Marathon Training

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The hardest thing about getting started with training is… forming the habit. Most people have heard the old adage about it taking 21 days to form a habit.


But with running, most people are just getting started at that point. Whether you are a beginner looking to run for the first time, a runner returning from an injury or break, or simply a runner starting a new training plan, it can take weeks before the habit forms.

Once you stick with the plan for 4-8 weeks, however, it begins to feel normal to lace up and run a few (or more) times a week.

Plenty of other things make getting started difficult. Each can make even a veteran throw in the towel before they get started.

Here a few tips for some of the most common hurdles:

Finding the time

We all lead busy lives. If running is important to you, it will be possible to find the time to make it happen.

It might mean getting up at a really early hour or hit the pavement after the kids go to sleep.

It might mean a longer lunch hour or squeezing in a mile or two when you find 20 extra minutes.

Many people with over-scheduled lives put other people first without taking care of one of the most important things they have, their body!

Finding the right training program

Not all running programs are equal and not all runners are equal. Your friend might be able to run 30 miles a week comfortably whereas you do better with 15.

Seek a running club, a coach, or head to your local running store who is likely to offer group runs.

Your plan should be challenging enough so you don’t get bored, but easy enough that you don’t get injured or overwhelmed.

Finding a way to ease in

Veterans and newbies alike are apt to start a program with too much mileage, too soon.

Giving yourself enough time to ease into a program will stave off injury as well as keep you from being frustrated that it is too difficult.

The first month should be building up time on your feet and concentrate less on mileage and pace.

Finding motivation

This one is a biggie. Most runners will start their first week or two excited for this new plan, but slowly start to find it difficult to stay motivated.

Some people are motivated by a goal race, some are motivated by rewarding themselves with a new piece of gear.

Some will need to find a running partner or group to stay motivated (accountability) and some will be motivated by just the sense of accomplishment.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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