How to Train for a Half Marathon When You Work Full-Time

Dreamstime

Dreamstime

Running, for most of us, is not a full-time job. As someone who works full time as well, I’ve been able to train and run my personal bests for several half marathons.

Although it has taken a few training cycles to learn what works the best, it is possible to enjoy running outside of a full time job.

First, there is no right or wrong method to training. The biggest piece of advice is to plan as much as you can.


If you can take an hour to plan your week, you will save a few hours throughout the week you can use for training. Here are a few tips:

Figure out the time that works for you

There is no right or wrong time to run or train. Some people prefer to train before work while others prefer to train after work. Another group of individuals is able to get miles during their lunch break.

There is no right or wrong time to run. Experiment with different times in your routine until you find the time that works best for you.

The important part is finding what time works for you and creating a routine.

But what if you miss your run?

Don’t fret about missing one run. Sometimes things happen like an early work meeting, sleeping in or even staying at work late. Missing a run won’t cause you to lose any fitness. Regroup and don’t turn missing a run to missing several runs.

Always have a running bag packed

If you miss a run and have time later, a packed running bag will always come in handy. You never know how work and life will play out throughout the day. You might even be able to sneak a short run in during the day.

There have been several occasions I’ve been thankful to have a bag packed. If I hadn’t been prepared, I would have missed the run all together. At the end of the day I found myself with extra time and I had all the gear I needed to go.

Meal plan on your days off

Choose a day to create a meal plan for the week. The more you plan, the less you have to worry about throughout the week. When I began working, meal planning was one of the most valuable lessons I learned.

Planning out food, going to the grocery store and getting daily household chores done on the weekends allowed both my husband and I more time to train throughout the week.

Not only more time to train, but also more time for each other and relaxing too. Notice a trend; planning is the key to almost everything.

Lay your clothes out the night before

If you decide you’re a morning runner, set your clothes out the night before. You can even sleep in your running clothes if that makes it easier. If you have everything packed and ready for the day, it makes it harder to sleep through your run. It goes back to planning.

Stressful days can lead to great runs

Sometimes the last thing you want to do after work is run. Channeling that stress and getting out of the door can turn into a great run.

Bonus!

Have you ever thought about run commuting to work? Many jobs and offices now have showers and locker rooms. If your job is close by and you have the means to run to work, integrate commute into your training.

Several of my coworkers run to work early, shower and then run home. You save money on gas too! At the end of the day, planning and making a routine is the best way to keep your day job and train for a half marathon.

Hollie Sick is a New Jersey-based runner and blogger who has completed nearly 30 half marathons. Learn more about Hollie at her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

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