5 Ways To Know You’re Ready for a Half


Well, you know I’m ready for a half when suddenly I start writing a lot of posts about half this and half that.

For this Fitness Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run,  I’m going to give you five ways to know that you’re ready to start training for your first half marathon.

You really, really  want to run one
This seems to go without saying, but 13.1 miles is a lot of miles. Go out there and drive it — you’d be surprised! Don’t listen to those twisted marathoners who consider 13.1 miles to be a simple training run; you already knew those people are a little off.

Don’t do it because your friends or your boyfriend or husband is doing it.

Do it because you really, really want to do it. For whatever reason. If you do it for someone else, you’ll be cursing them out at zero dark thirty or maybe just turning over in bed and hitting the snooze button . . . numerous times.

You’ve been running for a year
I know I wrote about this one somewhere, but it bears repeating: it takes time for your ligaments and tendons to get used to running. Not to mention if you ramp up too quickly, you may be sitting on the sidelines with a stress fracture.

Sure, there are lots of runners with stories of running their first 5k and then immediately signing up for their first half.

There are even more stories of runners sidelined by injuries before their first half.

You consistently run at least three times per week
You can train for a half marathon with just three runs a week. I’ve done it. I prefer four runs per week, as that allows you to distribute your runs into smaller chunks, but I think three times per week can get you there safely.

You run outside
Can you train for a half marathon using just a treadmill? Probably. But let’s face it, except for the space station, halfs are run on the roads (or trails).

Conventional running wisdom tells you to mimic your race conditions as much as possible in training. If you’re entered in road race, run on roads. If you’re entered in a trail race, run on trails.

If you’re too shy to run on the road in front of God and everyone — I get it. I was like that once, too. It might just mean that you’re not quite ready for that half yet.

You’re healthy and have the time
I often say if I can run a half marathon, anyone can. I believe that. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

If you’ve been recently injured, or are anemic, or know work is going to be insanely busy while you’re training for your first half . . . don’t. Just don’t.

It may not be a marathon, but it’s not a sprint, either. Your immunity takes a hit. You have to commit to some long runs and a certain amount of hours devoted to running during the week.

The last thing you want is to feel like you have to run, instead of you get to run. If that’s how you’re feeling, put aside your half dreams for now. Wait for a less busy, less stressful time in your life.

You only get to run your first half marathon once. Make it a great experience, not a chore!

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

What was your first half marathon?

Was it a good experience?

What would be your advice to a runner wondering if they’re ready for a half?

28 thoughts on “5 Ways To Know You’re Ready for a Half

  1. Great post Judy, lots of really practical sensible advice- the kind that comes with experience and an honest appraisal of how it really is rather than ‘it’s only a half’ anyone can do it’ ‘just do it’ . I did a half back in 2013 to raise money for charity. I did a half because I didn’t think that I would be able to do a marathon ( I’d been running less than a year) and it was a big challenge for me. I was pleased with myself when I finished though. Different events bring different challenges. With the half it was ‘will I get round’ whereas with a 10k I know that I will get round, it’s more of ‘will I be able to run all the way?’
    I haven’t done any events for over a year now. I’ve been spending my time nurturing the ‘I get to run’ because the’ I have to run’ had become oppressive. But I’m pleased with my progress over the last few months and I think with the new season next spring I will enter something – but only if I can tick everything on your list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes to all! I couldn’t agree more that you MUST want to do one for yourself. Not for Facebook accolades or for people to tell you how “amazing” you are. Of the people I coach I can tell you overwhelmingly, the ones who are externally motivated are the ones who falter and drop off. My first half was in 2007 and 50+ halfs later, it’s still the hardest course I ever ran.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I did my first half a few months after becoming a runner, but I did do the run-walk method. I’d agree that you have to really want it for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My first half was the best one. Nothing could ever top it even a PR. I definitely did it for myself because I didn’t tell anyone even all my friends (and running friends) that I was doing one.

    I was only going to run ONE but after that I ran 4 more that same year. I was hooked.

    All good points though I have run several after serious injuries because I had already signed up. Its ok if you adjust your goals (I even walked half of one.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post 🙂 I agree three runs is plenty to complete a half, I am doing it for a marathon lol Even I wondered if it would be enough, but now I don’t.
    My first half was a great experience. I had only trained up to 10 miles 🙂 and I nailed it race day! and I found a friendly runner and we chatted for 5 or 6 miles – it was so nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think an experienced runner like you can do a marathon on 3 x week — I’m not sure I’d recommend it to a newbie, but then again, what do I know!

      I would LOVE to run (actually run with) a half with a friend some day.


  6. Great points! I couldn’t imagine going through all the training if you didn’t want to do it yourself! My first half was in 2002… the Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City, oh… those hills! I remember it fondly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree! I feel the same way about marathon training- I’ve been thinking constantly about doing my first marathon so I think it’s time to sign up for one soon! But everything you said is so valid. My first half was in April in Florida and it was h-o-t! It wasn’t the best experience because the weather sucked but I’ve run two other halfs since then and I’ve come to really appreciate and love that distance. I have my fourth half in a few weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great reminders. I ran for YEARS before signing up for a 20K. Then waited another 2 to do a half. You definitely need to be psychologically ready for it. My 20K (almost a half !) was in pouring rain, wind and cold weather and it took me a long time to reconcile myself with running another long distance.

    Liked by 1 person

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