The half marathon is a road-running event of 21.0975 km, half the distance of a marathon.

Because the 1/2 marathon training is much easier than the marathon, it is quickly becoming a popular event for distance runners around the world, and the number of participants is significantly increasing each year.

Becoming a half marathon runner requires the development of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular system interaction and, as a result, an increase in oxygen consumption by muscles (1).

This is not achieved only by running sessions but also by the implementation of strength training sessions (2). This is due to the fact that there has been found a strong relation between strength training adaptation and running economy.

Therefore you will consume less oxygen and as a result of a better performance in the half marathon race (3).

Before you begin, regardless of your age, it is crucial to get a check-up from a licensed physician.

This exam should include an exercise stress test (usually done on a treadmill) to ensure that you have no cardiovascular problems.

Having a family history of heart disease, being a current or former smoker, or being overweight can be a severe risk to your health during your training session (4).

Create a plan for running to keep up with your progress

Choosing your running shoes

Pay attention while you chose your running shoes. Make sure it is shaped like your foot and has a heel that allows a comfortable ankle motion when moving or running.

The shoe must provide a secure feeling allowing your foot to flex and spread out in both width and length naturally.

The shoe should be made of a material that is neither too soft nor too firm, and it should not feel heavy on your foot.

Are you thinking about running your first triathlon? Try our beginners guide to triathlon training!

Let’s start:

Warm-up:

Start each session with a warm-up and finish it with a cool-down.

A warm-up should take at least 5 minutes if you are doing a short session, and for longer periods, the warm-up should be longer.

Warm-up exercises:

Fast Feet

1. Lean forward with your upper body.

2. Move your feet in a run on the spot as fast as you can.

Butt Kick

1. Flex the right knee and kick your right heel up toward your glutes.

Bring the right foot back down.

2. Try to keep your knees in line with your body as best as you can.

3. As the right leg comes down, flex your left knee and kick your left foot up toward your glutes.

High Knee Run

1. Bring your knees to your hands rather than your hands to your knees.

Forward Leg Swing

1. stand upright and kick through in a forward motion allowing the leg to swing back naturally.

Lateral Leg Swing

1. Stand on one leg.

2. Keeping your leg straight, raise it as far out to the side as possible, and swing it back down, allowing it to cross the opposite leg.

Cool-down:

All you need to do is to slow down your running speed to a gentle jog, and then a walk maintain this until your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal, then get ready to stretching.

Stretching exercises

→ Do each twice for 20 to 30 seconds.

Cross Leg Stretch

1. Lie on your back, cross your leg, with the ankle touching the knee. Arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height.

2. Drop the foot then grab the knee with one hand.

3. Pull the knee towards the floor until you feel the stretch on the thighs.

Groiner

1. Begin with both hands palms on the ground. Right leg stretched out, and the left leg bent close to your left hand.

2. Using both legs, jump and switch up the positions of your leg. The left leg stretched out, and the right leg bent close to the right hand.

Lying Piriformis Stretch

1. Lie down with your one knee bent and the other foot crossover the bent knee.

2. Once you have stretched out the left side, go ahead and do the right.

Static Hip Flexor Stretch

1. Kneel on a mat and bring your right knee up, so the bottom of your foot is on the floor. Extend your left leg out behind you, so the top of your foot is on the floor.

3. Shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in your hip.

Pigeon Stretch

1.lower yourself down into position as not to strain anything.

2. Get down on the floor, roll your right leg underneath you, stretch your left leg back.

3. Use your elbows to support the upper body.

Straight Leg Crossover

1. Lie on your back, with one leg straight while the other is bent. Arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height.

2. Bring the bent leg straight, raising towards the ceiling, then twist on one side.

Thread the Needle

1. Position yourself on your hands and knees on the ground. This will be your starting position.

2. Reach left arm all the way to the right as far as possible. Static

Oblique and Lat Stretch

1. While standing cross your legs. Keep both legs straight.

2. Reach with your arm and torso upward on the side with the leg crossed in front.

3. Side bend from foot to hand laterally, without twisting.

Strength workouts:

Do each exercise 2-3 sets × 10 repetitions

Push Up

1. Lie with your chest facing down, shoulder-width apart, your feet should be together and your legs straight.

2. Push your body upwards and straighten your arms.

Toe Touch

1. Lie in your back, and as best as you can, straighten your legs up into the air. You might need to bend your knees if your hamstrings are too tight.

2. From here, roll your rib cage up and reach for your toes and then back down.

Side Plank

1. When performing the side plank, ensure that your body is in a straight line and your elbow underneath your shoulder.

2. Squeeze your glutes to keep your hips forward in line with your body.

3. Once in position and you have a nice straight line down your body.

Elbow Plank

1. Lie face down on a mat with elbows resting on the floor next to your chest, palms facing forward or in a fist position, feet together.

2. Push your body off the floor in a pushup position with your body resting on elbows or hands.

3. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes.

Hip Dip

1. For this exercise, keep your glutes active and maintain a straight line through your body.

2. Ensure your elbow is below your shoulder as you get into a side plank position.

3. From here, drop your hip to the ground then push it up towards the ceiling.

Glute Bridge

1. Lie on your back.

2. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips. Keep your tummy tight throughout.

Fire Hydrant Hip Circle

1. Position yourself on your hands and knees on the ground.

2. Keeping the knee in a bent position, abduct the femur, moving your knee away from the midline of the body. Keep the abdominals engaged while moving the leg to prevent the body or pelvis from rotating.

3. Then move backward in a circular motion, slowly return to the starting position.

Body Weight Single-Leg Squat

1. Stand upright with one foot slightly off the floor.

2. Slowly lower your body into a squat position on the standing foot, keeping your back neutral/flat and the other foot off the floor.

Body Weight Calf Raise

1. When performing this exercise, keep your hips in line with your body as well as your knees straight. Hinge only at the ankles.

2. Roll up to your toes.

Alternating Single Leg Plank

1. Support your body off the floor, resting on your toes and forearms.

2. Raise one leg straight up off the floor, keeping your body in a straight line and your back neutral/flat.

3. Lower back your leg to the floor, returning to starting position.

4. Raise the opposite leg. Alternate sides with each rep.

Thoughts on the half marathon training plan

Do not simply run as hard as you can every time, follow the beginner half marathon training plan, and how hard you should work for each session.

Make sure you carry fluids with you, especially for longer runs (those that last 60 minutes or more).

The running plan for beginners are given in time rather in the distance. For more experienced runners use a mix of time and distance so you can train yourself how to follow a race pace more accurately.

If you have to skip some training sessions for any reason, try at least to maintain the weekly long run.

What About Breathing Training for the Half Marathon?

While training your cardiovascular and muscular systems for the rigours of a half marathon is essential, don’t forget that these systems can’t perform at their best if you are not taking up enough oxygen to fuel them!

Many athletes are starting to take advantage of respiratory muscle training to strengthen and build the endurance of the breathing muscles. These muscles can be trained like any other to become stronger and more resistant to fatigue, allowing them to continue to saturate the blood with oxygen during a long distance event like a half marathon.

Take advantage of a inspiratory muscle assistive device like the Airofit to add this extra edge to your six week training plan! The Airofit only requires up to ten extra minutes of training onto your regimen to achieve the desired benefits.

References

1. Saltin B, Åstrand PO. Maximal oxygen uptake in athletes. J Appl Physiol. 1967;23(3):353–8

2. Beattie K, Kenny IC, Lyons M, Carson BP. The effect of strength training on performance in endurance athletes. Sports Med. 2014;44(6):845–65.

3. Beattie K. (2019) Strength Training for Endurance Runners. In: Schumann M., Rønnestad B. (eds) Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Training. Springer, Cham

4. American College of Sports Medicine. Position Statement. Exercise and Acute Cardiovascular Events: Placing Risks into Perspective. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. 2007