My 5 Tips for Training for a Half Marathon

Hey, guys! My name is Kaylie and I blog over at Happy Kaylie Place. My blog is all about my life as a college student, personal trainer, runner, yogi, and all-around crazy person!

profileI am SO excited to be sharing my stories with you all today, per Jessie’s blog. I love reading about her poise and strength while living in a completely different country! Pretty much- she is awesome and I am happy to give her a break from blogging for today so she can enjoy her vacation!

My Training Experience

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By this, I mean my experience training another person to run. I have run a few half marathons, and am currently training for my first full. However, it is a very different experience to train someone else to run a half.

I am a personal trainer so I do have experience training others to complete certain exercises at heavier weights, more repetitions, or longer times. However, running is such a personal thing, when my client, Shanaz, came to me and told me about her goals, I sort of freaked out. While I am crazy and running is my middle name, I was apprehensive to help her train because running is different from weight training.

Still, I agreed, and we spent the next 6 months working together to help her train. It was such an amazing experience, being able to help someone go from running 1 or 2 miles at a time to running an entire half marathon! You guys can check out her story HERE, but I wanted to talk about the training itself today.

5 Tips When Training for a Half Marathon


IMG_07081) Strength Train: Because running is so demanding on the body, weight training    is SUPER important to do before you begin training~

  • Focus on lighter weights for you armsto tone those extremities,
  • Do lots and lots of core work-this includes chest and back exercises as well like push ups, chest presses, and latissimus pull downs. Some of my favorite core workouts are planks and something called a “dead bug” (You can YouTube all these exercises to learn how to do them)
  • Build up to heavy-weighted leg work- My rule of thumb is- make sure you are able to leg press your own body weight
  • Work on your balance-Whenever you are working your arms, try only doing on arm at a time or standing on one leg- balance is key to preventing injury!

I have Shanaz doing lots of strength training about 2 months before I gave her a running regimen. Doing this allowed her to be more lenient when it came to running mileage. She never ran more then 15-20 miles per week when in training, and she was able to complete the entire half-marathon with total ease!


2) Mentally Prepare: Aside from actually running, mental preparation has got to be the most difficult thing to master as a runner. If you have never ran a 5K/3.1 miles, the thought of running 13.1miles/half-marathon may make you want to throw up! But have no fear- you CAN do it! Here are some tips I had Shanaz try when she began to build her mileage~

  • Focus on time, not distance:If you head out for a run, and are attempting to run 4 miles for the first time, chances are you may get scared of psyched out. So, instead, try running for 45 minutes straight without stopping. By doing this, you are training your mind to thinking about running as a timed thing, and not about the actual distance you are running. If you are running a 10K/6.2 mile race, and hit the 4 mile mark- think about the fact that you only have about 25 minutes left to run (depending on your average mile times), rather then 2 whole miles.
  • Listen to Music: I personally do not like listening to music. However, when I first started running, music was my best friend. This is because music can distract you from the task that you are performing. So, if you can find any way to distract yourself, you will be able to look back on your runs and begin to build confidence. For instance, if you ran 6 miles without realizing it, who is to say that you can’t run 8 miles?

3) Clean out your Fridge/Pantries-

This one is self explanatory. Basically, you run better when you fuel your body properly. Throw out the processed foods, sugary treats, and frozen dinners!

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4) Make up a Mantra- A mantra is a phrase or single word that you repeat in your mind throughout your run. While it may seem silly at first, mantras are a great motivator to get you through the tough times of your runs. Mine changes all the time, I must say. My favorite has to be-

“Every stride makes you stronger”


5) Just Keep Running- Sometimes, during your training, you will hit a wall. Much like in the actual race, your body will just not be in a groove to run for a week or two. While this is pretty much inevitable, remember why you are running. It doesn’t matter if you tried to run 10 miles for the first time and stopped 5 times. (Been there-done that!) I can’t tell you how many horrible runs I have ran in the past. Yet still, if running is something that you love, or running a half-marathon is something you just have to do before you die, then just keep running. Wake up the day after a horrible run and just throw those memories out the window- start fresh everyday! Remember that not ever run will be the best you have ever ran, that’s no the important part. The important part is that you continue to lace up your shoes and hit the road/treadmill and try, try again.


I hope these tips help anyone who is thinking about running a race or is in the middle of training for one! Have an awesome day, and thanks for taking time to here random rambles from a crazy exercise-freak. Winking smile

Feel free to stop by and visit my blog anytime at

See ya~Kay


16 thoughts on “My 5 Tips for Training for a Half Marathon

  1. I’m a HUGE fan of the mantra tip!! I use “Hard 10s”, so I’ll think of something motivating that I want to push hard for, for 10 double strides. So, say Hard 10 for strength — and for the next 10 left-right step combos, I’ll really be thinking about strength, and that’ll hold me over for a good while after those 10 steps as a motivator. 🙂

    • Strength training helps SO much! It’s like my secret weapon when it comes to training for races, haha. And you don’t even have to overdo it- just 2x per week for about 30minutes each will do the trick! 🙂

  2. These are fantastic tips. I was severely obese. Exercise was like a language I just couldn’t understand, and running just terrified me. Eventually, I realized that I had to do something about my weight. I started out with walking, and obviously, changing my diet. But, that only took me so far. I found out about C25k (Couch to 5K), and I began using that program. Before I knew it, I was running. I later paid for a personal trainer to help me, and he gave me these same tips. Thanks for the information. I am sure it is helping others!

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