In the past few years, running has become a popular way to stay in shape and improve general health. Runners are everywhere – in the park, at the gym, and on the trail. It comes as no surprise that running is so popular since it is so convenient. Running requires no specialized equipment and can be done almost anywhere. Even if you only commit to running a few hours a week, you can experience all the health benefits of running for fitness. Some would-be athletes may be unsure of how to start running. They may not know how to make running part of their fitness regime. As a novice runner, the first step toward fitness is to set a goal. Running a half marathon is a realistic goal for most new runners. In order to train for a half marathon you will need to follow a few simple guidelines.

Beginning to Train for the Half Marathon

If you are in reasonably good shape, then you can probably start training right away, however; some people may need to evaluate their health before beginning a new exercise regime. There are many short physical readiness tests which will help you decide if you need to talk with a doctor before beginning a new exercise program. In general, if you have a heart condition or chest pain then you will need to work closely with your doctor to develop a half marathon training schedule. Once you are ready to begin your half marathon training schedule you will need to do a few in things in order to prepare yourself. First of all, you will need to make sure you have enough time to train. Training for a half marathon will take at least 2-3 months. Each day you can expect to spend between 30 minutes and one hour training. You should also set aside time for a warm up and cool down session. Be sure to take care in choosing the proper running shoe. Your shoe should have plenty of heel support and stability. If you will be running on a specific surface such as concrete or dirt, be certain to buy specialized footwear for this purpose.

Warming up is Essential

Before each half marathon training session you will need to stretch, warm up, and cool down. Skipping any of these steps will result in injury, pain, or inefficient training. The first few weeks of training you will be alternating running and walking. Start by running for one minute then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat this process for about a half an hour. The next week try running for 2 minutes and walking for 2 minutes. As the weeks go by you should gradually increase your running time. As you continue training for a half marathon, you should also increase the overall time you train for. By the end of your training session (which should last about 3 months) you should be able to run for approximately 40 minutes straight.

Track your Progress with a Running Journal

Many successful half marathon runners keep a running journal to keep track of their progress. A journal or record-keeping method of some kind is recommended for beginners. If you don’t want to bother with a paper journal, there are many cell phone applications and devices which will track your running and keep a record of your distance and time. After completing this training you will be ready to run your first half marathon. Setting a concrete goal like running a half marathon can give you the motivation you need to get in shape and stay in shape. Once you run the half marathon you should continue setting goals for yourself. The satisfaction you gain from reaching your goals will surely help to keep you in excellent physical shape. Get started by picking the best pair of distance running shoes!

What’s Next?

After you’ve conquered your first Half Marathon, or a few half marathons… it’s time to step it up and go for the Full Marathon!