How to Train for a Half Marathon: Tips and Training Plan

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In May, Al Roker walked in Brooklyn Half Marathon. In the weeks leading up to the race, contact your running coach Hiruni Wijayaratne For support and guidance through an application-based program called Coach. “I was randomly assigned to him, not realizing that he was The We spent a lot of time at the rocker match,” Wijairatne said. “He’s so down-to-earth. You’d never know he was a TV personality.”

Rucker had completed marathons in the past, but this was his first long race in a while. With his knees and hip replacements, he needs to relieve the pressure on his joints.

“Al had a really good base under him because he is committed to that goal of wellness. He walks every day. He had that consistency, which is what most people need before they can do something like sign up for a half marathon,” Wijairatne said. “It was easy to help create a path forward for him because we didn’t have to start from scratch.”

While Wijayaratne created a personal training plan for Roker, she said walking a half marathon is an achievable goal for most people. Here’s what you recommend.


Follow the training plan

Most people can run a half marathon in 12 to 16 weeks. If you’re sedentary or starting from scratch, you may need more time, while if you’ve been walking regularly, you should probably be able to get there in 12 weeks or a little less.

Whether you work with a trainer or create your own routine, you’ll want to mix your effort and pace, and include both up and down stretching exercises. “You want to get used to those things that you will encounter on race day,” Wijayaratne said.

To get started, just build a walking habit. “In the first month, I don’t care how fast you walk. I only want you to walk at least four days a week,” Wijairatne said. “I like to give people something very achievable, like 15 minutes on Monday, rest on Tuesday, 20 A minute on Wednesday, then we go from there.”

While everyone’s goal is different, walking a half marathon in four hours is realistic for many people. Wijayaratne recommends walking a quarter of the way toward this goal each month. Here’s how that could happen.

  • After four weeks: Be able to walk for at least an hour once a week.
  • After eight weeks: Be able to walk for at least two hours once a week.
  • After 12 weeks: Be able to walk for at least three hours once a week.
  • At week 16 (race day): Be able to walk for four hours.

To reach those monthly goals, weekly workouts may be done as follows:

  • You walk into ‘One Stop Shop’ where you breathe comfortably, enjoy the views and just move around.
  • One moderate walk, as if you were rushing to the airport gate to catch a flight.
  • One quick walk, running, breathing hard, and pumping your arms.
  • One long walk, as you work towards your target distance for the month.

“This way, you’ll be able to diversify your effort, and you can change your breathing pattern, and that makes it fun — you have something to look forward to every day,” she said. “By the time we get to race day, you have all those really good minutes of walking under you.”

Invest in good walking shoes

“I think any good running shoe is a good walking shoe,” Wijayaratne said. She suggests going to a local running store, where they can analyze your gait and recommend some suitable shoes. You can probably walk 500 to 600 miles in good shoes. “For a walker, a pair of shoes can last all year,” she said.

Good walking shoes will cost more than the casual shoes you might wear when shopping or hiking, but Wijayaratne thinks they are worth it because they can prevent aches and pains. “If you have that goal, invest in yourself and take care of yourself,” she said.

Carry water and fuel on your hiking trips

If you’ve been walking for more than an hour, bring water in a hand-held bottle or on a waist belt. Try to take three or four large sips every 20 minutes or so. “This way, you never get to the point where you’re dehydrated, but you give your body those periods of hydration so you can keep going,” Wijairatne said.

While hiking, you may also want to bring an energy gel to fuel your body with low glucose — Wijayaratne recommends one every 45 minutes.

Walk on a smoother surface, if possible

Wijayaratne thinks fine, crushed gravel is the ideal walking surface, but that’s not a realistic option for most people. Therefore, she suggests walking wherever you can, as long as you are comfortable and safe. Walking on a treadmill is another good option: “The treadmill strap is softer and easier on the body than walking outside on the sidewalk.”

Here’s what you need to know for race day

You’ve been preparing for months, and the important day is here. If you’ve never raced before, here are some things you should know:

  • Bring about four fuel gels – one for every 45 minutes or so. Don’t try a new generation in your racing goodies bag. “You never know how different things will react to your stomach,” Wijayaratne said.
  • You don’t have to bring water. Most races build water stops along the way.
  • Try to get there an hour before the start time. This way, you can use the bathroom, stretch a bit, and let your heart rate drop before it works hard for several hours.
  • Don’t try anything new on race day – it’s not new shoes, clothes or fuel day. “The last thing you need is a pimple or chafing because you’re wearing something you’re not used to,” Wijairatne said.
  • If the race is big, position yourself in the middle or behind the group – leave the lead to the faster runners.
  • You must be able to finish by the time the course is open. In most half marathons, the course will be closed to vehicle traffic for four to five hours.

do not worry

“When you start something like this as walking, it can seem intimidating. You have such a great distance to go from start to finish line. I want to encourage walkers not to give up on their goal because they think it’s for runners. There are a lot of people walking,” Wijayaratne said. In a half marathon, you get the same medal whether you run or walk on it.” “You are on your own journey to your finish line, and it doesn’t matter what your pace is. You are successful, and you are a winner.”

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