Training for a Half Marathon : Long Runs

By 10 June 2016Latest, Running
However, before we look at the kind of long runs you should be doing, let’s look at a really important element of your training…

Warming Up

A lot of runners simply don’t do a proper warm up or just start their run with a “slow jog” before picking up the pace or , even worse, don’t do any warm up at all and just go straight into their run.

This is a recipe for disaster, potentially leading to pulled muscles, as well as other injuries. The purpose of a structured warm up is to prepare the body for what it is about to do and, by warming up correctly, you minimise the chances of injuries occurring.

You can view a short 4 min video here of me taking you through a running warm-up routine which you can do anywhere, immediately before you start your training run (whatever the distance).

This is just a snippet of a more detailed and longer warm up routine but if you follow this video every time you run you will increase your chances of staying injury free and actually feeling better about your running.

When you finish this short warm up drill you should be breathing a little heavier and your lower body muscles will be warmed up correctly for your run, so you are ready to go!

Long Runs

So, now you are nice and warm let’s look at the long steady runs you should be doing as you train for your half marathon.

You should start with a 10-12 week training schedule in order to give you enough time to train properly and your first “long run” should be no longer than you have run before, so you don’t push it too far initially.

You should aim for 2 long runs each week (we will be looking at the other types of training runs to do in future posts). For the purposes of this schedule we will say that your long run is 4 miles.

So, a sample “Long Run” training schedule for beginners/intermediate level could look something like this:


2 & 34 milesTwice
4 & 56 milesTwice
6 & 78 milesTwice
810 milesTwice
911 milesTwice
1012 milesOnce
118 milesTwice
124 milesTwice

In this training plan, week 12 is the week of the race so you would look to run 4-5 miles by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, assuming the day of the run is a Sunday.

There is no need to run the 13.1 miles before the day of the race but it’s always good to have two or three 10-12 mile training runs under your belt.

Next time I will talk about how effective sprint/interval training can be in your quest to complete your half marathon and give you an interval training schedule you can incorporate into your training in order to achieve the necessary weekly mileage you need to successfully complete your half marathon.

In the meantime, if you have any specific questions just get in touch here!

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • caron darwood says:

    Hey Roy

    I’ve started my running training but am finding that I’m getting a lot of pain in the left side of my hip. I know I’m carrying a lot more weight at the moment, but I’m wondering if I also need some sort of gait/posture analysis?


    • Bodyline Fitness says:

      Hi Caron,

      Thanks for getting in touch regarding your half marathon training ; I’m sorry to hear you are getting hip pain at the moment. The pain could be caused by a few things so I think it would be best to get you in for a consultation and we can have a proper look at how your running and, potentially, prescribe you a training programme to help. Drop me an email directly and I’ll book you in.


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