Pat Connelly (Running Coach for LA Roadrunners and Valencia High School) gives expert video advice on: How far is a 'half marathon'?; Why do people decide to do a half marathon?; How does the training differ for a half marathon? and more...
How far is a 'half marathon'?
A half marathon is, obviously, half the distance of a marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles, so a half marathon is 13.1, which is becoming now a very popular race for people that would like to do something that's not a marathon distance, but yet is further than a 10K, which is six miles.
Why do people decide to do a half marathon?
Why people decide to do half marathons is, basically, it's not as painful as doing a marathon. Remember, we are made, history and our development, man and woman, to run about 12 miles. Running 26 miles is really out of character and what we're built for. And so the body has to go through a lot of changes and a lot of work to recalculate the brain to work the body to go that far. So a half marathon becomes a very pleasant distance for most people, because it's naturally easy for them to do with the proper training.
How does the training differ for a half marathon?
How the training differs for a half marathon is that you don't have to run the very long distances. The half marathon is more that the body and mind and the physical attributes are developed. The half marathon distance does not put you on that real depletion of carbohydrates and electrolytes that put you in the shock, so there is no wall in the half marathon if you train properly.
When should I start training for a half marathon?
It's just very similar to a marathon. If you're starting from scratch then you probably want to get at least three months to four months starting, so you can reach that level up to about ten miles, which is going to be about a month prior to race day, and then hit a couple of weeks where you're going to be doing the exact distance, and that should be sufficient.
How long should I train for a half marathon?
Training for a half marathon is obviously almost half of what it is for a marathon. You are certainly not having to have to go out and run long distances. Of course, you'll have to experiment with some training days that are thirteen miles in length. You might try a couple of fifteen, but usually, the area from six miles to ten miles will still have you proficient to run a half marathon race.
Does training for a half marathon prepare you for a full marathon?
No, but it will get you there. Really, it is a good foundation and a good start to go into marathon training. Certainly, if you never run a marathon and done a half marathon, then definitely half of your work load is over. But, until you get up for a twenty-mile-range in training, you're not prepared to do a marathon.
Do all marathons have a half marathon option?
Most marathons do not have the half marathon option, but that distance is getting more and more popular so more and more races each year are adding the half marathon that you can stop halfway and just do the half marathon, not continue for 26 miles.