Five Reasons To Run A Half-Marathon

Happy Friday everyone! Like I said yesterday, this week has put me over the edge and I definitely need a weekend to catch up on life. I decided this week to link up with Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar on the Run, and You Signed up for What for the Friday Five! The theme this week is “Five Reasons to Run a ____” and after last week’s half I had been thinking recently about why the half-marathon is such a great distance!

five reasons to run a half

1. The half-marathon is a milestone race for many runners. It seems like by training for and completing that first half-marathon, you have reached a running milestone. Many runners starting out may be intimidated by the distance, but decide it is a goal they would like to one day accomplish. It often sets the stage for that desire to run a full marathon, too!

first marathon

first marathon in 2011

2. You can see drastic improvements in your time with training. Many runners start out with the goal of completing the half-marathon, and then once they have completed one or two then they start training for time. It is pretty common to see improvements of 20-30 minutes as runners begin putting in more specific training! For example, Nicole has cut off a full hour from her first half-marathon time!!

3. Training for a half will force you to exercise regularly. If one of your goals is to lose weight, work out more, get healthier, etc… training for a half is a great way to start working towards those goals. Typically you can train for a half marathon by running about 4 days a week, for at least 30 minutes a day. This is a pretty good amount of cardio to jump-start a fitness regime. Keep in mind that you may be hungrier and want to eat more! Try to fuel with healthy foods rather than junk:)


4. It doesn’t take over your life the way marathon training does. You will probably need to set aside a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday to do your long run, but other than that it doesn’t take up a ton of time. It’s pretty reasonable to run a few days a week without it interfering with other things in your life too much. 


there’s still time for wine

5. You will get to enjoy all the “fun stuff” about being a distance runner: gels, chafing, blisters, foam rolling, porta potties, good runs and bad runs, emergency bathroom situations, talking the “runner talk”, runger, and much more plus you get a medal and the amazing feeling of crossing the finish line!

katie after

Katie’s first half!

What are some other reasons to run a half-marathon?

What is your favorite race distance? I would say that my favorite distance to train for is the full marathon but I am much more comfortable with racing a half! 



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50 responses on Five Reasons To Run A Half-Marathon

    1. Yes, me too! I don’t think I will be doing a spring full but I am already signed up for the rock n roll dc half. I think it will be a good break to take a season off from marathon training!

  1. I just wrote you a whole novel and it’s gone lol. Ugh! Anyway, I was saying I love the half. I may never do a 26.2. Never say never but honestly, I may never. My body does well with the 13.1 It’s challenge and an accomplishment yet not too taxing. I hate a 5k and a 10k is eh to me but the 13.1, I just love it. I don’t run many races a year but the ones I do, are 13.1.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…Oatmeal Peanut Butter Coconut Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    1. I think the I’ll be doing half marathons for a long time, while I’m not sure how many more full marathons I will do.They are just a lot to handle, take a lot of time, and are tough on the body. I’m still kind of addicted to the full because I love the long training runs, but its nice to know the half will always be there as an option.

    1. Wow 30 minutes is amazing!! I’ve also seen my biggest improvements in the half although I have the most room for improvement in the full:)

  2. The half is fun and Philly is a great city to run in. It used to be called The Philadelphia Distance Run, but I believe it has changed it’s name. This was my favorite race. It was always held the 3rd weekend of September, so the weather started out chilly, and never got too hot by the finish. The course was awesome, running through some great areas including The Italian Market at Ninth St. I’ve done the full there twice, and felt very accomplished, but the half there was the best!

    1. That sounds like a great race! It’s always fun to find a race that you love and would go back to every year.

    1. I have yet to be able to “race” a full marathon…and while that is the goal for my next one who knows what will happen! I feel like with the half I have learned to race it and I can handle running them often enough that I’ve learned how to pace them appropriately.

    1. Yes! It sounds like you are on your way to starting to train again! Can’t wait to see what spring races have in store for you:)

  3. I love the half distance! It’s a good challenge, especially if you’re running for time, but it doesn’t consume all of your free time the way a full does. Plus I feel less wrecked afterwards, so it’s easier to go have fun with friends after the race.

    1. Very true, after a full all I want to do is lay in bed. After a half I can actually celebrate!

  4. Lisa, it’s so true that the half marathon allows runners to really get into some of the longer run fun stuff like fuel (GU, etc), the joys of Body Glide, trying to find bathrooms, etc.; I didn’t think of this, but that’s a lot of the fun, right? I’m so glad you mentioned it! I love you list and I love that we share the same distance as one of our faves. Great post! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Five Reasons to Run a Half MarathonMy Profile

    1. Thank you! I think all that stuff is part of the “fun” in a way only runners can understand:)

  5. The half marathon is great! It’s such a big accomplishment when you cross that finish line, and there are goals you can work toward (mine is breaking two hours). And, they are popping up EVERYwhere now, so you can make a fun weekend out of it by traveling somewhere.
    Lily @ Lily Runs the World recently posted…Back To ItMy Profile

    1. Traveling for half-marathons is a great reason to run them! I ran one in Providence RI and I probably never would have gone there if it weren’t for the race! I would love to do some other destination races too!

    1. So true! There’s no denying that 13 miles is a challenge, but its not going to takeover your life the way marathon training can.

  6. Totally agree! Another thing I love about the half is that so many more people run them. I know it can be annoying to run in a crowded race, but I really love the energy from running with lots of other people. When I ran a marathon, the crowd got pretty thin pretty quick!
    Hilary recently posted…Two Steps BackMy Profile

    1. It can be annoying to weave but it certainly can get lonely running a full marathon with no one around! Good point!

    1. The half seems to be such a good race distance for so many people…long enough to feel like a challenge but still reasonable to do even when just getting into (or back to) running!

    1. That is awesome to hear! I’m glad you found something enjoyable that helped you to improve your overall health!

    1. I enjoy those too- I’ve only done one course (the same course 3 times) but its nice to not have to worry about too much taper or recovery, but still a relatively long distance!

    1. I always look forward to having more free time on the weekends after marathon training is over!

  7. I’m pretty sure the half is my favorite distance to race. Even though I’ve only ran one once, it was just so much fun! I like that although it’s not a full marathon, there’s room enough to fix pacing errors if there were some in the beginning, which can be pretty hard for the shorter distances.
    Hailey recently posted…Half marathon trainingMy Profile

    1. Very true! That’s my problem with the 5k…even a few seconds too slow in the first mile can really screw up the whole race!

    1. I can barely remember the last time I “trained for” a half…Usually I run a half while training for a full! I kind of don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t have 3 hour runs on the weekends!

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