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How To Train for a Half Marathon in 2 Months – 8 weeks to 21k/13 miles

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Markus, we get asked this question quite often about sort of cramming, I almost want to say, for races, and in particular, this one pops up quite often: a half marathon in two months, is it possible to train for a half marathon in two months? Brad, it’s a valid question in the sense that it’s can or can’t I, my question would be is how much running experience do you have? If you come from a non existent running background with very little to no running, the chances are very slim. We’ll talk about the pitfalls later on. But for someone that does have some form of running background, if you make the most of your training and make sure that the gains or the jumps, I’m talking about running session duration, isn’t too great then obviously, it’s more doable.

Yeah, Markus, possible and advisable are quite a fine line. I think anything is possible, it’s whether it’s advisable or not is probably the better question to ask. Let’s talk about someone who possibly does have a previous history of running, maybe they haven’t run for a while, and they’re keen to get back into it, or they’ve decided to do a half marathon in two months from now, how would they go about doing it? How would you structure your training to run a half marathon in two months from now? So Brad, I’d literally break it down into a week for week programme. Firstly, start off with maybe one day on one day off for the first week. And don’t go and run an hour for your first time or for your first run or for your first week’s runs. If it’s 30 minutes where it starts getting uncomfortable, then cap it at 30 minutes. The next run can either be the same duration or 10 to 15 minutes longer. The week after that, you’ll generally add 10 to 15 minutes onto that run.

I’d stay clear of doing speed work because the idea is just to finish the actual half marathon. Lindsey once said something, and it’s a very, very true thing, the slower the progress, the more permanent the change. So it’s the same as how do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit. So if you literally just make sure you tick the boxes as you go along, increasing your runs in duration, not necessarily mileage, the chances of you being successful are rather great, because it’s not about ‘oh, but I’ve never run a long run or never done a long run of 21 kilometres or longer’, it’s about the cumulative mileage in a week that makes the difference. Yeah, absolutely, and we hammer this home all the time, Markus, consistency is probably the biggest thing that you need to focus on.

And like you say, if day one you go and run an hour and the next day or in the next two days you’re so stiff, you can’t run, you’re not doing yourself any favours. It’s better to build up slowly but make sure that over the next two months, you literally don’t miss one session. You’ve got recovery scheduled in but the days you’re supposed to run, you don’t miss one of those runs. 100%. You couldn’t have said it any better. You’re really not going to yourself any favours by trying to push for time or pace. It’s not a race, if you’re really so serious about that race, you should have started training more than eight weeks ago.

The chances of you sidelining yourself, or hurting yourself in the process is far greater than you just trying to be consistent for those seven weeks and make sure you freshen up in the last week, you’ll be way better off by following the conservative approach. Yeah. I went to varsity and a lot of it was cramming when it came to exams and unfortunately, half marathon running, you can’t cram it. Two months is probably doable, but you’ve got to be consistent and you’ve just got to be sensible about it. Let’s talk about some of those pitfalls. What are some of the dangers of running a half marathon or training for half marathon in two months? So the most important thing is you need to set a realistic goal for yourself. If it’s unrealistic, the chances of you hurting yourself and just not liking running in general or disliking it, starting to dislike it because of the fact that you’re pushing your body too hard, you’re trying to be who you’re not as a runner.

Obviously, that’s not great. That’s something that you need to stay clear of. Obviously also training at the right intensities. Once again, it’s not about how fast you can go on the day, it’s about if you can go far enough. So you need to make sure that there’s slight over overreaching in your training in the sense that your week one’s long run was, let’s say 45 minutes, the next week needs to be 55.

The week after that it can be one hour and five minutes. So add 10 to 15 minutes depending on how your body responds to the training. But above all else, you need to set a realistic goal for yourself. Absolutely. We’ve written a pretty extensive post on our website. If you want to find out more about it, you can click the link below this video or it’s on the screen as well right now. There’s a whole bunch of info there over and above what we spoke about today.

There’s also training programmes, the works, so go check it out, click on the link, and good luck. I look forward to seeing how you go and please do let us know how it goes. Half marathon’s a great distance, it’s one of my favourites. It’s probably challenging enough that you have to do some training but it’s not like a marathon where it hurts.

I think half marathons are probably the best distance to be running. Markus, as always, thanks for your time today. Thanks Brad.

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