Who can run a half marathon? (2023)

Asked by: Travis Aufderhar IV

Score: 4.5/5 (26 votes)

And yes, you can finish one. “Just about anyone can do a half marathon with the proper training,” says Mark Coogan, New Balance Boston Elite coach and former Olympic marathoner. “The key is preparing your body for the distance without overdoing it and causing injury.”

Can the average person run a half-marathon?

To the average person, running 13 miles sounds crazy. It takes about two hours on average to finish if you are in good shape, and you could spend months preparing for your first race. Here's the good news: half marathons are not that hard. In fact, they are considerably easier than a full marathon at 26.2 miles.

Do you have to be fit to run a half-marathon?

You Don't Have to Run 13.1 Miles in Training

To be physically prepared for the race, you can participate in long runs totaling 13 miles or more, but you don't have to. If you can run or run/walk a 10-mile distance, you should be able to safely and comfortably complete a half-marathon.

Can an unfit person run a half-marathon?

So can you run a half marathon without proper training? Well, yes, but it's not advisable and it's not fun. I was frankly lucky not to injure myself. Thanks to my complete lack of sporting competitiveness, I didn't try to keep up with anyone.

How do you know if I can run a half-marathon?

So how do you know you are ready? You should be able to run/walk 90 minutes. Covering the distance doesn't necessarily mean just running, but you need to be able to continue to move for 90 minutes. If your goal is to run the entire race, it's recommended you are able to run for 90 minutes without stopping.

18 related questions found

Is running a half marathon a big deal?

Despite the half marathon's ever growing popularity and accessibility, finishing one is still a big deal for any runner—because it's nearly impossible to fake it for 13.1 miles. You've got to train diligently and have the discipline to execute your race day plan.

Is it OK to walk during a half marathon?

MOST MAJOR HALF MARATHONS ARE FOR RUNNERS–but walkers can do them too. One advantage of a half marathon over a full marathon is that you won't need to spend as much time on the course. Most reasonably fit individuals should be able to walk 13.1 miles in around four hours. Doing so is fun.

Is it hard to run a half marathon without training?

You may be a little crazy for running a race without training for it, but if you're determined and prepared, you can get through it and you'll feel like a badass! You just may not be able to walk normally for a week or two afterwards. Do yourself a favor and make sure you train properly next time!

What happens to your body after half marathon?

Minor injuries

Thankfully, injuries are uncommon in half marathon runners. But you might experience lower body issues, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or muscle pain to your calves, hamstrings, or quads. Muscle aches can be treated with rest and gentle stretching.

What is an average time for half marathon?

For males, the average half marathon finish time is 1:55:26. For females, the average half marathon finish time is 2:11:57.

What's a good half marathon time for a beginner?

So, what's a good half marathon time for beginners? What should you expect at your age? On average we estimate, beginner males, finish half marathons between 2:05 to 2:15. On the other hand on average, beginner females clock in between 2:20 and 2:30.

Can you eat a banana before running?

A classic pre-run combo, bananas are full of potassium (which your body uses during intense workouts) and help maintain the same glucose levels as a sports drink would. ... With around 13 grams of carbs, this is a quick, easy-to-digest snack that's perfect to eat before a morning run.

What pace is a 2 hour half marathon?

What does it take to run a sub-2 hour half marathon? Hitting 1:59:59 pace for a half marathon means holding 9:10 minute/mile or 5:51 minute/km pace for 13.1 miles. You need to be able to do 20-30 miles a week in training, and ideally have a recent 10K time of 54 minutes.

How difficult is a half marathon?

It's a challenging, but manageable distance.

The half marathon may lack the "sexiness" of the full marathon, but most new runners with three months of training can conquer a half marathon. Long runs likely won't exceed two hours.

Why do runners have skinny legs?

Professional runners, specifically long-distance runners, tend to have 'skinny' legs. This is because they train extremely hard in order to sustain stamina and endurance so, their bodies don't get the chance to build muscle because they burn more than they consume. ... So, they don't really need any muscle at all.

Do you gain weight after running a half-marathon?

Weight Gain

This is most likely due to water retention as your muscles repair and rebuild. Don't be tempted to start (or resume) any weight-loss regime during this time – your body requires a full complement of nutrients to recover from the stress of the race.

Can you get abs from running?

While most runners don't run solely to get abs or tone their body, it can be a nice side benefit of the sport. While running is primarily a cardio exercise, it does strengthen and tone many muscles in your body, including your abs.

Can you walk a half marathon in 3 hours?

On average though, a mile can be walked in about 15-20 minutes. Therefore walking a half-marathon will take an average of 3-4 hours depending on how fast you are walking per mile. You definitely can walk a half marathon in 3.5 hours which would be walking at a pace of 16 minutes per mile.

Should you run the day after a half marathon?

Running fast places more strain on your body, which is not ideal when your goal is to recover. A general rule of thumb is to wait a day for each mile raced hard before you run hard again. After a half marathon, that's almost two weeks out from race day before you want to re-introduce speed work.

Do marathon runners stop to pee?

Ultrarunners usually have enough time to find a bush, and because races can last 24 hours or more it's best that they do stop during the earlier parts of a race. “Urine changes the pH of skin,” says Mayo Clinic urologist Christopher Wolter.

Do marathon runners take walk breaks?

On every long run, you should take a one- to two-minute walk break every two to eight minutes. If you're just beginning to run, you'll walk more than you'll run. Experienced marathoners will recover much faster from their long runs when they take one-minute walk breaks at least every eight minutes.

Is it OK to walk during a run?

“Walking during training runs allows you to exercise for a longer period of time,” Welling explains. “The walking portions allow the heart rate to come down and don't build up the lactic acid in the muscles, which allow for quicker recovery and decreased muscle soreness.”

Is running a half-marathon in 2 hours good?

Running a sub 2 hour or 1:59:59 half-marathon means maintaining an average pace of 9:09 minutes per mile, which is considered a respectable half-marathon time among runners. Highly competitive runners aim for harder targets, like a 1 hour and 30-minute half-marathon (6:51 minutes per mile pace or faster).

How much weight do you lose running a half-marathon?

On average, runners in the group overall lost 2.3% of their body weight during the race. Among sports experts, there is debate about the issue, but many experts warn that a weight loss above 2% can impair athletic performance.


Who can run a half marathon? ›

You Don't Have to Run 13.1 Miles in Training

To be physically prepared for the race, you can participate in long runs totaling 13 miles or more, but you don't have to. If you can run or run/walk a 10-mile distance, you should be able to safely and comfortably complete a half-marathon.

How fit do you have to be for a half marathon? ›

You Don't Have to Run 13.1 Miles in Training

To be physically prepared for the race, you can participate in long runs totaling 13 miles or more, but you don't have to. If you can run or run/walk a 10-mile distance, you should be able to safely and comfortably complete a half-marathon.

Can I run a half marathon if I can run 10K? ›

Running 13.1 miles is possible for most runners – if you can do a 10K, you can do a half. 'It's an achievable challenge, as it's easier to fit the training into a busy life than it is for a marathon', says British elite and RW contributing editor Jo Pavey.

Can I do a half marathon without training? ›

The short answer is no; it's not a good idea to run a half marathon without training. Running 13.1 miles requires endurance and strength. These things are best developed by training beforehand. Without proper preparation, you risk injury or serious problems during the race – neither of which would be fun!

How hard is it to go from half to full marathon? ›

Because you are already in half-marathon shape, you'll just need 2-4 months to get ready for 26.2. Here are some tweaks you'll need to make to your half-marathon training to get marathon ready. For the half, you needed to get ready for 13.1. For the marathon, you need to get ready for 26.2.

How many weeks does it take to train for a half marathon? ›

Most half marathon training plans are 12 to 18 weeks long. If you can comfortably run three miles without stopping and you're 12 to 18 weeks away from race day, you should start training. At first, try to run 3-4 days a week. As you progress, bump it to 4-5 days a week.

How many miles should I run a week for a half marathon? ›

For the Half Marathon

The typical weekly mileage for average runners training for a half marathon is 30-40 miles a week. Elite runners will have a volume closer to 100-110 miles per week.

What if I want to run a half marathon in 2 hours? ›

The Perfect 2 Hour Half Marathon Pace

In order to get around your half marathon in exactly 2 hours, you would need to run a 9 minutes 9 seconds per mile pace, or 5 minutes 41 seconds per kilometer.

Can I train for a half marathon on a treadmill? ›

Given the choice, most runners would not choose to do all of their marathon training on a treadmill, but as mentioned, yes, it's absolutely possible to do so and still have a solid race performance , whether it's your first marathon, you're trying to get a Boston Marathon qualifying time, or smash your PB.

Can you go from 10K to half marathon in 4 weeks? ›

Finally, if you are looking to nail a half marathon PR, a 4 week half marathon training plan is most likely not the best route to help you achieve that goal. Generally speaking, you want to allow a minimum of 8 weeks to train for a half marathon, and 10 to 12 weeks is ideal.

What is runner's face? ›

Runner's face occurs when your cheeks sag or appear skeletal as a result of the intense movement, fat-burning and regular exposure to the sun experienced by runners. Women and men who run marathons often suffer from runner's face in their late thirties.

How do you run a half marathon without getting injured? ›

6 Tips to Prevent Marathon Training Injuries
  1. Give yourself enough time to train. ...
  2. Don't build weekly mileage too quickly (or too slowly) ...
  3. Have your running form evaluated. ...
  4. Ensure proper footwear. ...
  5. Be sure to cross train. ...
  6. Warm up and cool down correctly.
Apr 5, 2019

What not to do when training for a half marathon? ›

10 half marathon training mistakes to avoid
  1. Choosing the wrong training plan. ...
  2. Too much too soon. ...
  3. Not respecting injuries. ...
  4. Not warming up properly. ...
  5. Getting it wrong with the long run. ...
  6. Skipping warm up races. ...
  7. Neglecting refuelling and hydration. ...
  8. Ignoring interval sessions.

What is the longest to run to prepare for a half marathon? ›

Your longest long run for the half marathon should be between 10 and 12 miles , depending on the length of your training plan. Ideally, your long run should be at least 90 minutes long.

How do you cut 30 minutes off a half marathon? ›

7 steps to improving your half marathon time
  1. Keep your training sessions varied. If you do the same training sessions week in, week out, two things will happen. ...
  2. Long runs for endurance. ...
  3. Practice running at your lactate threshold. ...
  4. Work on speed with interval sessions. ...
  5. Try hill runs.

How do beginners prepare for a half marathon? ›

The key to successful half marathon training is consistently putting in enough weekly mileage to get your body accustomed to running for long periods of time. Newer runners may start with logging 10 to 15 miles per week total and gradually building to a peak week of 25 to 30 miles.

How long does walking a half marathon take? ›

A common goal to work towards is walking a half-marathon. The distance of a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. If you maintain a brisk walking pace, you can expect to complete this in 3 to 4 hours, walking 13- to 15-minute miles.

How should I eat before a half marathon? ›

Waking up about three hours before the race's start is a well-accepted practice. Consider having a light carbohydrate meal. Granola bars and bananas are great pre-race foods. Avoid foods rich in fiber (including fruits with skins, such as apples and pears) to avoid bowel movements right before (and during) your run.

What should I eat training for a half marathon? ›

Good choices for pre-race foods include bread, bagels, cereal, fruit, and small amounts of peanut or almond butter, low-fat cheese, low-fat milk, or a fruit smoothie. The hour prior to the race should just include moderate consumption of water, sports beverages, energy gels, or energy chews.

How many miles should I run to lose weight? ›

Running one mile burns (on average) 100 calories. If you want to lose one pound of fat – then, you should run 35 miles. If you were to run 7 days a week, you would need to run 5 miles each day in order to lose one pound of fat in a week.

How healthy is running? ›

Running, or jogging, is one of the best cardio exercises you can do. Running for at least 10 minutes a day can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Runners lower their chances of dying from heart disease by half.

Can you drink 2 days before half-marathon? ›

Alcohol and Athletic Performance: The Bottom Line

So, it's safe to say you should avoid alcohol ideally 48 hours before a race, and especially the night before, in order to have better endurance, power, and energy on race day.

How to increase running speed? ›

5 Different Methods to Improve Speed When Running
  1. Interval training. Interval training is a popular method used by runners to improve speed. ...
  2. Add sprints into your long runs. ...
  3. Choose lightweight running shoes and gear. ...
  4. Skipping rope workouts. ...
  5. Build your strength.

How many mph is a 9 minute mile? ›

How fast is a 9 minute mile really? The 9-minute mile pace works out at 5.35 min/km, around 6.7 miles per hour, or 10.7 km per hour – it should feel like a fast jog. Most novice runners find it easy enough to hit this pace, but holding it for 9 minutes can take some training!

Can you lose belly fat by running on a treadmill? ›

Yes, treadmills are that good when it comes to burning belly fat. However, in all honesty, it's not just about jumping on a treadmill and giving it your all. There are other aspects you need to consider when putting your treadmill to good use.

How fast is 7.0 on a treadmill? ›

Treadmill Pace Conversions
Treadmill MPH settingPace per mileEquivalent paces by incline
29 more rows

Can you power walk a half marathon? ›

MOST MAJOR HALF MARATHONS ARE FOR RUNNERS–but walkers can do them too. One advantage of a half marathon over a full marathon is that you won't need to spend as much time on the course. Most reasonably fit individuals should be able to walk 13.1 miles in around four hours.

What should I do 4 days before a half marathon? ›

In the week before a half marathon avoid strength training and unfamiliar exercises. Fatigued and/or sore muscles can quickly endanger performance. Of course, continue to do stretching and mobilization exercises if they have been a regular part of training.

Will I lose weight running 10k 4 times a week? ›

Therefore, if you are running 10k every day, you will burn 4,200 calories a week running. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. Therefore, you will burn more than a pound a week running 10k every day.

Can you go from couch to half marathon in 4 months? ›

Most newbie runners can get half-marathon ready in 3-4 months ; if you have already been jogging, run/walking, or completed shorter distance events like a 5k or 10k, you can likely get ready in 3 months (12 weeks).

When should you do your last long run before a half marathon? ›

Your longest distance should be about two weeks before your race. In the following week, taper your training to 60% of your peak mileage. Keeping workouts shorter but still maintaining quality will help keep your legs fresh.

What is a decent half marathon? ›

This takes into account runners of all abilities, so it is the true average half marathon finish time. Since the half marathon is 13.1 miles, this average half marathon time works out to 8:25 pace. The site classifies a good half marathon time for men to be 1:43:33, which is a 7:54 pace for the 13.1 miles.


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