Getting ready for any type of marathon is an exciting mix of blood, sweat, and tears. Yet, boy is it worth it in the end! Reaching that finish line gives you such a boost in your confidence like nothing else.
Today, we’re going to talk about How to Prepare for a Half Marathon in 9 Weeks. So, whether you’re new to the whole marathon scene or you’re a seasoned pro, this post is for you!
We put together the ultimate training program to get you to that finish line looking and feeling fabulous. You’ll also find some valuable tips to help you get ready before and during the big race.
Let’s get started.
How to Prepare for a Half Marathon in 9 Weeks
Many people get so excited about a half marathon training plan that they rush it, which is never good. If you push your body to its limits, it’ll let you know. The signs will be subtle initially: a sore muscle here, a painful joint there.
Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself, which will force you to stop training and sit on the sidelines.
Now, let’s get ready to run!
How Long Is a Half Marathon?
So, you’re probably wondering how long a half marathon actually is. Well, one full marathon is 26.2 miles, which makes half a marathon precisely 13.1 miles.
For those visual learners out there, running a half marathon is like running a total of 231 football fields. The trick is to learn how to pace yourself so your body gets there in its own time.
Lucky for you, we know just how to do that. Just follow our 9-week half marathon training plan, and you’ll be running dozens of football fields like a pro in no time.
The Ultimate 9-Week Half Marathon Training Plan
As any experienced runner will tell you, the secret is in the planning. Try to make your mid-week runs short to build up speed and improve your time.
Then, plan for your weekend runs to be longer and at a more constant pace. This allows you to increase your running distance without over-exerting yourself. Long runs will also help boost your endurance in anticipation of the big race!
Let’s say your training week begins on a Monday and the race is on a Sunday in nine weeks’ time. By the end of those nine weeks, you’ll have run a total of over 19 miles!
Impressive, right? The best part is you won’t even feel it. This marathon training plan works gradually to allow your body to reach the target at a nice and steady pace.
This is what a typical training schedule would look like. Each day of the week is exactly the same, except for Sundays.
Check it out:
- Mondays: rest days
- Tuesdays: run for three miles
- Wednesday: cross-training (change weekly to maximize the benefits and not get bored)
- Thursdays: run for three miles
- Fridays: do cross-training one Friday and rest the following Friday
- Saturdays: rest days
Sundays are the only days where the mileage changes from week to week. Take a look:
- Week 1: four miles
- Week 2: five miles
- Week 3: six miles
- Week 4: seven miles
- Week 5: eight miles
- Week 6: three miles (this breaks the monotony of long runs and gives your body a break)
- Week 7: 11 miles (Don’t panic! By then, you’ll be strong enough to handle it)
- l12 miles
- Week 9: race day!
Marathon Training Tips
Below are some useful tips to help you prepare for the half marathon.
As you’ve noticed, the training schedule we set up is the same on all days of the week except for Sunday. In fact, almost every training program for runners will have the same basic design with one day out of the week consisting of varying distances.
‘Why?’ you ask. Well, this is done on purpose for several reasons. The first is to break from the monotony of a weekly routine so you don’t get bored.
Another reason is that changing the distance from week to week forces your body to wake up and pay attention. As a result, your muscles and joints become stronger and more resilient.
Plus,your metabolism improves. As a direct result of looking good, you also start feeling good and your self-confidence gets a nice boost as well.
Track Your Route
The best way to know how far you have to go is to use any of the high-tech gadgets and apps available to us free of charge. In addition, several websites will provide you with the mileage of your routes in detail.
In addition, smartphones and smartwatches come equipped with GPS. Thus, it’s easy to keep track of how much you’ve covered or how much you have left, all with a handy tap on the screen.
Use the 1:1 Ratio
When you begin training for the half marathon, experts recommend starting with the 1:1 ratio. This is when you run for one minute and walk for one minute.
Gradually, you’ll become more comfortable with longer runs. You can start increasing the running time in 1-minute increments. So, you could run for two minutes and walk for one. Then, a couple of days later, run for three minutes and walk for one, and so on.
When running any type of long-distance marathon, you have to know when to slow down and when you should increase your pace.
For example, short ‘quality’ runs are used primarily for running up hills. They’re also an ideal way to boost speed and muscle strength.
Longer runs, on the other hand, should be taken at a steadier pace. They’re best used to improve endurance and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Pacing yourself also includes knowing when to let your body rest. Remember, your body benefits from recovery just as much as it does from training. Hence, running coaches recommend you cut back your long runs in the two weeks before the race.
Instead, replace them with short runs to keep up your stamina without overexerting your muscles. Reducing your mileage will also help maintain your strength until the big race.
Cross-training exercises are designed to help enhance your conditioning and boost stamina. So, your muscles don’t tire as fast, and you have enough energy and strength to last throughout the race.
Another benefit of cross-training is that it provides the cardiovascular strength you need to run a half marathon. At the same time, your ankles and knees can get a nice break from all the constant pounding.
Here are just a few examples of some of the best cross-training workouts you can include in your training program:
- Elliptical machine
- Weight training
The Importance of Following a Training Program
Running coaches swear by training plans, especially when preparing for a marathon. The right type of plan for you will get ready for race day both physically and psychologically.
Check out these perks of following a training plan.
One of the main advantages of having a solid plan to guide you is its physical benefits. A good training schedule allows you to get through a variety of workout sessions each week.
As a result, you focus more on the aspects you’ll need come race day. Of course, the most important is your cardiovascular health. Once you boost your heart health, everything improves, like blood flow, endurance, as well as workout efficiency.
Reduces Risk of Injuries
At the same time, the weekly plan is designed to increase gradually. As a result, you reduce your risk of injuries or overtraining.
For example, as you might have noticed, our training plan has rest days as well as short-run days. This helps with one specific thing: it gives your body time to heal from the quality training you did a day or two before.
If you don’t get the proper rest, you increase your chances of injuries during training or worse, on the day of the race. So, take it one day at a time and follow the plan to get results with minimal injuries.
Releases Feel-Good Hormones
After about 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity, your brain triggers the release of ‘feel good’ hormones, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals surge through your bloodstream and make you feel happy.
So, even when you’re hot and sweaty, you’re enjoying yourself and having a great time. Some experts have gone so far as to refer to this phenomenon as ‘runner’s high.’
One group of hormones, in particular, endorphins, play a considerable role in dulling your perception of pain. In fact, it’s believed to have a similar, if not more potent, effect as morphine, which explains why we don’t feel the pain of running until much later.
Final Thoughts On How to Prepare for a Half Marathon in 9 Weeks
Knowing how to prepare for a half marathon in 9 weeks is one of the best ways to plan right to meet your target. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. Yet, if your heart’s in it, those aches and pains will be badges of honor.
Remember to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Also, don’t over-train. You’ll only end up injuring yourself and throw your training schedule off.
However, if something does happen and you can’t continue, take the time you need to recover. There’s always another race just around the corner!