You will have likely ran a 5k and 10k, now you think you’re ready for a half marathon. A half marathon can be a great challenge to test your body, with the most daunting fear being the jump in distance and time spent undertaking the task.

Running and training for a half marathon is a great distance, as it is long enough to feel challenged, but not so long that it will completely consume your life. When training for a half marathon, we have our top 5 tips that can help you prepare for the jump.

1 – Build the best foundations

The biggest mistake those new runners make when training for a half marathon is thinking that a 12 or 14 week plan will take you straight from your couch to completing your first half. All plans for half and full marathons are built on the assumption that the person has a good foundation as a runner.

To undertake a training plan of around 12 to 14 weeks, make sure that you can steadily run 5 miles at a time at least. Anything less than running 15-20 miles per week will overwhelm your body ability to acclimatise to running longer distances.

2 – Find the right plan for you

Not one plan is perfect for everybody, it may be a case of picking a plan that you can adapt around your schedule or level of running expertise. Picking a longer plan will help to build up your confidence and ability to complete the half marathon in a good time. Extra weeks of training will allow some room to recover and build stamina.

If you are planning for your first half marathon, the ideal time for training is 10 to 12 weeks of planning and strict training. Not only do plans vary in the distance, but the content will also differ – including the weekly mileage and the number of times you run a week.

3 – Quality over quantity

Running a tonne of miles each week is one way to prepare for a half marathon, but with each mile, it will increase your chance of injury. Aim to mix up the tempo of your runs, varying the difficulty and distance. Start by beginning and ending your run with a 1-mile warm up and cool down pace, which can be done at around 30 seconds off your normal pace – this will help to increase your VO2 max.

4 – Train with a group

Whether you have a coach or not, having a partner always helps to boost workouts and runs. Likewise training in a group can make all the difference in the world by improving your runs, on those early mornings or dark evenings after a long day at work, being held responsible by a partner or group of runners can help provide that extra impotence to getting out there and clocking up the miles.

5 – Research your race and the terrain

Knowing things such as where the hills are and where the water stops will be located will help you get ready for the race. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t consume a sports drink or gel that you have never tried during a race. Find out who the drinks provider will be and utilise them on current runs – or take your own.

In checking out the elevation map and the terrain you will experience, you can pinpoint any hills to mentally and physically prepare your run. Many races nowadays will incorporate hills and cross overs – be sure to check out any obstacles and elevations before running.