How to Train for a Half Marathon in Two Months
How to Train for a Half Marathon in Two Months
The half marathon is a fantastic distance to run as just about anyone can run 21km or 13.1 miles if you train properly, but it is still an incredible accomplishment to reach the finish line.
With the proper amount of training and a sensible, structured half marathon training schedule, it is a fantastic goal to shoot for.
Before we jump into what it takes to train for a half marathon in 8 weeks, we should probably ask whether or not it is possible…
...and more importantly, is it sensible to train for and run a half marathon in two months.
Is it possible to train for a half marathon in 2 months?
The short answer is, it depends. There are a number of factors to take into account when wanting to train for a half marathon in a short amount of time.
The most important factor to look at is your running history. Are you an out and out newbie to running or do you come from a running background?
If you’re brand new to the sport of running and are starting out from scratch, then any running coach will tell you it’s probably more sensible to push the goal out slightly. That will allow your body to adapt to the increased training load so that you avoid any overuse injuries.
12 weeks is probably a better amount of time to train for a half marathon so if you do have more time, you’d be better served to follow one of our 12 week Half Marathon training programs.
If 8 weeks is all you have, then you need to make do with what you've got. When training for a half marathon in two months, many runners think getting as much mileage under your belt is the most important thing. That is not the case.
Consistency is THE most important thing to focus on over the 2 months leading up to the half marathon.
The key to successfully training for and running a half marathon in 8 weeks is to remain injury-free. In order to do that, here are a few things to focus on…
Training for a half marathon in two months
There are a handful of things you need to do if you're planning on running a half marathon in 2 months. Here’s a quick list of the important areas to keep an eye on in your half marathon training schedule (If you need a half marathon training plan, you can grab one by clicking here) and we'll go into more depth below:
- Build up slowly
- Run your easy runs very easy
- Structure your weekly training
- Be consistent
- Listen to your body
Build up slowly
Patience is vital. Don’t start your training by going too hard for too long as you may end up injured.
Start slow and build up your training so that you give your body and muscles time to adjust to the extra exercise.
The rule of thumb is no more than a 10% increase to the total time run or the number of miles per week. For example, if in week 1 you run 10 miles or 16km, then only increase it to 11 miles or 18km in week 2.
Run your easy runs VERY easy
The pace at which you run your training runs at is also important. Most good training half marathon programs will have pacing instructions for you to follow.
Most runners make the mistake running their easy runs too hard and because of that, they aren't able to run their hard runs hard enough. Don't fall into the 'no pain no gain trap' and think that if you don't feel shattered after every run, then they're not training hard enough.
An easy way to gauge that you're running easy enough is what I like to call the talk test. If you aren't able to have a robust conversation while running then you're not running easy enough.
Structuring your weekly training
The first thing you need to realise is you don't need to (and shouldn't) run every day. Running 4 times a week is more than enough.
As mentioned before, the mistake a lot of runners make is running too many of their training sessions too hard. The temptation when structuring your weekly half marathon training is to include hill repeats, tempo runs and interval training.
If you don't come from a running background, you don't need them in your training (for now). You need to build a solid base of training and that will include easy runs, long runs and recovery runs.
PRO TIP: It's also important to not keep building mileage week after week. Just like you need rest days during the week, recovery weeks are also important to include in your 2 month half marathon training plan.
Speaking of recovery, it is vital to include it in your half marathon training schedule. Running 4 days a week means that there will only be two days where you have back to back runs.
If you feel like you should be training more then feel free to add in some cross-training.
Cycling and swimming are great additions to a half marathon training plan. They will help build your fitness but aren't as taxing on the body as running is. If you are adding additional sessions, make sure you take at least one full day per week off from training totally.
Strength training is also a great addition to a half marathon training program...
Do you want to shave 10 minutes off your marathon PB?
You can run faster with our FREE running strength training programme that you can do once a week, at home and with no expensive gym equipment needed.
Included in the programme:
Detailed descriptions of each exercise so you know how to do them
Number of repetitions for each exercise so that you avoid overtraining & injury
Short videos showing you EXACTLY what to do (Number 6 will turn you into the "Marathon Slayer" so that you don't hit the wall and implode later in the race)
You should do at least one long run for about 2-2:30 hours with a recovery run the following day for about 45 minutes. Most runners go for their long runs on the weekend because they have more free time then.
Hill repeats and interval training are important for building up your speed and strength so make sure you have one day a week where you do one or the other.
Then on the one day left in your weekly training schedule, you should either do an easy or a long run at a slowish pace for about 1-1:30 hours. These runs should feel quite easy, result in a light sweat and feel like you could have run for much longer.
You need to follow a structured training programme or create a weekly training schedule for yourself so that you know exactly what to do each week.
A good place to start is to designate 4 days a week for training. That way you can have a rest day in between most of your runs except for one. With the two days placed together, you can do a long run on one day and then a recovery run on the following day.
So if you’re training on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, do a long run on Sunday and a recovery run at an easy pace on Monday.
Following a structured training programme can help you stay organised and make sure you reach your goal - if you follow it consistently.
Listen to your body
If you start to feel any pain or muscle tightness, make sure you take some time to recover before running again. You don’t want to exacerbate any small niggles and turn them into bigger problems than they are.
It's better to arrive on the start line slightly undertrained and injury-free than nursing an injury.
In the two weeks leading up to your half marathon, you need to taper so that your body feels fresh and ready to go on race day.
Tapering means that you are cutting back on the volume of training in order to freshen and sharpen up for race day so that you are able to cope with your planned race pace.
Two weeks before race day make sure you taper your long run down to about 1 and a half hours and then during the week before your race, only go on easy runs on your training days for about 30 minutes. Again, a well structured half marathon training plan will have the taper baked into your training.
This will make sure your muscles are in great shape and ready to run those 21 kilometres.
What are you training for?
Simply click on any of the images below to access our running training programmes.