If you’re like most, then the idea of running a half marathon might seem foreign to you. Sitting on the couch and struggling to run a mile, the idea of running just more than 13 is overwhelming. Still, people do it every day, pulling themselves from the couch in an effort to get back in shape. The journey from the couch to a half marathon might seem challenging, but it’s attainable for almost everyone who doesn’t have a major health problem. You probably won’t be challenging the world’s best runners at the Boston Marathon anytime soon, but by following a plan, you might just cross the finish line having finished the half marathon at some great place like Disney and transform your body into a running machine.
Buy the right gear and accessories to make yourself comfortable
Running can seem like a chore, but there are some things that make it much easier. You don’t need to be decked out in thousands of dollars of fancy equipment to run, but adding a few items to your repertoire can make life easier. Music, for instance, can help you pass the time while you’re putting miles on your shoes. Get a good iPhone holder for your arm so that listening becomes easier. No runner likes a phone flopping around in her pocket while running. A comfortable pair of shoes will also help. Few things are more defeating than losing your routine because of shoe-related pain in your feet or lower back.
Alternate walking and jogging
When some people start to run, they think that stopping is cheating. They believe, quite wrongly, that every person who runs a marathon or half marathon keeps chugging all the way through. Many people make it through a combination of running and walking. When you first begin your training, alternate these things. You might run for a half mile before walking for another half mile. This gets you out on the road and used to the distance and time you’ll spend on a serious run. Over time, you can build up more time jogging with less time walking.
Choose the right environment for your training
Not every person likes to run on a treadmill. Some people hate doing laps on a track. Others live in a place like Houston or New Orleans where it’s almost impossible to run outside during the summer months. It’s critical to be realistic about your training plan. Choose the running medium that works best for you. In order to build from the couch to a half marathon, you’ll need to put in many days of work. Without the right environment, you’ll have built-in excuses to keep you from doing a day or week of training during those times when it gets hard.
Taking things slow with a six-month plan
If you want to really go from the couch to running a half marathon, you’ll need to keep your expectations in check. The body is capable of building to a serious distance run, but this doesn’t happen overnight. You won’t be able to add a mile of distance every week to your run. Plan on building your endurance over the course of six months. Start off slow, running and walking a couple miles five or six days every week. When this becomes more comfortable, add a half mile to your routine every week. It’s critical to put worries over time out of your head. As your body becomes more comfortable, you’ll be able to go faster, and to run for longer distances, which will improve your time. Focus more on finishing your target distance every time you go out. If you can do this while keeping your expectations in check, you’ll have an opportunity to succeed.
Going from the couch to a half marathon is noble, but it will be difficult. Many people have done it, and at the end, they’ve found that the mental rewards are worth the work. Just be realistic about your goals, outfit yourself with the right gear, and choose the environment in which you’re most comfortable. If you do these things, you’ll be more likely to sustain the long-term running plan that’s required to transform your body into a running machine.