Taking the first steps on your half marathon training plan

Taking the first steps on your half marathon training plan


Need to kick-start your training for Run Reigate? Hannah Brookes shares her motivation tips for tackling the miles.

Run Reigate isn’t far away and getting closer by the day. I should be racking up the half marathon training miles on runs by now but my running efforts have been somewhat lackadaisical of late. I love the challenge of a long run and usually find building up my distance week by week to be more satisfying than the race itself. However, I just can’t seem to get in the zone.

In case I’m not alone, here are a few things that have previously helped me get my butt into gear when training for races.

Establish a routine as quickly as you can

To be honest, this is probably what’s been holding me back thus far. As a creature of habit, I find a routine is the best way to keep on track when training. It’s oddly easier to lace up my trainers when I tell myself there’s no choice. Sunday is Long Run Day – no ifs, no buts.

Everyone is different so it’s important to establish a routine that works for you. Personally, I can’t run in the evenings. Once I’m home, I’m done for the day. However, I have no qualms about getting up at 6am and heading out for an early morning jog.

The last time I trained for a big event, I found this routine worked well for me:

  • Mon – rest day
  • Tues – run in the morning before work
  • Wednesday – run home from work (the only acceptable evening run)
  • Thursday – rest day
  • Friday – run in the morning before work
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday – long run

I should probably point out this isn’t an optimal training plan for a person planning to achieve a super-speedy time (some interval training and cross training is required for that). However, I found this was a routine I could stick to and allowed enough flex to fit in non-running activities during the week.

Remember why you’re running in the first place

It’s amazing how motivating a little mental focus can be. When I first got into running, my goal was to run far enough to get a silver foil cape at the end. Forget the medal! I also liked to imagine the feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line –  for someone who isn’t a natural runner (I always came last in cross country at school), that’s more motivating than getting a new personal best.

So why are you running Run Reigate? Whatever the answer, think about that every time you’re tempted to skip a training run. Stick a post-it on your trainers, rename the alarm on your phone or get your best friend to remind you every time you speak to them.

Bonus tip: good views on your training runs can also be very motivating

Bonus tip: good views on your training runs can also be very motivating

Set smaller goals along the way

A half marathon can be a very daunting distance, especially if it’s your first time running a race of that length. If you’re feeling a bit put off, try setting yourself smaller goals along the way. Over the summer, there are loads of 5k and 10k races that you can incorporate into your training plan – Runner’s World has a handy list so you can search for events taking place near you.

If you’ve never taken part in an organised race before, I’d definitely recommend signing up to at least one before Run Reigate. Race day is completely different from a training run, with more people to dodge but crowds of people to cheer you on. A 5k or 10k race will help you overcome any nerves and give you the boost you need to carry on with your training.

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas to get you motivated. What else would you recommend to a runner struggling with their training? Tweet your suggestions via @RunReigate.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah Brookes

#HalfMarathonGoals