How to Train for Your First Half-Marathon

A training program and great running shoes are key.

Posted: 03/27/2014 01:01 PM EDT
How to Train for Your First Half-Marathon

At about mile 11 during the D.C. Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon earlier this month, Manoucheka Attime was hit by a wave of exhaustion. She remembers thinking, “I can’t let 11 miles go to waste.”

So the running novice pushed through and finished her first half-marathon, something that once seemed unfathomable. Attime signed up for the race last November because she was looking for a way to be healthy.

She considered yoga or boot camp, but wasn’t sure she’d stick with either activity. Like many Americans, she had never been consistently physically active. Doing a triathlon someday is on her bucket list, however, so when she decided on running the half-marathon, she didn’t let the fact that she’d never even run a 5k deter her. She trained, she ran and now the running bug has her.

Attime has these tips for other newbies:

—Sign up for a training program. “I was in a program called Couch to 5k, which is for people who are sedentary,” she says. It taught her how to build up stamina by teaching the walk/run ratio—walk for a while, run for 90 seconds, then go back to walking. This is exactly what beginning runners should do, according to the experts, who suggest running for 5 to 10 seconds of every minute, and then walking the rest of the minute. Eventually the ratio will shift and you’ll run for longer periods.

—Start training early. “You probably need more time than you think you do,” Attime says. Her four-month training schedule was shortened even more by a car accident in January. It sidelined her for three weeks.

—Have the right gear. “Get good training gear. Get the right attire. Get great sneakers,” she says. "It makes all the difference."

Read more about training for your first marathon at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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(Photo: Wendy Hope/Getty Images)

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