Training for a half marathon is an admirable, yet common ambition amongst those new to fitness. What that means is there are a lot of people out there who want to help you achieve it.

I’ve taken a look at a few of the half marathon training plans out there and tried to bring some of the best pieces of information together, starting here:


When should you start training for a half marathon?

Overwhelmingly, the advice is to NOT, go from zero to half marathon. Basically, you need to build a running base. If you are interested in the science, London’s Serpentine Running Club has a wonderful introduction that explains the ‘ingredients’ of their marathon running cookbook:


“The principles of marathon training are straightforward. Your body needs to adapt its joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons to withstand the impact of running, to develop a metabolic system which can provide sufficient energy to keep you running for anything from 2 to 6 hours, to develop a cardiovascular system sufficiently powerful to deliver oxygen to muscles over that period, and to build strength and flexibility in muscles sufficient to carry you round….”


Ok, their training plan is for a (whole) marathon, but the principles still apply and it’s really interesting, right? You don’t start learning to read war and peace by jumping straight into it – you start with smaller books first.

Of course, this should not put you off chucking in the sofa habits and setting a big target – but just like how you eat the elephant, take it one bite at a time.

See the next in this series – Set training milestones


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