Training for a half marathon is very challenging, but whatever your final time ends up being, the process itself will make you healthier and give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
Setting and working toward the goal of completing a half marathon will strengthen your determination, resilience and ability to follow through on goals.
It’s a journey that will teach you a lot about yourself and benefit all areas of your life.
Read on to discover seven great websites with tons of information and tools you need to get started.
Active (Web, iOS & Android, Free)
Active is a treasure trove of resources for every step in your marathon training.
First, find upcoming races and marathons in your area and register for them online.
Then, browse training information and articles on every possible running topic, including half marathons. Articles are conveniently organized by most recent or most popular.
There is also a free Active app for iOS and Android. Its helpful features include the ability to store races and articles as favorites to read later, share them on social media and obtain directions to the races you’re registered for.
Sharing on social media can help you train for a half marathon by keeping you accountable. Who wants to admit in front of hundreds of friends and strangers that they decided not to do the race after all?
You’ll need to create an account to register for races, shop in the store or save favorite articles. In addition to its free, basic account, Active also offers an Active Advantage membership for $1.99 for a one-month trial, then $64.95 per year after that.
The Advantage membership gets you discounts on event registration fees, products in the store and travel savings on hotels, rental cars and campgrounds.
Whether or not Active Advantage would be beneficial to you depends on how much shopping and race registration you plan to do on the site in a year. For example, you’d need to register for at least seven events just to make the yearly membership fee worth it.
Runner’s World (Web, Free with Upgrade Options)
This is the website for the magazine of the same name. As with Active.com, Runner’s World will help you through the entire process of training for and running a marathon.
Unlike Active’s race finder, which automatically populates according to your location, Runner’s World requires you to browse events across the U.S. and Canada, searching by zip code or state. This could be helpful for finding other marathons that you might otherwise not have known about because they were outside your area.
Once you’ve got a goal in sight, browse the wealth of articles on training tips and suggested workouts.
To take further advantage of Runner’s World’s resources, create a free membership. This allows you to use the training log, create a SmartCoach plan, and leave comments in the community forum.
While it’s free to sign up for membership, access to SmartCoach costs $4.99 per month. There is also a premium membership option for the training log, from $19.95 per month to $119 per year.
Other free tools include fitness, pace, and hydration calculators.
MarathonRookie (Web, Free)
Consider this site as headquarters for new marathon runners. You’ll find everything you need to get started, including a calendar of upcoming races in the U.S. and a training guide for half marathons.
While much of the information here can be found on other sites, MarathonRookie.com differentiates itself with an inspiration section.
There are stories from other runners about the events and feelings that drew them to try marathons. There’s also a nice selection of quotes about running, which you can post on your fridge, desk or social media accounts to keep up your motivation.
There’s also a half marathon e-book available for $9.97 with a step-by-step pre-training guide. This could be helpful for someone who wants more guidance throughout the training process.
HalfMarathons (Web, Free)
This site is dedicated entirely to the half marathon. In addition to its many informative resources, there are fun features such as a photos page with pictures taken by runners during their races.
There is also a blog with fun and helpful tips like suggested playlist songs for different distances, and seasonally appropriate information such as how to cope with summer’s heat.
The site also offers a comprehensive calendar of races, with half marathons from all over the world included. Why not plan to run a marathon during a trip to another country?
Jeff Galloway Training (Web, Free with Paid Features)
This site features the wisdom and training approaches of Olympian and longtime trainer Jeff Galloway. It will help you learn to run those 13 miles by teaching you Jeff’s Run Walk Run method and other original approaches to training.
There’s lots of good information about all other aspects of running as well, from which shoes to buy to tips on maintaining good form.
If you want more help and can afford to spend some money on it, you can join a training group in your area. Prices vary based on the length and scope of the training, but most seem to fall between the $100 and $200 mark, although I noticed a few that fell slightly below or above those prices as well.
Hal Higdon (Web, iOS and Android, $9.99)
Hal Higdon is a contributing editor to Runner’s World magazine and this is his training information site.
In addition to training guides for runners at every level from novice to experienced, there are advice articles on all aspects of running, too.
Hal Higdon also offers his own training apps for iOS and Android. The apps cost $9.99 each and you can choose one that corresponds to the kind of race you want to run in and your experience level.
Much of the same information freely available on the site is contained in the app, so while it’s convenient to have the training plan on your phone, you may not find it worth the relatively high price. The nice part about them, though, is that you can track your progress and watch as you get closer to accomplishing your mileage goal.
Men’s Health (Web, Free)
Despite the title of this site, you can find useful information for both genders. Procrastinators in particular will appreciate Men’s Health’s crazy guide to training for a marathon in just four weeks. Keep in mind, this is not the best way to train for a half marathon. But, if you can already run about 7 miles and have four solid weeks to train, it might help you meet your last-minute running goals.
There are lots of other articles on both general and specific aspects of running and exercising as well, including how to get rid of a side stitch, how to run hills ,and articles about the science of running.
With so much information freely available online, there’s nothing between you and your first half marathon besides sheer determination.
Use these sites to get ready and plan a training schedule, and then get out there and start running. Not only will you experience the many health benefits of running, but you’ll likely shed some weight and boost your self-confidence, too.
What other resources do you use to train for half marathons (or full marathons!)? Tell me in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Picography