How to Run a Half Marathon

Have you ever wanted to take on a huge physical challenge but thought it was practically impossible? Have you ever wanted to conquer the hills of Sheffield but not known how to approach them? Have you got a half marathon on your bucket list but no idea how to even start training? If this sounds like you, then we’re here to help with some training tips for beginners wanting to run the Yorkshire Half Marathon this April!

For the second time, Sheffield Futures staff, volunteers and supporters will be undertaking the lengthy, hilly Yorkshire Half Marathon and we’re not all in peak physical condition (naming no names!) so, perhaps just like you, we’ll be following these tips!

If you’d like to join our running team and help raise funds for our charity, then get in touch at [email protected] We can even pay your joining fee, provide you with your very own Sheffield Futures running kit and help you with your fundraising!

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Training Tips On How to Run a Half Marathon for Beginners


Fantastically, if your long runs are just 5 kilometres long, you’re already on your way to training for a half marathon! While a half marathon may be 13.1 miles, more or less 4 times further than the 5 kilometres you can currently do, it’s definitely doable with training, confidence, persistence and pacing!

The Yorkshire Half Marathon is now ten weeks away, so take it one week at a time and you’ll be fine!


  1. Work out what your base is:

If you can already run 5k or even 10k, you’re in a great place to start! You’ll want to run at least 3 times a week, which thankfully won’t take over your life! Aim for 15 – 20 miles a week, but on your longer runs don’t aim to go as fast as on the shorter ones. Week day runs could be 30 minutes each, whereas your weekend run could be your longer one, aiming for at least 5 miles. It’s important to remember that you can take walking breaks too, depending on what your base level is.


  1. Pick a plan:

A quick google will provide you with many different training plans, ranging from 10 weeks to 16 weeks, from beginner to expert level. Pick the right one for you, established on your base level. If your plan suggests running every day but you know, deep down, you won’t do that, then it’s not right for you. Find a plan that matches your fitness. If the first run asks for 10 miles but your longest is 8, keep looking!


  1. Get a good playlist!

The right playlist is key! High tempo, up-beat songs will really help you and you can even get songs that match your exact running speed. If you’re putting together a list of songs, imagine yourself running as you listen. You’ll soon see if the pace of the song is faster, slower or just right for your own running pace. Once you’ve found the right one you can even search for more songs with the same beats per minute and create the entire playlist just for you!


  1. Quality over quantity

Your training plan will ask you to do both shorter and longer runs, so when you’re on a long one, make sure to focus on the quality of it. This will be similar to the actual race, so you need to make sure you’re fit, prepared and taking it in your stride. Target the long run! If you have to take walking breaks that’s absolutely fine, but try to maintain a steady pace and increase your long run by 1.5 miles each week until you can do 13 miles. A week or two before the race, you’ll want to make sure you can actually run the distance of the half marathon and not struggle.


  1. Research the route

We can’t lie. The Yorkshire Half Marathon is a hilly one! Think of the pride you’ll feel though once you’ve conquered the hill! If possible, try and train on the route. This will allow you to know exactly every turn, hill and curve of the route and you’ll feel more confident on race day. Scope out where the water stations will be along the race and the toilets too. If you’ve bought new shoes too, make sure to train in them long in advance of race day. Sore feet is the last thing you want! You can find the route here.


  1. Take it easy

Remember this tip. You don’t want to burn out too soon during your training. Rest days are just as important as running days! When training, you’ll burn more calories too so make sure to up your carb intake to keep you supplied with energy. When running, make sure to slow down or walk if you need to. You’re training for a half marathon so you’re definitely allowed to take it easy from time to time!


  1. Find your balance

A couple of weeks into your training, you’ll soon discover your own balance. This means when running, taking walking breaks between paces, and during the week. If Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are best for you, stick to that. If a 45 minute run, followed by another 45 minute run and then a 20 minute run is your style, keep it up, adding a mile or so onto each run! This is your run, so do it the way you can want to!


Now it’s time to turn those tips into action! Good luck with your training. Enjoy it and you’ll feel a great sense of achievement when you’re done. A half marathon is something to be proud of, so get in touch and join our running team to help raise funds for the vulnerable young people of Sheffield!


Email [email protected] to register your interest!

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.