Half Marathon Distance: Why you’ll regret not signing up to one this summer
The half marathon distance is one that many fear. If you’re just starting out on your running journey, then those 13.1 miles (or 22.1km) can seem daunting, and it’s certainly a big step up from a 10K. But signing up to a half marathon is one of the best things you could ever do. Take it from me – I ran my first one back in 2016 and, after some health issues, I’m ready to take on my second. That’s right – just once isn’t enough!
So, if you’re considering signing up to a half marathon, then now’s the time to do it. There are tonnes of benefits – both physical and mental – and this summer is the perfect time to cross your first half marathon finish line. Here’s why you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Sense of achievement
What do Serena Williams, Chris Hoy and Usain Bolt have in common? They all know how it feels to win. For most of us, we’ll never reach the heights of those great athletes, but that’s where running events come into their own. Anyone who completes a half marathon is a winner, no matter how long it takes them. Crossing the finish line after months of training is an amazing achievement, and you’ll feel like you can take on anything. Sure, running a half marathon is great for your body, but it’s even better for your self esteem. You begin the race as a runner, but you finish a champion.
Just long enough to be truly epic
13.1 miles might seem like a lot, but it’s far and away to most popular distance on our platform. It’s a tough challenge that brings plenty of rewards, but the training isn’t as demanding or time-consuming as a full marathon, while the end product is more rewarding than a 5km or 10km race. In fact, most healthy people can get there in 3-4 months, and regular runners can get there even quicker. Whether you have a full time job, a busy social life or other hobbies, it’s an attainable goal – and we like those. Plus, you reduce the risk of injuries from overuse. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our half marathon training plan here.
Boosting your fitness
It can be difficult to reach a good level of fitness if you aren’t working towards a goal and it’s far too easy to skip that home workout when there are no consequences. But signing up to a half marathon is a commitment, and a big one at that. You’re making yourself a promise to meet a significant fitness goal. And, when you’re regularly tracking those miles, your fitness will drastically increase. The health benefits of running are vast and you’ll feel an improvement in no time.
There’s nothing better than running under blue skies and glorious sunshine. It’s the only motivation you need. Summer races are great because you’re more likely to have great weather. And, while races in mild temperatures can have its challenges, half marathons always start in the morning so you’ll beat the midday heat. Just remember suncream, a hat and plenty of water if it’s a hot one.
Competitions are much harder when they’re with yourself. Regular runners will know how difficult staying motivated can be when you don’t have goals to achieve. You can find yourself doing the same old 5Ks each week and start to lose your love for running. But, signing up for a half marathon will push you to run harder and longer. You’ll find hidden gems in your local area and will become focussed on crossing that finish line.
The finisher’s medal
There’s no denying it, everyone loves a medal, especially runners. Not only does it make for the perfect post event photo, but it’s a memento that will stay with you for life. It’ll remind you of the struggle you felt at the halfway mark, and the jubilation you felt as you crossed the finish-line. Taking on 13.1 miles is a major undertaking, so it’s always nice to be rewarded with something you can hold at the end.
Sense of community
While running on your own has plenty of benefits, there’s nothing quite like the sense of camaraderie when you run an organised half marathon. Everyone’s in it together and it feels like you’re a part of something special – because you are! And, when motivation gets low, there are plenty of people on the streets cheering you on. You’ll certainly muster up some energy for your final sprint when you see your pals cheering you on and might even meet some fellow runners to train for the next one with or create a running group.
Seeing what you’re capable of
Ever heard of the running bug? Signing up for a half marathon will undoubtedly make you catch it. Those 13.1 miles will help you to see exactly what your mind and body is capable of. If you can run 13.1 miles after 3-4 months of training, it’s likely that you could run a full marathon after a year. Or perhaps you had a bit left in the tank, and could run the next one faster. Whatever happens, signing up for a half marathon will help you understand your running goals and capabilities.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out our half marathons this summer and find the right event for you.