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Article: How to train for your (first) half-marathon?

Comment s’entraîner pour un (premier) semi-marathon ?

How to train for your (first) half-marathon?

The half-marathon is the gateway to the world of endurance running. To prepare well for a half-marathon, especially if it's your first, here are 10 key tips:


  1. Follow a minimum 3-month training plan: plan 3 sessions over a period of 3 to 4 months and include three types of session per week with a recovery session, an interval training (or speed) session and a long session (gradually building up to a maximum of 16-18 kilometres). The key word during these 12 to 16 weeks is regularity.


  1. Train gradually and recover well: to avoid injury, increase the training load very gradually (no more than a 10% increase in mileage from one week to the next) & don't forget to recover well with 1 or 2 days a week of complete rest.


  1. Get to know your effort zones: in general, five intensity zones are defined as a percentage of your MAS (Maximal Aerobic Speed or the speed at which you reach your maximum oxygen consumption VO2 max).

o Zone 1 = fundamental endurance (max. 60% of MAS)

o Zone 2 = moderate intensity (60 to 70% of MAS),

o Zone 3 = medium intensity (70 to 80% of MAS) - marathon pace*.
o Zone 4 = higher intensity (80 to 90% of MAS) - half-marathon pace*.
o Zone 5 = high intensity (90 to 100% of MAS) - 5 & 10 km paces are in this zone, as are interval training.
* For a first half-marathon, it may be a good idea to aim for between the top of zone 3 and the bottom of zone 4 (i.e. 75% to 85% of your MAS).


  1. Run a 10 km race: running a 10 km race at least once before or during preparation for a half marathon is a good way of getting to know each other. It also allows you to discover the conditions of a race (with the waiting at the start, the impatience of runners to be 'let go' which can lead to a very fast first half which generally means a tough 2nd half of the race).


  1. Learn how to hydrate and refuel properly: in the world of endurance, poorly managed hydration and nutrition have only one outcome, which is commonly known as 'the bummer' (or dropping out). Long runs are the ideal sessions for practising proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after each run. Preparing for a half-marathon is also an opportunity to adopt a healthy, balanced diet, if you haven't already done so.


  1. Run in a group from time to time: while it's not always easy to run in a group all the time, doing at least one session a week with one or more friends or in a club is the perfect way to enjoy the conviviality of this individual sport, which is best enjoyed in a group. To borrow a well-known expression: 'runners are nice'.


  1. Don't neglect muscle-strengthening, stretching and balance sessions: this is the second most important tip for avoiding injury, after progressive training and recovery. It's also a key factor in improving running efficiency and making running more enjoyable (and less tiring).


  1. Choose and test the right equipment: if you don't yet have the right shoes and the right running gear (i.e. equipment that provides all the comfort you need for a demanding run), preparing for a half-marathon is an opportunity to make sure, well before the race, that your equipment suits you perfectly.


  1. Add variety to the sessions or sports: vary the training circuits, add a 4th training session on the bike, in the pool or on a rowing machine, all of which help to keep you motivated and avoid monotony.


  1. Take the pressure off in the last week and enjoy the race: the last week should be devoted above all to recovery before D-day, so that you arrive in a good state of freshness for the half-marathon. And on race day, you need to make the most of it too. A race is a bit like a day of celebration, even if you have to put in a fair amount of effort before crossing the finish line.


Enjoy the race and the preparation.


1 comment

Merci pour vos conseils très justes et professionnels.


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