I love half marathons. Most of the time, anyways. Sometimes I hate them. But after 62 of them, I’ve determined that it’s the race distance that I most love to run. I became a half fanatic back when I ran my 3rd half marathon (HF#182), but I had no idea back then that I’d ever run so many. But now I can’t seem to stop.
- It’s an attainable distance – A half marathon is a long distance run. There’s no getting around that. But MOST runners can work their way up to one and there are many races out there with generous time periods. (Hint: ones that have a marathon on the same course at close to the same time often have the most generous limits.)
- The training doesn’t take over your life – If you are in reasonable shape, you can train for a half marathon with 2 short runs a week and one long run and run a decent race. And your long run doesn’t have to be over 10 if you’ve got a good solid running base. (Hint: if you want to actually run faster, running more or doing speedwork will make a difference, but you can RUN a half marathon without it.)
- Most races have bling and a finish line festival – Yeah, I went there. I’ve never chosen a half marathon based on the bling, but I do have some amazing bling. And you know I love a good beer after a race.
- Far enough to challenge you, physically and mentally – While the half marathon is absolutely attainable, it’s also a fickle beast. It’s long enough that even an experienced half marathoner with a good training cycle behind them can have an awful race. And, on the flip side, it’s short enough that a runner can have an amazing race despite training setbacks. A fickle beast, I tell you.
- It doesn’t hurt as much as a 5k – No, really. 5k races HURT if you are racing them. All that huffing and puffing and feeling like you are going to puke for 3.1 miles? That’s way worse than a steady tempo pace for 13.1.
Bonus: You can run more than 1 or 2 a year and not injure yourself. (Mind you, I’m assuming you train and run smartly. You can injure yourself training for a 5k if you make poor choices or are injury prone.)
I don’t have any more half marathons this year and that makes me kind of sad. I’ve hit Mercury, but I still have a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states. I don’t know if I’ll make it by 50 (only 4 more years, gah!), but I’ll be picking off states whenever I can.
What’s your favorite race distance? Why?
I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for Friday Five. Today’s topic is “Fitness”.
12 thoughts on “5 Reasons Half Marathons are the Perfect Distance”
Same and for all the same reasons.
I agree 100%! Half marathon are absolutely my favorite distance for all the reasons you mentioned. That is almost the only race distance I do these days. Sometimes a 10-mile, but it’s been ages since I’ve done a 5K, or even a 10K. Too painful!
I feel the same way with 10k’s. I’m loving the 10k distance and now they’re becoming very popular and come with bling. I did choose to do the Tinkerbell 10k based on the bling, but it’s also Disneyland. They know how to put on a race.
I love half marathons! Even though I’ve been mostly in marathon training cycles the past few years, I tend to do at least 2 halfs a year because they’re fun and remind me how to race. I’m thinking about dialing back this winter to focus on a half. And wow- you’ve done so many half marathons!
I loved your list. I’ve only run my first half marathon recently but I can see how it can become a favorite distance. The 10k’s I ran before were fun, but I liked the extra challenge of a half. I will hopefully get a feel for my favorite distance once I ran a few more races! 🙂
After running 2 marathons I was extremely happy to be training for a half this time a round!
I wish I could run more half races but I usually end up getting some sort of over training injury. Impressed by your ability to keep it up. Hope we see you for coffee date tomorrow
Yes to all of these! After an almost 2 year hiatus I’m looking forward to getting back to running halfs this fall!
Agree!!! and actually considering doing *only* 1 marathon next year and the rest Halfs. I’m tired of training all the time and I think my body would appreciate it. Half marathons are so great because even though they are challenging they don’t take that long (I’m a front of the back of the pack’er as well). So by the time you finish you don’t feel like you are going to keel over, you can still walk down stairs and beer and fries is totally justified. Half Marathons for the Win!
I like half marathons but I think I like the ten miler distance more! After the marathon, of course 🙂
I love the half marathon too, and for all the reasons you have listed. It is so much easier to train for than a marathon and the long run seems short after marathon training!
I’m so with you on this. After 5 full marathons I really do think I’m done. Probably.