Running a half marathon can change your life in many ways. I’ve noticed training for (and completing) half marathons has made me feel pretty bad-ass at life.
There are so many benefits of training for a half marathon that will help you take control of your life, but I’m going to tackle 8 of them.
8 Benefits of Training for a Half Marathon
Whether you’ve been thinking about trying your first half marathon, or you’ve already ran several, you can be confident these benefits of training for a half marathon will help you level up in life.
Training for a half marathon gives you a sense of purpose
Sense of purpose is a huge benefit of training for a half marathon. It’s a big enough goal to organize your efforts and give you something to focus on, but it won’t consume your entire life. You’ll still have time to spend with family and friends or work on your other goals.
If you feel like you’re just going through the motions of life, sometimes you need a central focal point for your efforts.
This really helped me focus the direction of my life after achieving a huge life goal and going through a major transition that involved moving to a new state, entering a completely new job, and overhauling my lifestyle.
Running puts you in a better mood
When I run in the morning, I feel like a rockstar for the rest of the day. Running allows me to clear my head, wash away stress, and gives me that natural endorphin feel-good high to start my day.
Mood boost is one of my favorite benefits that I experience while training for a half marathon, and the results are instant!
When I run in the afternoon, running is that stress relief I need. It’s a release before I go home to spend the evening with my family. It resets my priorities and reminds me how awesome life it. Running also helps provide a stress buffer between work and home, so I don’t take out my frustrations from the day on my husband.
Training for a half marathon improves your health
Okay, so this is the obvious one.
Running is good for your health. But when you’re running with a specific purpose (such as training for a half marathon), you’re more likely to push yourself harder in your workouts. You’re more likely to challenge yourself to run farther than you’ve ever run before. AND you’re more likely to consciously eat healthy to support your tough training rather than “reward” yourself with junk.
For me, following a training plan makes me less likely to skip runs. When I’m not training for a specific race, there’s no impact of me missing a run here or there. However, if I miss a run while half marathon training, it could mean the difference between me hitting my finish goal or not. That keeps me motivated to do each and every workout.
What goals keep me motivated? I’m glad you asked. Check out my 2019 Running and Life Goals post.
Running makes you more productive
I mentioned above that running clears your head. It helps you prioritize and knock out the rest of the tasks in your day.
When I finish a run, I feel accomplished. Then, I just want to keep kicking butt all day. When you do this every day, it can really make a HUGE difference in your productivity over time. Starting my day with a clear head from my run helps me break down my big tasks into smaller ones and take action steps that move me closer to my goals every day.
Oh, and one of those action steps is getting my workout done so I’m closer to completing my next half marathon goal!
Training for a half marathon makes you more confident
When I set the goal to run my first half marathon, it scared the hell out of me. What if I couldn’t do it? I thought I was crazy, completely lost my mind, and everyone else in my life thought the same. When I set the goal, I had run less than half of the distance. What made me think I could do the whole thing??
Related: My Crazy Resolution: How I Did It
SPOILER ALERT: I did complete my first half marathon. And I felt on top of the world. My co-workers admired me just for the dedication of sticking to a training plan and finishing the race distance.
Finishing my first half marathon was the moment I realized: If I can finish a half marathon (something I thought was crazy, probably impossible), then I can really do anything I set my mind to.
This is so freeing, and it skyrockets your confidence when you realize that if you can do anything you set your mind to, all previous “barriers” in your life are now nothing compared to your willpower and dedication.
If you can run a distance you never thought possible, what else can you do??
Training for a half marathon teaches you to use your time efficiently
If you’re just running to be healthy, you can move your runs around or maybe even run less to fit in other commitments. When you’re training for a half marathon, you need to prioritize your running and figure out how to fit those training runs in your busy schedule. If you have a ton of commitments like I do, you find a way to make it all happen.
This forces you to carefully evaluate your schedule and how you spend your time.
All the wasted transition time between activities? Get rid of it. Lounging around being lazy at night in front of the television? Not a priority anymore. Go to bed early so you can feel rested and rise early for your runs.
Find the “fat” in your schedule and cut it out.
You might even find that you have more time than you thought when you remove activities that don’t improve your life!
Running encourages a sense of gratitude
It seems like my deepest thoughts usually happen on my long runs. When I’m out in nature, appreciating a beautiful morning, I reflect on life.
I think about how fortunate I am to have my health, good relationships with my family and friends, live in a beautiful area, and work in a job that I genuinely enjoy and get a sense of fulfillment from.
Honestly, I just think about how awesome life is. And when I think about how awesome life is, I get an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Seriously, I tear up often on my long runs thinking about this. Even when I experience challenges, I’m grateful for my ability to handle them or learn from them.
When I’m focused on gratitude, it puts me in a better frame of mind for life. Instead of focusing on what else I want, the next gadget, the next promotion, always focusing on “my life would be better if I got XYZ,” like most of the population spends their time, I’m happy where I’m at.
Sure, I can still set goals to strive for those things, but I am content to be exactly where I’m at right now. Those things don’t make my life better in the moment, because life is already enough just as it is.
Training for (and completing) a half marathon might give you the courage to tackle another goal
The feeling of accomplishment is intoxicating.
It makes you want to jumpstart the next goal or the next accomplishment. Completing your first half marathon might be just what you need to trigger the start of momentum in your life. Once you start and keep going, it’s easier to just keep going.
After completing my first half marathon, I got the kick in the pants I needed to start working on my Master’s degree. I had been putting it off for a few months and just needed to start taking the small steps of completing one class at a time towards my goal. I also started this blog around the same time.
What goal might you consider if you had the courage? A promotion? Maybe a family goal?
If you’ve ran a half marathon, how did it help you improve your life?
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About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>