There are SO MANY legit reasons to run a half marathon!!
Half marathons are quite awesome, and they are definitely my distance of choice. You can reasonably train for a half marathon in just 12 weeks, they don’t take up too much of your personal time, and you still can gain some major bragging rights!
Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
Health Reasons to Run a Half Marathon
The most obvious category of reasons to run a half marathon starts with the fact that running a half marathon improves your health.
You will improve your cardio fitness
There’s no denying this benefit. By training for and running a half marathon, you are sure to get your prescribed dose of cardiovascular exercise. You’re also likely to stretch your fitness further if you are trying to improve your personal best time, increasing your cardio fitness further.
You will build a running habit
Training for a half marathon requires consistency in your training. You can’t just run once or twice and then take a full week off. By running 3-5 times per week as called for by your training plan, you will build the consistent habit of running on a regular basis.
For me when I’m following a training plan, I’m more likely to stick to my workout schedule. If I’m not training for a race, I’m more likely to skip a run here or there because there’s no impact of me missing a run. However, if I miss a run while I’m half marathon training, it could jeopardize my goals. That keeps me motivated to do each and every workout.
You might slim down
Notice I said MIGHT!
Training for a half marathon, you’re going to burn more calories than normal. However, you just have to make sure to fuel up on quality foods when you get hungry–not reach for the nearest Snickers bar or Cheese-Its. Fuel up with healthy, clean foods and you’re sure to drop a few inches off your waist as you add miles to your week.
Injury is less likely while training for a half as compared to a full marathon
A half marathon is half the miles, half the training, and—half the injuries. Ok, I don’t actually have any statistics to back up that last part, BUT you get my point. Since there is less stress on your body, you are less likely to get injured when compared to trying to train for a full marathon.
A half marathon is a great way to push yourself if you can already run 5k’s and 10k’s comfortably
Do you already have several 5k’s and maybe even a few 10k’s under your belt? Then it’s time to stretch yourself to a new challenge and tackle the half marathon distance. Sure, it’s more than double the distance of the 10k, but you’ll double your benefits as well!
There’s still room for improvement
A half marathon isn’t the be-all end-all holy grail of running. It sure is a challenge and a HUGE accomplishment, but there’s still room for improvement afterwards if you want to push yourself further and try the full marathon.
You can make major gains in your finish time and shave MINUTES off your personal record (PR)
From my first half marathon to my second half marathon, I shaved 11 minutes and 30 seconds off my time. 11 FULL MINUTES! That’s huge, compared to a 5k where you might only shave 10-20 seconds off your PR on each serious attempt. Over 13.1 miles, just a 10 second per mile increase in pace results in 2 minutes shaved off your personal record.
Small gains really do add up.
Life Reasons to Run a Half Marathon
Running a half marathon can really improve your life in a positive way, which is why I’m such a huge advocate for this specific distance.
You will get a focused 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.
You will gain confidence and self-esteem when you accomplish your half marathon goal
Finishing my first half marathon was the moment I realized: If I can finish a half marathon (something I thought was crazy and impossible for a person like me), 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 the previous “barriers” in your life are now nothing compared to your willpower and dedication to a goal. If you can run a distance you never thought possible, what else can you do??
Half marathon training is a great source of free mental therapy
When I say I run to burn off the crazy, I really mean it. Running on a consistent basis is the free mental therapy I need to function on every day and keep from strangling my coworkers.
Training is a fantastic excuse to spend some time alone
Need to get out of the house, away from the kids, and have a great excuse for some “me” time where you can’t be interrupted? Here it is!
You will experience a new found magical source of energy
If you can run a half marathon, the rest of life seems comparatively very easy! Think about it–once you can find the energy to run 13.1 miles, all of the sudden carrying in groceries from the car or walking across the parking lot seems way easier.
A half marathon is a challenging—yet achievable—goal
13.1 miles really is a challenge that deserves full respect. It’s not easy to do and it takes a dedicated training cycle, plus some serious mental will to complete. Yet, it can still be done on a realistic schedule without zapping ALL of your free time.
Social Reasons to Run a Half Marathon
Running a half marathon can be the perfect outlet for making lifelong friends and becoming part of a great community!
The running community is awesome and super supportive
The running community really is awesome and you will meet a bunch of runners when running a half marathon! I struck up a conversation with the woman I sat next to on the bus up to the start of my first half marathon, and she was super friendly. You never know what kind of cool people you will meet, but you can almost guarantee that they will be supportive and friendly.
You can support a cause
Most races out there support some kind of non-profit, and half marathons are no exception! Typically, a good portion of your race entry goes towards the sponsored cause after race expenses are paid. I consider my racing habit to be a great thing because not only am I staying accountable to my own health, I’m consistently donating money to organizations with a purpose!
Also, many races offer the option to raise additional money in support of the cause. You can use your training as a tool to gain attention AND donations for that organization.
There are TONS of races to choose from
There are SO MANY races to choose from. In 2017, there were 1,894 half marathons held, according to RunSignup.
The current study doesn’t have the total number of races for 2018, but the increase in number of participants suggests that this number could be over 2,000 races. There’s only 365 days in a year, so that means there’s an average of 5.5 half marathons held on any given day!
Goofy Reasons to Run a Half Marathon
And of course, there’s the REAL reasons that people choose to run a half marathon…
You have an excuse to travel to new destinations
I LOVE traveling to new destinations to run a half marathon. Actually, this year I’m starting my long-term goal to run a half marathon in every state. The speed at which I accomplish this will be dependent on the funds I have available for travel, but I already have 3 and possibly 1 more on the schedule to complete within the next year! If you need a good reason to get some travel exposure and get out of town for a long weekend, what better reason than to go there for a half marathon?
You can justify carb-loading and celebratory drinks—without taking a full week before you can walk normal again
The average person will burn anywhere from 1300 to 1800 calories during a half marathon, which easily justifies some carb-loading beforehand and some guilt-free celebratory drinks afterwards. Yet, you can still walk after taking just a few recovery days off. A full marathon? Well, that’s a different story…
To say you did it
This is one of those major bragging rights!
How many people do you know in your day-to-day life that can say they have run a half marathon? Probably less than a few. 13.1 miles is a challenging distance and not for the faint of heart. Simply being able to say you ran that far might be enough for some.
Because your wife is doing it
This is my husband’s #1 reason for running a half marathon, and it was the first response out of his mouth when I asked him before I wrote this post. I laughed, because it’s true.
There is NO WAY he would run a half marathon willingly on his own account. Yet, he’s already completed 1 with me because I asked him to join me, and he’s scheduled to run the Air Force Half Marathon with me in September…just because it’s more fun to spend time with me on the course than it is to wait in the spectator area for 3-4 hours (including time before the start and after the finish).
They bring out the really NICE shirts for half marathons
Sure, some 5ks and 10ks give out decent shirts, but all of the REALLY NICE shirts I have are from half marathons. I’m talking the comfortable ones that actually fit well and are made of that awesome technical material.
And the high quality finisher medals too!
OH YEAH, do it for the BLING!!
No really, there’s pretty much always a medal at the finish line for a half marathon, and the medals are pretty awesome. If I was going to show off some medals, it would be my half marathon medals.
How to Get Started Training for Your Half Marathon
Woohoo! Now that you know why the half marathon is the best distance, it’s time to start training for your race.
Here are 2 great options to get you started:
- Join my FREE 6-Day Half Marathon Training Kickstart Course. This course will set you up with everything you need to get your training started including a workout tracker, training plan recommendations, and mindset training.
- Enroll in the “12 Weeks to Your First Half Marathon” Course. This is the FULL course where I walk you through your training plan week by week with advice, things I wish I knew, and what to focus on during that phase of your training.
What is your favorite reason to run a half marathon?
- Transitioning from the Half to Full Marathon: 7 Critical Factors for Success
- 6 Smart Hydration Tips for Running in the Summer Heat
- How to Pace Your Half Marathon with 4 Simple Strategies
- Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta Review
- What is a Recovery Week and How it Can Boost Your Running
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 –>