What is a half marathon?
A half marathon is what it says on the tin, half a marathon. It’s classed as a long-distance event, lasting a respectable 13.2 miles. A worthy challenge for any runner who is experienced in 5K and 10K runs, or even for the runner who lacks motivation and needs a purpose to fuel a structured training routine.
Why is a half marathon a month a good idea?
If you’re like me, you might sometimes struggle with motivation and willpower. Yes, we all know that running is an incredibly beneficial sport.
It keeps you fit, healthy, happy, alert, and active, to name a few benefits. Running can make you live longer, feel more adventurous, keep you social, and present some life-changing opportunities. How couldn’t you go running every day? However, you and I both know it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Often, we lack a reason for running, don’t have a routine, or have no goal to work towards. Therefore, we only run when we “feel like it.” There’s no urgency and running often gets pushed to the back-burner of your priorities.
A half marathon is a fixed target to work towards
A half marathon a month is an excellent idea because it gives you a tangible, realistic, and measurable target to strive towards. Consequently, you’re more likely to be motivated and stick with it and less likely to procrastinate.
Enjoy the life-changing benefits of a half marathon a month
A half marathon a month means you dramatically increase the amount you train, meaning you access the benefits running can give. The distance is realistic; it’s challenging enough to keep you fit and active during training, but not as long as a marathon which would be a little more extreme for most people.
Running one of these events monthly ensures you’re more likely to establish running as a part of your life routine. A wise choice!
How do you do it?
Book the half marathons in advance
The golden rule, by a clear mile, is to book the events in advance. That way, you will either must do the half marathon or waste the hard-earned money you paid booking it in the first place.
When you pay for something, you give money in exchange for some value. You expect some benefit to you if you’ve parted with money in your possession. It’s as simple as that.
You don’t value what you don’t pay for
Some people say this approach doesn’t work. However, I’m a strong believer in the saying: “You don’t value what you don’t pay for.”
Don’t believe me? People associate paying for things, with getting value. Ever gone to an all you can eat buffet then shovelled in every mouthful you could to get your money’s worth? Ever paid for a book and been overly motivated to read the whole thing, because you paid for it?
Booking half marathons in advance means you’re more likely to seek a return of value. In this case, the value is participating in a professionally organised 13.1-mile race. Book your half marathons in advance and you will be 10 times more likely to do them. I guarantee it.
More ideas relating running to money
If you like the idea of linking money to running, read the blog post on ‘Why an Investment Mindset is Key for Running Success.’
Have a distinct reason why
Often, we don’t do things in life when there is no reason to do them. It’s as simple as that.
Ever been told to do some chores by your parents, to do a mundane task at work, or to “be more chilled” by your partner for no apparent reason? It’s not very compelling, is it?
When you were told to do these things, I bet you felt tempted to – or even did – disobey. Why should anyone just tell you what to do, right? There has to a be a reason for people to do something! 5 half marathons in 5 months will require a reason.
If you want to run 5 half marathons in 5 months, you’ll need to have a distinct and clear reason why to motivate and push you through the training and to convince you to book and attend each event.
It’s all about having the rights reasons
My reasons were that I was unmotivated, uninspired and was neglecting to exercise. In turn, I felt unfulfilled, not passionate, and tired and groggy through a lack of physical movement. Enough was enough.
I booked 5 half marathons and told myself: I MUST do them, I MUST train, and I MUST make running part of my life routine. I was consistent in my training and completed the 5 half marathons just like I said I would.
The reason I didn’t have huge problems was that I knew WHY I was training and running the half marathons. No guessing or questioning; I knew exactly what I was doing. Having a clear ‘why’ is the difference between success and failure for 5 half marathons in 5 months.
Participate in a weekly community event, like parkrun
Committing yourself to a weekly community event, like parkrun, is a good idea for half marathon training. Getting involved with a community running event means you’re more likely to keep up with training. You’re likely to make new friends and start attending on additional social grounds, rather just purely for training.
Additionally, there’s extra pressure to attend every week so come across as committed to the group and their weekly run.
Weekly faster runs, like parkrun, are good for half marathon training
Though it’s only 5K (3.1 miles), the run is usually fast-paced and will help condition your body for longer running.
Ideally, you want to be in a position – on race day – where you’re strong enough, quick enough and well-conditioned enough, to run the event comfortably.
Mixing up your routine with faster runs means developing speed and strength, so you’re more durable and readier for race day.
Telling people you want to run 5 half marathons in 5 months, is a powerful way to ensure you actually complete your goal. Once you’ve told friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances, social pressure will now be applied to your relationships.
If there’s one thing people don’t like, it’s coming across as a liar or disingenuous. They don’t like being all talk, and no action.
Think of a time someone told you they would lose weight, then you saw them 10 minutes later shoving a doughnut in their mouth? What about when someone said they’ve quit smoking but say “one won’t hurt!” on a night out? Actions are not consistent with words, and you end up incredibly confused.
We all do it from time to time, nobody is a saint. However, it is not something we as humans aspire to. Nobody wants to be all talk and no action. It’s not a good way to be looked upon. Telling people, you plan to run 5 in a month, means extra motivation to come across as genuine and truthful. You will aim to make your actions consistent with your words!
Public commitment also means being regularly reminded of your 5 half marathons in 5 months goal
Not only will you be more inclined to live up to the publicly made statement, you will also be reminded of your goal on a regular basis.
People may politely question you during the conversation: “How’s the half marathon training going?”
If your answer is anything other than “great, I’m training hard and I’m really committed to it!”, at least you will be reminded you need to train, and that you made a public commitment.
Publicly commit to running 5 half marathons in 5 months. It’s a powerful motivator.
Run for charity
If you’re someone that might be tempted to quit, or will severely struggle with motivation, it’s a good idea to run charities. Find and book half marathon events with a charity entry option. Pick a charity and publicly commit to raising a certain figure for the charity, let’s say £100.
What charities should I race for?
There are hundreds of charities you could run for! Teenage Cancer Trust, Scope, The National Autistic Society, Macmillan, and Parkinson’s UK, are all great examples of charities you could represent and raise some money for.
If you don’t train and complete the race, you’re letting others down
Failure to train or worse, to complete the race itself, means you will be letting the charity down. This means the charity will not have the pledged financial and social support, to help with their mission of making the world a better place.
Associating yourself with charity ups the stakes dramatically. Not only will you be letting yourself down, you will be letting the charity and those they work with down.
Running for a charity is a powerful motivator to stick to half marathon training. Even when you don’t feel like it! Book yourself into 5 charity marathons, each with a manageable fundraising target. Not only will you be more likely to achieve the feat, you will be making a positive impact in the world!