Okay, there are so many half marathons in the US and around the world that it’s not possible to list which are the absolute best. But “listicles” are a fact of life today and various running sites will make lists of their favorites. Below is a composite of several compiled as “Bucket List” Half Marathons (see 2 links below).
The #1 “half” on my personal list, in terms of convenience, is the one I DESIGN and run with my EARNED RUNS™ bib. The course passes my house and I can train on it every day! #2 on my list is an organized race that also courses past my house; it’s held in September after a summer of snow-free roads! The best one for family fun would be the Princess Half at Disney World held in February. And so on. A “best” list can be assembled by anyone from any perspective: most scenic, biggest, best medal, fastest course, most patriotic, etc.
ARE YOU CONSIDERING CHALLENGING YOURSELF WITH A HALF MARATHON? WHY TALK ABOUT THEM NOW?
1. Some race registrations close within hours of opening due to popularity. This situation requires hopeful participants to coordinate an online assault beforehand with friends or family to get registered ON THAT DAY before the race is sold out. The competition you yearn to enter that’s held in the fall may be closed when you try to register in the spring of that year. Upon learning a half marathon race registration is closed, you may still be able to register for 10K or 5K races that might be part of the event, and “trial” the experience for the next year. Or you may “shop” for another half that doesn’t fill up so quickly.
2. It can take 12 to 20 WEEKS TO TRAIN for a half, even if you are an experienced runner. The less time you have each week to commit to a plan, the longer the schedule will be. For example if you can commit to run 5 days a week (2 off days for cross-training and strength training) a 12 week plan might work; 4 days a week calls for a 16 week plan, and 3 days a week indicates a 20 week plan is best. Most plans will indicate the level of experience required to start. If you are a non-runner beginner you may wish to train initially for a 5K and/or 10K race.
An ORGANIZED HALF WILL OFTEN OFFER A FREE TRAINING PROGRAM. I have followed these and one (“Marathon Training for Busy People”) initially published in Runner’s World in October 2008. I liked it because it scheduled sessions by time, not miles. It’s in an excellent article written by two women who subsequently formed a successful running-related business (Another Mother Runner™), Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. I found it online through Google, but since the company sells plans it might violate their copyright for me to post the URL. As the title says it is officially for a marathon, but week 12 ends with a 13.1mile race!
Hal Higdon has several half marathon training plans mostly requiring that runners have experience covering 10-15 miles per week for several months. He has a plan for walkers too. Training plan phone apps are offered for sale. I have not tried them.
3. Minor strains and pains may require that you back off from a plan for a few weeks, and spend less days of the week running and more days in cross-training activities, strength training, or stretching and foam rolling. Too tight of a schedule may be mentally stressful and turn a fun challenge into an anxious chore.
4. Twelve to 20 weeks of once-weekly long endurance runs, usually scheduled for a Saturday or Sunday, is a significant commitment. If you know your plan early you can avoid or identify conflicts and work around problem days. Most plans can be altered a bit. I run my long runs (most often) on Friday mornings. It’s a stress on family to force a dull Friday or Saturday night meal + early bedtime on them so I can endure a 2-3 hour run on the next day. Other family activities often fall on these weekend days (games, meets, church services, weddings etc) that shouldn’t be missed.
THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF DESTINATION Half Marathons that may motivate you to start looking for one that inspires you or fits your schedule, or to start designing your own with EarnedRuns bibs:
Bermuda Half Marathon; January (bermudaraceweekend.com)
Key West Half Marathon; January (www.keywesthalfmarathon.com)
Princess and Star Wars™ Half Marathons at Disney World; February, April (www.rundisney.com)
LaJolla Half Marathon; April (www.lajollahalfmarathon.com/)
NYRR Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon; May
Indianapolis 500 Festival MiniMarathon: May
Kentucky Derby Festival MiniMarathon (weekend before race in May)
Steamboat (Springs) Half Marathon: June (steamboat-chamber.com)
Napa to Sonoma Wine Country; July (http://destinationraces.com/runn2s/)
Kauai Half Marathon; September (thekauaimarathon.com)
Bar Harbor Half Marathon; September (mdiymca.org)
Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon; September (http://zoomarun.com/capecod/)
Boston Althetic Association Half Marathon; October (www.baa.org/races/half-marathon.aspx)
Rock n Roll Half Marathon Las Vegas; November (runrocknroll.competitor.com)
Links to articles:
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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