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Common Hurdles That Make Training For And Running A Half Marathon Difficult For New Runners

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By Kim

Signing up for a half marathon can be exhilarating, but it comes with significant challenges.

Many people fully intend to cross the finish line down at Disney or at the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon before they get derailed by a series of challenges and hurdles.


Following are some hurdles that can trip you up in your training — plus some ways to overcome those challenges.


Running A Half Marathon Soon?

You’ve done it! You’ve taken the leap and signed up for your local half marathon — or maybe one of the big races in Disney or Las Vegas.

The registration itself can be an exciting process. Next, you’ll probably put a plan on paper to start training for your first big race.

If you want to accomplish your goal, however, you’ll need to avoid a series of potential roadblocks.

  • Many new runners give up sometime during their training and have a miserable time during their first race.
  • Others follow through and have an accomplishment they’ll remember for a lifetime.

What separates these 2 groups? The ability to overcome the following challenges is a big part of success for those who grab it!


Hurdle #1: Dealing With The Week One Pain

If you’ve been out of the fitness game for awhile, then you’ll likely experience some pain in the early going.

Your muscles will respond to physical exertion after a few days, making it very easy for a new runner to make excuses and skip out on the training.

As long as you understand that this pain is normal and have a plan to keep yourself out on the road for everyday training — you’ll do fine.

It’s acceptable to cut back on your training routine if you’re feeling sore, but skipping days entirely will make it difficult to get in half marathon shape.


Hurdle #2: Distance Plateaus

Training for a half marathon is not much different from going on a diet.

You’ll see some gains in the distance you can run, and your body will respond positively over time.

However, just like those on diets, runners can run into plateaus during the course of training.

The most common distance plateaus come at 4 and 8-mile marks. Many people can easily train to run a 3-mile race, but their bodies will sometimes have difficulty with the next steps.

As you run into distance plateaus, you’ll need to remain patient.

One strategy is to attempt to increase your time rather than your distance. If you’re finding it difficult to get to 5 miles, for instance, then try to run a faster 4-mile training session. This can keep you moving in the right direction and make the training experience a positive one.



Hurdle #3: Negative Thoughts From Friends & Family

Don’t be surprised if you run into negativity from the people you care about.

If you’ve been inactive for awhile, you might hear some disbelief at your recent attempts to train for a race.

Some will question whether it’s even possible for you to run a half marathon. These people will be motivated by their own issues — including jealousy, self-consciousness, and plain meanness.

It’s important to find a community of people who can support your efforts.

If you already happen to know some runners, then this will be easy. If you’re not friends with people who run and train, then find an online community that will support your growth and progress as a runner.


Hurdle #4: Time Constraints

New runners are often people with busy lives. You might have kids, jobs, hobbies, and other obligations.

Training for a half marathon is a long-term time commitment that can take away from those other responsibilities.

It’s easy to make excuses for yourself by blaming your job or significant other for your lack of time commitment.

Just remember, the runners who manage to achieve their goals find time to train — even if it’s less time than they’d like.

You don’t have to put in hours on the road or track each day. You just have to train a little to keep yourself moving forward at all times.


Running a half marathon is an attainable goal for most people.

Even if you’ve been out of the exercise game for a decade, you can still prepare your body for a 13-mile run — as long as you prepare for the challenge and have a plan for the hurdles you will likely face.

As long as you can push through, you’ll be crossing the finish line in no time!


More Tips Before Running A Half Marathon