As Jeff Galloway, a 1972 Olympian and popular marathon coach so eloquently put it, “the half-marathon gives you almost all of the satisfaction and achievement of the marathon and far less than half of the aches and pains and fatigue.”
It’s the chance to complete an incredibly adrenalizing race, without having to tolerate many of the sacrifices involved with dedicating yourself to a full 26.2 miles.
The half marathon has consistently been the fastest growing standard race distance in the U.S. since 2006, according to Running USA. In 2015, the 5K maintained the No. 1 position of all race distances with 7.6 million finishers, claiming 45 percent of all finishers in the U.S., while the half-marathon again held the No. 2 position with approximately 12 percent of the finishers. Between 2006 and 2012, “the number of 13.1 mile finishers grew a noteworthy 10 percent or more each year,” a 2014 report notes.
There are many reasons people should consider the challenge of completing a half marathon – it’s a totally manageable distance; you’re training for a full marathon; the choices are endless; the recovery process is faster; the injury risk is smaller; and it’s a lot of fun.
Are you finally starting to train for your first marathon? It is a good idea that you make your first race a half-marathon.