How to Train for a Half Marathon - Gym Work


Now, there’s a question! It really depends on your current level of fitness and how much running you have done prior to your decision to run 13.1 miles, however, for the purposes of this post, we are going to assume that you have a “reasonable” level of running fitness. Most people probably wouldn't decide to make a half marathon their first race and would, in all likelihood, start with a few 5 or 10k races before moving up to the half marathon distance.

So, let’s begin our training schedule based on the premise that you have a few of these 5 and 10k runs under your belt and you are looking to move up to the 13.1 mile distance.

To cover this topic in enough detail, to do it justice, I am going to split it into four seperate posts:

1. Gym Work

2. Long Distance Runs (Including Warm-up Drill)

3. Hill Training (Including Warm-up Drill)

4. Interval/speed Training (Including Warm-up Drill)

Gym Work

Let's take Gym Work as our first topic today as it is an area that a lot of Runners neglect but is so important!

In order to train effectively for a half marathon, or indeed, for any race distance, you need to prepare your body correctly before clocking up too many miles on the road.

When you run, planting your foot down with each stride means that something along the lines of 3-5 times your body weight goes through your foot and up into your body. That means it's really important to spend time in the gym preparing your body for this!

Upper Body

Upper-body exercises are important for running as this area needs to be strong to help maintain good posture as you run. Good posture is important whilst running, especially if you start to get tired towards the end of your run, as it will put less stress on the rest of your body and allow you to take in more oxygen. So, work through this routine:

  • Single Arm Row on Cable Machine/Press Ups 3 x 12 each
  • Upright Row with bar/ Rear Delt Raises with Dumbells 3 x 12 each
  • Standing Shoulder Press with Dumbells/Lateral Raises with Dumbells 3 x 12 each

dumbbell-lateral-raises-1 two-seated-cable-row-300x201 Smith-machine-upright-row-1 - Fitness for You








Lower Body

  • Deadlift with Bar/Lying Hamstring Curls* 3 x12 each
  • Front Squats with Bar/ Swiss Ball Leg Curls 3 x 12 each
  • Seated Leg Extension/Calf Raises 3 x 12/3 x25

*When performing lying hamstring curls, take the pads up with both legs and lower down with just one leg, alternating legs each lowering rep. This is because, in general, most people don't use their hamstrings properly when running so they need to be strengthened individually.

Seated_Machine_Leg_Extensions Front_Squat1Barbell_Deadlift

Core Workout

Core muscles are nearly always forgotten about but, again, they are very important for running. A strong core can help prevent injuries to other areas of the body. These exercises will strengthen your core:

  • Swiss Ball Back Extensions/Ab Curls on the Ball 3 x 12 each
  • Lo-hi Cable Woodchop/Lying Leg Lowers 3 x 12 each
  • Lying Single Leg Hip Raise/Side Plank with Hip Raise 3 x 12 each

Swiss_Ball_Back_Extensions Single_Leg_Glute_Bridge

Begin your training schedule with one visit per week to the gym and make sure you continue with these sessions throughout your training programme. In order to progress your strength gains, you can introduce more challenging exercises as you go through your schedule or simply keep to the same exercises but increase the weights you use. Bear in mind you should aim to increase the weights you use by approx 10% every week.

If you would like a bespoke strength and core programme designed for you, or have any questions about the exercises I have posted here, simply get in touch via email at I would be happy to help you and discuss the best way to move your training forward.

In the next post we will look at how to plan out your distance runs as the next part of your training schedule for your half marathon and also show you a running warm up drill which you should do every single time before you run.

Visit the Body Line Fitness website for more information on the company and to book yourself a session with their trainers!

The Idle Man Fitness e-Book

The Manual

  • Style
  • Life
  • Collective
  • Grooming
  • News
            Summer Wedding Guide

            Summer Wedding Guide

            Feature image credit: He Spoke Style Deciding what to wear to a wedding can be tricky but don't fear as we have pulled together a few looks that'll...

            read more
            Summer Style Guide

            Summer Style Guide

            Are you in need of a little style inspiration? We have handpicked our favourite summer pieces to have you looking your very best on every occasion.

            read more