So, you want to run a half marathon. First of all, congratulations. Whether it’s your first or 50th—and you should be proud of yourself for making a commitment to show up and put in the work. Maybe you’re a newer runner looking to do something you never thought you could, or maybe you’re leveling up from a 5K, 10K, or preparing yourself to conquer a marathon. Whatever your situation, you can trust that you’re in good hands and that we’re here to get you to the finish line.

1. Pick a race and sign up

Setting the date makes your goal of running a half marathon more concrete and something you will be more motivated to work toward. With the attitude of “I’ll run it when I feel ready”, you’ll likely never feel ready. If there is a particular race you want to do, great. Sign up before you change your mind! No specific race you’re interested in? Search for some around the date or month you want to reach your goal. Ask friends and others in your running community for suggestions.

2. Get your hands on the right training plan

Need help getting started? Check out the premium training plans in the ASICS Runkeeper app. The plans take all the guesswork out of training so you can focus on running. You’ll choose your race distance, input your race date, and then answer some questions about your preferences. How many days a week are you able to train? What is your goal race time, if you have one? Each plan is built to fit the training requirement of your race distance, and we’re always updating them based on feedback from our coaches and runners like you.

3. Find your tunes

You’re going to be running for approximately two hours (maybe a little more) by the end of your training. Good music to take your mind off of how you may be feeling during the race is essential. Make sure your playlist is upbeat and long enough for your run. If you have wireless headphones, make sure they are charged for your race so you don’t lose power.

4: Manage your expectations —training is hard work! 

It’s common for runners to go into training bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but training isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s rewarding and exciting, but still, it requires serious effort! There will be plenty of ups and downs—you’ll have days where your run doesn’t go as planned, you don’t want to run, or you miss a scheduled run because something unexpected comes up. The key to making it through your training is to manage your expectations.

You’re going to have days where running is a breeze and you’re going to have days where you don’t. Everyone has these days. The best part about running is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

5. Celebrate your successes

Even the little ones. Did you cut 30 seconds off of your five-mile training run? Awesome! Way to go! You were able to run a whole three miles without stopping? Go you! Do you manage to get up early three days this week to run? Fantastic! You ran a new route that was really hilly and you didn’t give up? That’s what it’s all about! Look for a positive in every run, even if you feel like it doesn’t deserve it. Every run is one step (and day) closer to your big moment.