10 Tips for Running a Half-Marathon Over Age 45

This post is sponsored by BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK.

Training for half marathon with Go Gingham
It was all fun and games before the half-marathon!

My husband, Brad, and I just ran a half-marathon – his first, my fourth – together! Running a half-marathon over the age of 45 is different than running when you’re younger. Even though it’s still the same distance – 13.1 miles – when you’re older it seems longer and it feels harder.

These 10 tips for running a half-marathon when you’re older aren’t technical tips like “run 10 miles 3-weeks before the race.” That’s not a bad idea but these tips are more general – and hopefully will inspire you to run your first half-marathon or your first kilometer or mile or 10K! Whatever you’ve always dreamed of running…

10 Tips for Running a Half-Marathon

1.  Start slowly – If you’ve never run before, take it slow. Try jogging around the block or across the parking lot – from your car into a store – and ease your way into it. Feel the proof that slow and steady wins the race – of life. We don’t have to win any races, we just want our jeans to fit!

2.  Increase your mileage – There’s nothing wrong with LSD runs – (long, slow, distance) – and in fact that’s my favorite type of run! Figure out when you need to run a half-marathon and then work back from there. It took us about 4-5 months of slowly building up our mileage to prepare for the race.

Training for half marathon with Go Gingham
The last race we did together circa 1991…

3.  Running is inexpensive – After purchasing shoes, your biggest expense is behind you – or is it below you? Being active, healthy, and fit doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or involve driving to a gym. With a warm-up and stretch, tie those running shoes and you’re out the door. I don’t have fancy gear or hi-tech rain-wear even though it does rain quite a bit. Shorts and t-shirt are all you need!

4.  Find a partner – Everything is more fun with a friend! Consistent exercising – whatever it is – is easier to do if you have a partner or 2 in it with you. Even on days I wanted to skip a run, I knew that Brad wouldn’t let me. On days when he wanted to skip, I wouldn’t let him. Working together towards our common goal kept us going. It also gives us uninterrupted time to talk…

5.  Get registered – Now that you’ve got a running partner, find a race to do and go register! Having a running goal with a date on the calendar helps keep the running in focus and it’s something to look forward to. Running and exercising can get monotonous so make it fun with different workouts, new routines or a new running loop.

Training for half marathon with Go Gingham
Busted! We got caught wearing matching shirts…running in the snow…and yes, I’m a hula hooper!

6.  Eat rightEating healthy foods is important to do every day but especially when embarking on a new exercise routine. Feel good all around with healthy, whole foods + fresh air + exercise. Sign me up!

7.  Refuel – While eating right is important, post-run refueling is key when adding mileage. Because I like to keep things simple, including what I refuel my body with, BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK is just the right balance for me – taste, indulgence (it IS chocolate!), and nutrition. Calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium – it’s got it all and chocolate milk goes down so easily after a run. I always enjoy a glass – or two – after a long run and workout. Still need convincing? Here’s the science behind it.

8.  Rest – Even my friend Pam Anderson, the mom behind ‘Three Many Cooks’ and a fellow runner (find her interview on ‘Secrets of Marathon Chefs on Runner’s World‘) agrees, when you’re putting in more miles and longer runs, you need to rest more and that may include a nap. Listen to your body and rest when you need to. There’s no glory in running every day only to get injured. Getting and staying healthy takes longer as we get older.

9.  Keep the weight off – Most days, I feel like I’m battling with my jeans – so that they’ll button! Regular, consistent exercise feels great mentally but it also keeps my waistline in check. There’s no secret to losing weight or keeping it off after weight loss….it’s eating right and exercising. And, sadly as we age, eating less to stay the same size. Darn it!

Post Run Fun with Go Gingham
Finish line toasts! We were so happy to be done – teens snapped me at mile 7…

10.  Enjoy – After the race – yes, I ate the biggest batch of guacamole and chips you’ve ever seen and I took a nap. The next day, I could barely get up from a chair or walk down the stairs. I was in pain but it felt so good! Brad finished his first half-marathon in 1 hour + 52 minutes and I finished in 2 hours + 1 minute. Not bad for a couple of 48-year-olds – and even better – we impressed our teenagers. Talk about a good run!

Get out there and go for it! I’ll cheer you on – but first, I need a nap.

What are you training for? Ever run a half-marathon?

Go Gingham related links:

How to make walking poles – they’re re-purposed ski poles – great for upper body workout while walking
I love to hula hoop – hooping fool love!
My winter workout routine and I get up and go!
Exercise at home – and skip the gym

More related links:

BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK is working with Apolo Ohno for the upcoming IRONMAN – he’s training and you’ll be inspired by his journey! In this video, he’s running in Carlsbad, California where I just ran with my college running friend, Jen.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK. Thank you for supporting brands that help support Go Gingham. This is being disclosed in accordance with the FTC’s guidelines.

Disclaimer: The information listed here is based on my own research, knowledge, and experience. None of what you read here should replace the advice of your doctor or other medical provider.



13 thoughts on “10 Tips for Running a Half-Marathon Over Age 45

  1. Wow, good for you! Since I have plantar fasciitis, running isn’t in my future. I love my bike, though! Nothing fancy, a garage sale special which I’ll replace someday … when the kids are through college, most likely … but I feel like a kid again when I ride and I get to be outside. Bonus. My 10-year-old son can now beat me in a race, though. My husband doesn’t like to ride, so I am thrilled that my kids seem to enjoy it and also that my son is biking well enough that it’s a good workout for both of us when we go. I’m a year ahead of you in age and I swear, something bad happened to my metabolism in the past year. Finding enjoyable ways to work out is so important in health and weight management!

    Glad to hear you espouse the virtues of milk! I have read that it’s the best “sports drink” out there. I’ve been saddened to see so many of the boys on my son’s baseball teams sucking down sugar-laden sports drinks while sitting in the dugout. Baseball isn’t a sport where you are continually burning lots of energy (as opposed to, say, basketball or hockey) so I’m afraid these boys are just ingesting extra calories and not wearing them off. Thank goodness my son is on a team this year that doesn’t hand out after-game snacks!


    1. Hi Kris,
      So we’re twins who are a year apart?! 🙂
      I have a foot stretcher that you might be interested in…it’s actually an hour glass shaped wooden foot stretcher and I roll it on the bottom of my feet every day. It keeps me from getting plantar fasciitis – which I seem to be prone to. The rolling helps loosen all of those muscles that are wrapped around all the little bones in our feet. I even travel with my foot stretcher! If you don’t have one look for one at TJMax or Marshalls in the bath salts/loofah sponge department – LOL – you know what aisle I’m talking about!
      I agree with you about the drinks that kids consume…and that some sports are more calorie burning than others. Both of my kids skipped baseball and for spring – one plays tennis and the other track. LOTS of exercise keeps kids tired at night, too!
      Thanks, Kris! If you can’t find a foot stretcher, let me know and I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you…


      1. Not sure what a “foot stretcher” looks like … I actually spend more time in the home decor departments of TJMaxx … now I’ll be singing the theme song for the rest of the day. “You get the maxx for the minimum at TJMaxx”.

        Apparently we are fraternal twins since we look nothing alike! 🙂


  2. I ran my first marathon at age 45, so it can be done! I have run a couple of half marathons as well and find they are much more civilized. The key for me is having my wonderful running partner/co-conspirator Debra at my side to amuse and challenge me. And follow up every run with a nice breakfast!


    1. My hero!! You’re awesome, Michelle! I’m really toying with the idea of the full deal – since I’m half-way there already.
      There’s no way I can run without a partner or hit my power-walk circuit without my neighborhood crew! Finding people to take your mind off the exercise and cheer you on – is key. Debra must be a real gem. 🙂
      Thanks, Michelle!!


  3. Congrats, Sara! That is an awesome accomplishment. I have plantar fasciitis, too. I would love to learn more about the “hour glass-shaped wooden foot stretcher” you use. I do go to TJ Maxx etc. but can’t picture what you’re talking about. Could you take a pic of it?

    Thanks! Love your blog.


    1. Carrie, this is clearly a problem that we to take care of! I’ll have to share my foot roller secrets and more feet issues. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂


    1. Slow and steady…doesn’t always win the race but at least we’re still at it! 🙂
      Thanks, Annie! It was very fun and I might get Brad to do another one. Maybe!


    1. Yes, walk a half-marathon! You can do it. Seriously, it’s all about just starting. That’s the hardest part.
      If you find a partner, pick a run and register! Maybe you can get a sponsor, too!! 😉
      Thanks for your kind words, Sheila! xoxox


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