Top 5 Half Marathon Training Mistakes

Are you preparing for a half marathon? Want to up your game and achieve success?


I have coach Whitney LaCombe from our Spark Healthy Runner coaching team from our Healthy Runner coaching team with me here today to delve into the realm of half marathon training mistakes that you absolutely must avoid.

In this episode, coach Whitney is going to share her 5 common half marathon training mistakes to avoid for race day success!

We will delve into the realm of half marathon training mistakes that you absolutely must avoid. By steering clear of these five common blunders, you can enhance your training regimen and pave the way to a triumphant race day. 

We’ll provide valuable insights and techniques to help you find your ideal pace, ensuring endurance throughout the entirety of your half marathon. We will shed light on the consequences of inadequate rest and recovery, nutrition blunders, and the topic of strength training.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner looking for a half marathon PR or you are a beginner runner looking to enjoy your first half marathon experience, this training is for you!

Don’t let these five half marathon training mistakes hinder your progress or hinder your chances of success. Join us in this training as we delve deeper into each of these missteps, providing valuable tips and tricks to avoid them. With the right knowledge and guidance, you’ll be primed for a victorious half marathon experience. Start your training journey the right way and secure the triumph you deserve! 


Listen to the Podcast Episode during your next run!



Watch the LIVE video version of this episode below on Youtube!


1. Picking the wrong plan or misjudging your training plan

The first mistake you can make in your half marathon training is picking a plan that is too aggressive OR too easy! This can cause you to either lose motivation or possibly get injured. You want to make sure the training plan meets you where your fitness level is NOW, not where you hope to be someday! If you’re struggling with deciding what type of plan would fit you, talk to a knowledgeable coach who can help you build a custom plan.


2. Running too fast on your easy runs

Easy runs should be just that… EASY! One of the biggest mistakes runners make is running too hard or too fast on their easy days. Taking your easy runs at an easy pace helps you to get faster in the long run, but also allows you to push yourself harder during those workout runs that might be sprinkled throughout your week.


3. Not making rest days/recovery a priority

Not allowing your body to recover can lead to burn out or injuries. Neither of which are good during a half marathon training cycle! Take rest days as seriously as you take the rest of your training. The rest days should be rest days. Your body needs the time to recover from all the hard work it is doing during this training process. Take the rest day, and ENJOY IT.


4.Not eating enough, overall! 

You can’t plan to lose weight and train properly. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet (including the occasional dessert) is essential to training. Your body needs fuel to run, just like a car needs gas to drive. If you are trying to lose weight while training for a half marathon, chances are you are going to get injured or you might completely bonk your race. FUEL your body. Before runs, during runs and after runs! Don’t forget, CARBS GIVE YOU SPARK!


5. Not testing out your race day items! Gear, clothing, shoes, fuel/hydration. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY!

NEVER try anything new the day of your race! You should have completed a few runs testing all the gear, clothing, sunscreen, shoes, headphones, fuel, hydration that you plan to use on race day. Keep your morning the same as your pre-long run mornings! Eat the same thing, do the same thing. It’s not worth the risk of messing up your race the day of!


BONUS MISTAKE! Neglecting strength training and only doing “cross-training”

Many runners solely focus on logging miles, disregarding the immense benefits of incorporating strength exercises as the foundation and building blocks in which those legs will handle all the miles you do during half marathon training. Strength training is NOT only an “alternative workout” to do something different from running. It is essential! When you incorporate strength training for runners into your half marathon training you’ll discover how these types of exercises can enhance your overall endurance (because your legs don’t get tired or feel heavy), prevent injuries, and take your half marathon journey to new heights.



Get the race day blueprint HERE


Want the structured strength, nutrition, and run plan with motivation and accountability to reach your highest running potential without getting injured? Book a call and learn more about Healthy Runner coaching here 


This Episode Sponsored By: 

A big thanks to Noxgear for your support for this episode!


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Connect with Dr. Duane:

Dr. Duane Scotti, DPT, PhD, OCS is a running physical therapist, run coach, host of the Healthy Runner podcast, and founder of Spark Healthy Runner and has been a leader in the rehab and running community for 20+ years.


Duane initially started running as an adult, wanting to add some cardio to his gym sessions. After having a hip surgery, his doctor advised him to get off the treadmill and run outside. Without having fully recovered, Duane suffered a running-related hamstring tendon injury and many others as a novice runner.


As a coach, he has guided thousands of athletes back to running, finishing their first marathon, crushing a personal best, and even the elusive Boston Marathon qualifying time.


He is truly living his passion educating the running community that they don’t need to stop running to get over a running injury.  Through his signature 1:1 coaching program, weekly videos, and podcast episodes, he empowers runners to get stronger, run faster, and enjoy lifelong injury free running.  Dr. Duane truly believes that anyone can run and that all runners should be treated differently when recovering from an injury.  He is on a mission to change the traditional thinking that running causes “overuse injuries” or “your body is just not meant to run” and you must “take a break” to get better.  Through strength and run specific training you can grow a strong mind, strong body, and just keep running!


Duane received his Bachelor of Health Science degree and Master of Physical Therapy degree from Quinnipiac University in 2001 and 2003. He then went on to receive a clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2017. Duane is a board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified Mulligan Practitioner, certified in dry needling and has advanced training in spinal manipulation and rehabilitation for runners.


As an athlete, Duane is an adult-onset runner, avid half marathoner, and enjoys challenging himself to learn and grow in his personal running journey!


A native New Yorker from Long Island, Duane currently lives in Cheshire, Connecticut with his wife Deb and his two teenage daughters who are competitive volleyball players.  They all love to explore new beaches along the east coast.




Get weekly running tips on the Healthy Runner Podcast…available wherever you get your podcasts!

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“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Duane Scotti and the Spark Healthy Runner program. When I started working with Duane, I had been dealing with chronic shin splints/posterior tibialis tendinitis for almost a year.

I had worked with multiple other coaches and physical therapists with little success and was at the point of almost giving up on my love for running. Duane is so kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable as both a physical therapist and running coach. Our first virtual meeting lasted two hours because he was so meticulous in his assessment. His strength and running program is progressive and created so that you can continue to build strength and mileage as you heal. His strength program is unique, effective, and fun.

Additionally, his warm-up routine is awesome and includes drills that over time have made me a more efficient runner. His training platform is easy to use, and he is always readily available to chat when problems or questions arise.

Over four months of working with Duane, I have built back to five days a week of running and am almost back up to my pre-injury weekly mileage and long run distance. Whenever I have flare ups or setbacks, Duane reassures me and makes necessary adjustments so that I can continue to progress in my running journey. I have had so much success with him so far that I have signed on for four more months so that he can help me to continue getting stronger as I train for the Dopey challenge in Disney World.

If you are struggling with a running injury and are feeling hopeless, you have to reach out to Duane Scotti. Of course, you will have to put in a lot of hard work, but with Duane by your side, you will be able to achieve your goals and more. Thank you Spark Healthy Runner for bringing the spark back to my running!”

Dipti Pandya

You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!  I have never considered myself a runner and I knew I needed to be smart about it because I am no spring chicken. Spark preached getting strong and healthy to be injury free and they practice what they preach.  I am soooo glad I made the investment in me!  I finished my half marathon last weekend and couldn’t be any happier!  The program fed me all the steps I needed to essentially learn how to run long distance, build strength, nutrition help, a forum of other runners and probably most important was the 1:1 coaching.  I had no idea how to tackle training for a 1/2 marathon and this program broke all of it down, had it individualized for me and we tweaked as we went to make sure I was staying healthy and strong.  I had so many questions the week prior to my race and Coach Cat was always there for me and answering all the questions and issues I had-and believe me there were a lot!  The biggest benefit I think I got was the strength. I am strong and fit. But most important was what I gained emotionally.  I built confidence and strength I didn’t know I had, even at my age.  Honestly could not have done this without Spark Healthy Runners!

Gina J.

My Healthy Runner journey started after I had battled bilateral achilles pain for a few months and was frustrated how it affected my running. As soon as I talked to Duane I knew I had made the right decision. His positivity, enthusiasm and genuine care are infectious. The training plan that was tailored to me included specific exercises to rehab my injury and I was so excited that I didn’t have to stop running. It took patience to only run slow for a few weeks but I trusted the process and it got me me to where I am now: running pain free. We made adjustments to the plan throughout whenever needed having someone in your corner that is always there with guidance and support throughout the process was invaluable.

I just ran my second half marathon, both with Duane’s coaching, and PR’d by over 9 minutes! I got all choked up in the last mile when I realized that I felt strong and could still kick it up a notch.

I’m so thankful for the Healthy Runner program, community and the entire coaching team for all the support!

Katja L.

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