Best Beginner Half Marathons For Runners

Are you are a beginner and want to know what are the best beginner half marathons to try out in your first 13.1 mile? Below are 7 great half-marathons to consider running.

best beginner half marathons

Half Marathons

Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon

One of the fastest half-marathons courses in the United States.

This is where I ran my personal best of 1.07.06. I finished in 28th overall with that time to give you an indication of how competitive it is.

The race takes place in September and has great weather conditions. The course is one of the flattest courses in the United States and is first on my list of best beginner half marathons.

Beginners seeking to run a fast debut on an absolutely flat course must put this half marathon on their list.


Rock and Roll Seattle Half-Marathon

A relatively flat course that takes place at a great time of the year. If you prefer cooler conditions and have your eyes set on a flat course for a fast time, Seattle is a great race suited for you.


IMS Arizona Half-Marathon

I ran and won this race back in 2010 during a 120 mile week. Aside from that, it has outstanding crowd and race support.

The race was relatively cool at the start but warmed up a bit at the end which can be beneficial or not depending on the runner you are.

The course is absolutely flat and runs throughout the neighborhoods and main streets of Phoenix, Arizona.

I would highly recommend this race and name it in the top three best beginner half marathons to run. Great post race entertainment and food resupply. Hope to run this race again in 2013.

What is a Good First Time Half Marathon Time?

I think a very good first half marathon time is running a sub 2 hour half marathon. Of course, so is a sub-2:30 half marathon. Remember, the faster we are aiming to run in our races the more a proper plan is needed. I have created training plans and running courses here to help speed up your progress.

Remember, higher mileage is not a guarantee that you will set a new personal best. So, you have to make sure you are doing longer tempo runs. In addition, doing at least 1, vo2 max workout per week.

We run between 85 to 89% of our max heart rate running at our lactate threshold. In addition, between 95 to 100% of our max heart rate when doing our speed workouts.

Germantown Half-Marathon

One of the best beginner half marathons in the country. The race takes place in beautiful Germantown, Tennessee. I ran this race in 2011 taking 2nd in 1.08.44. Kenyan Micah Tirop won the race in 1.08.28

The volunteer support at this race is the best you can find anywhere. Well laid out course and marked well. The course is rolling so if you want a more challenging course this race will be a perfect fit for you.

I consider it a hidden gem among best beginner half marathons. It is a small town race and one any beginner should try out. The crowds will get you through to the finish.

Hospital Hill Half-Marathon

This is one of the best beginner half marathons for those brave souls wanting a challenging course to run their debut half-marathon on.

The downside to this half marathon is the enormous hills. In addition, it takes place in June and is usually run under warm conditions.

If you think you can take on both this may be the half-marathon for you.

The Hospital Hill Half Marathon race staff have done an outstanding job over the years. It is the second most run half-marathon in the country going on 38 years.

Rock and Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon

What makes this one of the best beginner half marathons for any newbie? Weather and an absolutely flat course. In addition, you run along the beautiful Virginia Beach coastline and nearby neighborhood streets.

The Rock And Roll Competitor Group already has some of the best half-marathon and marathon races in the United States.

Can a Beginner Do a Half Marathon?

Of course. That being said, I would not run one without doing any form of training. Again, you want to make sure you minimize the likelihood of getting injured. So, run easy for at least 4 weeks before starting a half-marathon training plan.

Also, be patient. Remember, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. I would run easy mileage for at least 4 weeks before starting your training program. I would also highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. My recommendation is to use the Garmin 245. I use this model to ensure I am not overtraining.

Closing Thoughts

Below is my last of the best beginner half marathons I would suggest racing in.

Rock and Roll Savannah Half-Marathon

This race takes place in early November and is pancake flat.

The only downside is November in Savannah can be still warm or could be run in cooler conditions. Weather is certainly something we cannot control.

I am, without a doubt, a cold weather runner and if it is over 60 degrees and the race exceeds 10K in distance length I will look elsewhere.

I hope this post on the best beginner half marathons has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there each week to help runners like you get to the next level in their training and racing. 

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