Here's How to Train For Your First Half-Marathon the Cheap and Easy Way

POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

Whether you've run a few small races or have never run in your life, training for your first half-marathon isn't easy. It's super tiring on your body and trying to add miles to your runs feels like an obstacle you'll never overcome. That's why, instead of spending any of your time thinking about how much your gear or power food will cost, we've rounded up the best tips to keep your training as cheap as possible. Once you start following these tips, you can 100 percent focus on making whatever half-marathon goals you have.

  1. DSW is your best friend: Sign up for DSW rewards and get a $10 certificate. Shop on its website or in store to pick out some running shoes that'll definitely work for your half-marathon. You can also save money on running shoes by buying last year's model and opting for lighter shoes.
  2. Train in clothes you already have: Have a t-shirt and pair of shorts you love? Go ahead and train in them — when starting out, you don't need anything fancy to build up your miles.
  3. Cheap workout gear does exist: While you should start your training in whatever clothes you want, you may need to buy gear as your mileage increases. Target and Old Navy offer plenty of options that won't break the bank. If you're shopping for race day, be sure to test everything out beforehand to make sure it doesn't chafe.
  4. Get a tracking app: Track your runs to see how many miles you're getting, monitor if you ever felt off on a day, and check your pace. Plenty of running apps, like MapMyRun and Nike+, are free to use and all you need is your phone!
  5. Buy food items in bulk: You're going to train for a few months, so you'll be eating plenty of post-workout snacks. No harm in getting items like oatmeal, nuts, trail mix, and peanut butter in bulk.
  6. Crowdsource popular running paths: Use any form of social media to find out where to run and what places are great. Training on a treadmill is doable but also costs money to join a gym — all avoidable by just asking around!
  7. Try a free trial at a gym: If you're not into running outside, sign up for a free trial at a nearby gym. Plenty of gyms will give you at least a week to see if it's for you. Or you can always go as a guest with your friend to their gym.
  8. Look for free fitness classes: Many cities, towns, and even gyms offer discounted or free workout classes. Do them!
  9. Talk to other runners: If you know any runners, ask them for anything. Most people will know where to buy cheap gear, food, and anything else you might need.
  10. Get a music app subscription: Whether it's Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, or Pandora, you won't regret having the ability to pump the jams for free or having them available offline.
  11. Follow one of our free training plans: Need a training schedule? Follow one of ours — it's free and ready to go!

Good luck! Your training will definitely be worth it and you'll have plenty of funny thoughts while doing it along the way.