By Elisabeth Hasselbeck

As you know, running is one of my favorite things to do. Last year, I ran my very first half marathon. It was a great experience but it takes a lot of work to prepare for it. Here are some ways to get ready for a half marathon:

Pick a race
First, you'll want to find a marathon that's right for you and your fitness level. Not every marathon is designed for a beginner.

Plan to train for 6 months to a year
You should have some solid running experience under your belt if you're planning on participating in a marathon.

Get comfortable running shoes
Since you'll be running a long distance, you'll want running shoes that won't hurt your feet. Make sure to do your research. If you need help finding the perfect shoe, click here.

Get Friendly
Training with a group or coach will not only give you the support you need, you'll also learn proper running techniques. You could also try training with a friend who has experience running marathons. The talks that I've had with my friends and family while running will always be remembered!

Slowly increase your mileage each week
This should be a gradual process. Try to run just a little longer during each training session.

Do tempo runs
Twice a week, I run 4-6 quarter-mile sprints with 60-90 seconds of rest in between. This is how you drop time off your mile pace.

Stay healthy
Make sure to continue eating right, drinking plenty of water and listening to your body. If you feel like you're developing an injury, see your doctor.

Sleep is always important and you especially want to get enough rest when you're training for a marathon. You'll have greater endurance if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night.

Dedicate the miles
Run for yourself, but be sure to have threshold miles dedicated to someone you care about. Make a list and give each person his or her mile. On race day, when you feel like you can't give any more, do it for them!

Don't try something "new" the morning of
Just stick to your typical day of coffee, tea, or juice and breakfast. And, make sure to drink at all of the water stops!

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