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home > training > training plans > competitive half marathon program

Competitive Half Marathon Program
A training schedule for competitive runners who want to improve performance in the half marathon race distance.

Competitive Half Marathon Program

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Related info:
Find Half Marathon Training Schedules | ActiveTrainer

Posted Monday, 8 September, 1997

First things first: bookmark this page so that you can check on your progress. You can also add daily run reminders to the Cool Running homepage as you roll through the weeks of this training program (to do this, edit your start page preferences).

This program contains some speed workouts. (For more information on the types of speed workouts, we lay it all out in "The Runner's Building Blocks"). A few quick notes on how speedwork is described here:

  • The distance in parentheses below fartlek runs includes a mile each of warmup and warmdown, in addition to your fartlek sessions. Don't know what a fartlek is? Check out our page about "The Runner's Building Blocks".
  • Whenever you see a pace denoted as 5K pace or 10K pace, this refers to the speed at which you estimate you could run a 5K or 10K on that given day.
  • When you read "4-5 hills," that means you should do 4-5 repeats at 5K pace on a hill about 150 or 200 yards long. Long hills should be 400-600 yards long. If you find it too tedious to run repeats on a single hill, you can also find a route that incorporates the same number of hills, as long as the route is not very long.
  • When you read the notation "4 x 880s," that means you should run four repeats of 880 yards each (two laps on the track). The pace below tells you how fast you should run them. For 880s, give yourself 2 minutes of rest between intervals; for 440s, give yourself 1-2 minutes.

All other workouts (including the long runs) should be run at an easy training pace -- emphasis on "easy." Hold yourself back to a pace about 90 seconds or 2 minutes per mile slower than your current 10K pace.

13.1 Mobile App

Finally, the pre-training schedule. You should be able to run this schedule for four to five weeks without much discomfort before starting the half marathon program. If not, give yourself some time to build up to that level gradually, or you may risk injury.

  Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
6M 6M 4M 8M 6M 4M 12M

The schedule

The schedule peaks at about 55 miles per week. If you prefer metric distances, use our distance-conversion calculator to convert to kilometers.

Week Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
1 6M 3 x Mile
5K pace
5M 8M Fartlek
4M 12M
2 4M 6 x 880s
5K-10K pace
5M 8M 8-9 Hills
5K-10K pace
4M 8M
3 6M 4 x Mile
5K pace
5M 8M 6M 4M 13M
4 4M 6 x 880s
5K-10K pace
5M 8M 7-8 Long Hills
5K-10K pace
4M 9M
5 6M 5 x Mile
5K pace
5M 8M 8M 4M 14M
6 4M 8 x 440s
5K pace
5M 10M 9-10 Hills
5K-10K pace
4M 10M
7 6M 6 x Mile
5K pace
5M 12M 6M 4M 15M
8 4M 9 x 440s
5K pace
6M 8M 8-9 Long Hills
5K-10K pace
5M 12M
9 6M 7 x Mile
5K-10K pace
6M 12M 6M 4M 10K Race
(or 16M run)
10 4M 10 x 440s
5K pace
6M 8M 9-10 Hills
5K-10K pace
5M 16M
11 6M 8M 6M 12M 8M 4M 10M
12 4M 6M 6M 8M 6M 3M RACE DAY


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