Half Marathon Training Plan & Schedule
The half marathon distance provides a challenge beyond the popular 10K while allowing for more flexibility than marathon preparation. Our 12-week half marathon training schedule will get you ready.
Posted Wednesday, 3 April, 2013
The half marathon distance provides a challenge beyond the popular 10K while allowing for more flexibility than marathon preparation. The training period for the half marathon is three months (versus five for the marathon), and recovery is substantially faster than for the marathon. This happy news means that you can run several half marathons during a single race season.
Training for the half marathon is also a good stepping stone on the way to a first marathon. The half is an ideal way to find out whether you enjoy going the long distance and prepares you for the physical and mental challenge of the marathon. It's the perfect dress rehearsal.
Our 12-week half marathon training schedules are available in four flavors, from beginner to competitive. You should have at least six months of running under your belt before embarking on one of these half marathon training plans.
Keep in mind, of course, that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training program. While the schedules offered here are solid and dependable, you should feel free to tinker with them and make them your own. Adapt them to your own rhythms.
By following one of these half marathon training schedules, you will develop gradually through four training phases: endurance, strength, speed and tapering (for more info on these, check out "Road Rhythms," our survey of the training cycle). Before you begin training for a half marathon, be sure you're in shape to follow that particular training schedule. Each program includes a schedule for a "pre-training week" to help you gauge your fitness. If you are not already able to run the mileage for that week comfortably, spend a few weeks gradually building up to to that level by adding one mile to your long run each week. You should be able to run that pre-training half marathon schedule comfortably for four to five weeks.
The advanced half marathon training program includes many weeks with no days off, and the competitive program has no days off at all. Instead of days of complete rest, these schedules build in easy days of relatively light mileage. There exists a philosophical difference in approach to training -- whether to take the day off entirely or simply to go light on the miles. For the advanced and competitive half marathon training schedules, we've chosen the latter. For those who would prefer the former, however, those light days can be replaced by days of complete rest. Do what feels comfortable for you.
Half Marathon Training Schedules
Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan
For runners who currently run 15 to 25 miles per week and expect to run the half marathon in about 2 hours.
Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan
For runners who curently run 25 to 50 miles per week and expect to run the half marathon in under 1:45:00.
Advanced Half Marathon Training Plan
For runners who currently run 40 to 60 miles per week and expect to run the half marathon in under 1:30:00.
Competitive Half Marathon Training Plan
For runners who currently run over 60 miles per week and expect to run the half marathon in under 1:20:00.