Half Marathon

Event Type: 
Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
Skill Level: 
Beginner
Duration: 
13 Weeks

This plan assumes that you can currently run 12-15 miles per week and this is your first time training for a half marathon. You may find it helpful to have had some 5K or 10K race experience in the past.  This plan occurs over the course of 13 weeks.  Each week contains one long run, two easy days, two intermediate-distance days, and two rest days.  The long run occurs on Sunday, intermediate-distance days occur on Wednesday and Friday, easy days occur on Tuesday and Thursday, and rest days occur on Monday and Saturday.  At week seven, speed work is initiated on Wednesdays and lasts through week 12.  You can adjust these days to fit your schedule, but try not to schedule two hard workouts back-to-back as it can increase the chance of injury.   

The training mileage begins at 15 miles per week and peaks at approximately 24 miles per week.  The plan is broken into three stages:  a base period that lasts the first 6 weeks, a sharpen period that occurs weeks 7 to 12, and a taper period that occurs weeks 11 to 12.  The base period seeks to build your aerobic endurance by progressively increasing your training volume.  The runs during the base period should be performed on fairly flat terrain, at a slower pace, and at a lower intensity.  Try to alternate between trail, grass, and asphalt running to reduce wear and tear.  The sharpen period seeks to build upon your endurance by increasing power and refining neuromuscular pathways.  This period will include high-speed intervals and tempo runs.  Your training volume will stay about the same to accommodate for the increased intensity of the workouts (you can reduce the work load if you feel tired, e.g., take one of the easy days off).  Finally, the taper period will help you recover and prepare yourself for the race by decreasing the training volume. 

This training plan allows for some flexibility and includes options to enhance your training.  It is feasible to miss 1-2 long runs if necessary.  It isn’t advised to miss the long runs consecutively as these runs are particularly important for building aerobic endurance.  The longest run will be 12 miles.  This will help your body prepare for the mileage demanded in a half marathon.  There are also options to run shorter races during training as these can help simulate the race experience and prepare you mentally for the big day.  If you choose to participate in a race on a weekend, skip the speed session for the week.

Before you begin this training plan, we suggest that you assess your current level of fitness.  This will help you determine your goal race finish time.  Even if your goal is “just to finish,” it will help you set the appropriate intensity levels of your workouts.  You can assess your current level of fitness by performing a 5K time-trial on your own or you can enter a race.  Once you have established your fitness level, you should train according to what your current ability is.  There will be opportunities after several months of training to reassess your fitness level and adjust race goals. This plan assumes that you can currently run 12-15 miles per week and this is your first time training for a half marathon. You may find it helpful to have had some 5K or 10K race experience in the past.  This plan occurs over the course of 13 weeks.  Each week contains one long run, two easy days, two intermediate-distance days, and two rest days.  The long run occurs on Sunday, intermediate-distance days occur on Wednesday and Friday, easy days occur on Tuesday and Thursday, and rest days occur on Monday and Saturday.  At week seven, speed work is initiated on Wednesdays and lasts through week 12.  You can adjust these days to fit your schedule, but try not to schedule two hard workouts back-to-back as it can increase the chance of injury.   

The training mileage begins at 15 miles per week and peaks at approximately 24 miles per week.  The plan is broken into three stages:  a base period that lasts the first 6 weeks, a sharpen period that occurs weeks 7 to 12, and a taper period that occurs weeks 11 to 12.  The base period seeks to build your aerobic endurance by progressively increasing your training volume.  The runs during the base period should be performed on fairly flat terrain, at a slower pace, and at a lower intensity.  Try to alternate between trail, grass, and asphalt running to reduce wear and tear.  The sharpen period seeks to build upon your endurance by increasing power and refining neuromuscular pathways.  This period will include high-speed intervals and tempo runs.  Your training volume will stay about the same to accommodate for the increased intensity of the workouts (you can reduce the work load if you feel tired, e.g., take one of the easy days off).  Finally, the taper period will help you recover and prepare yourself for the race by decreasing the training volume. 

This training plan allows for some flexibility and includes options to enhance your training.  It is feasible to miss 1-2 long runs if necessary.  It isn’t advised to miss the long runs consecutively as these runs are particularly important for building aerobic endurance.  The longest run will be 12 miles.  This will help your body prepare for the mileage demanded in a half marathon.  There are also options to run shorter races during training as these can help simulate the race experience and prepare you mentally for the big day.  If you choose to participate in a race on a weekend, skip the speed session for the week.

Before you begin this training plan, we suggest that you assess your current level of fitness.  This will help you determine your goal race finish time.  Even if your goal is “just to finish,” it will help you set the appropriate intensity levels of your workouts.  You can assess your current level of fitness by performing a 5K time-trial on your own or you can enter a race.  Once you have established your fitness level, you should train according to what your current ability is.  There will be opportunities after several months of training to reassess your fitness level and adjust race goals. 

We recommend that you consult a physician before taking on any training regimen of the nature called for in this plan.