12-Week Half Marathon Training for Beginner Runners

Before starting any training for running the 13.1-mile half marathon distance, whether it’s in an organized race or on your own, you should be regularly running approximately 10 to 15 miles per week.

If you’re a beginning runner, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting anything as strenuous as training for a half marathon, especially if you’re over age 35 or 40. With that in mind, below is the training schedule that the publisher of this site has followed in past races, one that’s worked out well.

It’s based on a simple philosophy — using the mid-week runs for conditioning and feeling out your proper pace, and using the once-per-week long runs to get you mentally prepared for running 13.1 miles:

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 off 3 miles 3 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 4 miles
2 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 4 miles
3 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 5 miles
4 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 4 miles 6 miles
5 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 7 miles
6 off 4 miles 4 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 8 miles
7 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 9 miles
8 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 10 miles
9 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 11 miles
10 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 12 miles
11 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 6 miles
12 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 2 miles 13.1 miles!

Rest Days

Especially for beginning runners or those who may be experienced at running but training for their first half marathon, it’s important to take two days off from running during the week to allow your joints and muscles adequate time to rest.

I’ve always taken two days off during the week, on Mondays and Fridays, as that allows a day off after your long run as well as a day off after your three mid-week running days.


On your weekend long runs, make sure to bring plenty of water to drink after your run and during your run. It’s important especially when your long runs start reaching distances of seven, eight and nine miles or longer, to have water at the mid-point of your long run as well as at the end.

Sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are fine as well, but you can’t go wrong with water. Also, this will get your body accustomed to what your race conditions will be like, when you’ll be able to have water most likely at every two miles in the race.

Walking & Taking Breaks

If you feel the need to walk or take a break in your long run or during any of your training runs, by all means don’t feel guilty or hesitant about doing so. Especially for beginners, the goal is to complete the race more so than to compete, and when finishing is your goal, it’s perfectly fine to take walking breaks here and there.

Listen to what your body is telling you, as it’s quite possible that perhaps you’re trying to maintain too fast a pace; consider slowing yours or using the run-walk method popularized by Jeff Galloway.

Consult the Experts

Remember that the training schedule above is just one recommendation on how to structure a half marathon training plan. You should also consult the training schedules put together by the famed and highly accomplished runners Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway for more perspectives on how to train for this enjoyable and challenging race distance.

125 comments… add one
  • david August 16, 2016, 12:36 am


    I’m planning to do my first 1/2 marathon in November and was looking into the 12 week training program. I see that the plan is for a Sunday race and the half I’m doing is on a Saturday. If I do the same plan, but do the long runs on Saturday instead of Sunday, will that work?


    • Frank September 8, 2016, 4:53 pm

      Long runs on Sunday will be perfectly fine. It’s building up those miles during the long runs that count.

  • Melvin July 7, 2016, 12:51 pm

    Is it possible to run a half marathon with 3 days a week training.

    • Kay October 1, 2016, 8:03 pm

      I have run half marathons will only 3 days training a week. It has worked for me! Go for it!

  • Jeromy Heidemann June 29, 2016, 3:49 pm

    I’m just now starting a half marathon training program. Should I count warm-up and cool-down in my distance for the day? I typically walk for 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the run and cover about 1/3 of a mile for each. So, if I don’t include warm-up and cool-down in the distance goal I would actually reach a distance of around 3.67 miles on day 1. Is this right, or should I cap the whole thing at 3 miles and my “run” would only be about 2.33 miles? Thanks!

    • mike July 4, 2016, 12:00 am

      I would not count the warm up and cool down because they wouldn’t be counted during the race.

  • stephen B June 17, 2016, 6:09 pm

    About 50 days out from my first half M. Doing about 6 miles Monday-Wen-Friday, resting on Weekend. I am doing to much treadmill work due to my work schedule. But I am stepping it up. Should I complete a full 1/2 before the race?
    thank you

  • Edith L June 14, 2016, 10:49 am

    This is my first half marathon. I am excited/nervous/proud that I am going to be attempting this. I think I am going to try the 12 wk training schedule. On the off days (Mon,Fri) is it okay to do weight training? Also is it better to do all runs outside or could some be done inside on a treadmill. Thank you!

    • mike June 16, 2016, 10:57 pm

      I would think that treadmills would be the very last resort. The mechanics of running is so much different on a treadmill. There is also the old saying that you should train like you plan to do.

      As for the off days, currently I do weight training on two days a week that include the legs. When I am about 12 weeks out from the half I am doing, I plan to only do upper body weight training.

      • George July 12, 2016, 1:58 pm

        I did several half’s while working two weeks offshore, two weeks home. If you do it right, I see no problem doing it on treadmills. One advise I would give is to cover your speed and distance. I just always found i ran faster that way. Also if you have a problem knee like I do, a treadmill can be easier on the joints.

    • L. T. Carter September 4, 2016, 4:38 pm

      I have ran 3 1/2 marathons, 90 % of my training was on a treadmill, and I PRd on each one. I do not have a problem with running outside, but the only time I can get my training in is at 4AM…I am not running outside in the dark. My last 1/2 was 1:55. my first was 2:11.

  • Mike Gunn June 12, 2016, 4:03 pm

    Will be doing my first half marathon in November. At present, I run 4-5 miles on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My normal pace is around 9:30 to 10:00 per mile.

    If I follow this 12 week plan, it seems rather odd that in August of this year I will drop down my daily mileage to prepare/train for the half marathon. Would it be incorrect to just add another longer run on Saturdays?

    Any insights?

    • George July 12, 2016, 2:02 pm

      I have done a few now and started at very different places for each. I would say no, don’t drop down. You are basically on week 5, I would do 2-3 weeks of week 5, 6, 7. Or I was in a similar spot before one race and did drop down to more of the early weeks, but focused on pace. You could try and get your 3 miles down to 8:30 and 4’s around 9 or something.

      I’m not a pro or anything, just one of those two ways are how I would go about it.

  • Megan M May 26, 2016, 1:48 am

    Just wondering, why is this plan more intense than the plan for moderate runners? wouldn’t you want to ease beginners into things more slowly? if a beginner attempts the 4x/week intermediate plan, will they still be in half marathon shape by the time of the race? thanks in advance!!

  • Cheryl Christiansen May 25, 2016, 10:53 pm

    I have signed up for my 1st half marathon in 12 weeks. I currently a few times a week-and have been running short distances-3 or 4 miles during the week and longer distances-up to 6 miles right now- on the weekend. My question is that I am also doing strength training alternating days with my running and I don’t want to stop that training but I know my schedule will not allow for me to run 3-4 times during the week and a long run on the weekends PLUS my other workouts. Any suggestions how I can incorporate all of it while still getting in my rest days? 🙂

    • Jennifer June 1, 2016, 8:14 pm

      Hi Cheryl,
      I have trained for and run a number of races, including halfs. In my experience, you can run as little as three times a week plus strength training and still run a good race. The key is quality over quantity. One run should be an “interval run” where your pace increases for a short amount of time and then returns to a comfortable recovery pace – repeat 6-8 times within that run. Interval runs are short – time and distance. One run should be a “hill run” where you are essentially doing intervals, but up a hill instead. Again, these runs are short and sweet. Hill runs can/should be done every other week, so alternate the hill run with a “tempo run”. This is a short distance done a touch faster than race pace. You can do a 5 mile run, for example, and attempt to run 3 miles of that at a hard pace. And lastly, one run should be a long run – you can’t learn to run 13 miles without running 13 miles. Long runs are done at a comfortable pace, don’t try and do your long runs at the same pace you hope to race at. The rest of the week, you can do your strength training, some cross training, and of course resting. If you do additional runs in the week they should be regular runs at a comfortable pace, otherwise known as easy runs. Try not to do a hill day and interval day back to back – allow for any type of day or two in between to allow your body to recover properly. I like to do Tuesdays as intervals, Fridays as hills/tempo, and Sundays as long runs when I’m training.

      Kind of a long reply, sorry. Just wanted to share based on my own experience. Happy training!!

      • Cheryl Christiansen June 5, 2016, 7:43 pm

        Thank you for your reply! I have done interval training…and actually like that..but haven’t done much hill interval training but that makes a lot of sense. I’m talking to my trainer tomorrow about how to make this all work so I will definitely include your suggestions! Thank you so much!

      • Melissa October 3, 2016, 11:20 am

        Jennifer, I’m a beginner runner as well about a year in and a bunch of 5k in and my longest run has been 10 miles at 11:00 pace , I get a lot of advice from my father who is a 6x ironman but you seem to have the right idea above, I’ve been training about how you’ve explained . Wondering if you could give me anymore advice, here’s my email – mndudek1106@yahoo.com

  • Joe Allard April 25, 2016, 11:54 am

    My 7yr old son loves to run. We just started to run together and our first run we did 3miles. Ive been into running and love it but I’ve never done a race or training plans. This weekend I ran 7miles, my longest run yet and it felt great. What would be a good plan that can help us both but mostly my son will enjoy.

  • Alisha Schwinn April 18, 2016, 1:42 pm

    I have followed this training schedule to a Tee! I have my race coming up this weekend and feel really confident about it. Thank you for laying out such a great training plan. I am currently running a 9:26 mile pace and feel really good. Best shape I have been in my life. Thanks again for your guidance!

  • Morgan fogle April 11, 2016, 1:08 pm

    What pace should people be running?

    • Brian October 10, 2016, 9:33 pm

      I recently did my first 10mile run: Bronx New Balance 10mile in NYC. When I was training I was averaging 10min miles (for distances of approx 8 miles). On race day (probably because of the crowd and people running all around me) I ran an average of 9.30min per mile. I was very happy with that for my first time. Hope that helps.

  • Carla February 28, 2016, 12:13 pm

    I’m not a runner but would like to be….average walker. What would be a good schedule to train from walker to jogger in 12-16 weeks. Want to do it right and safely

    • Mike the Gardener March 24, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Carla, I used the couch to 5k app to get me started and believe me I was no runner. It gradually moved you along to get to the 5k point and really did only take 30 days.

    • Kat April 16, 2016, 6:48 am

      Carla- I went from being a walker to a runner in only a few months. I didn’t use any set plans, instead, I just set out to jog as much as I could and walked when I couldn’t. Pretty soon, I could jog half a mile before having to take a walking break. Then that went up to running a full mile without walking. Once I hit that one mile mark for maybe 3 runs, it seemed like I got into the zone and I could jog for an hour at a 13 minute mile pace. So just get out there and jog, enjoy an easy, steady pace, and you’ll be motivated to get out there more often.

  • Jane February 14, 2016, 8:25 am

    i have done a 10k and run comfortable 13 and 15k now. I have just signed up to do a half marathon and keen to know how I do my 12 week training plan, should I drop down to shorter runs as most plans say? Many thanks

  • Angela January 28, 2016, 10:10 pm

    I have signed up for my first 1/2 marathon. Not much of a runner, but it’s something I really want to do. I am 49 yo. It’s about 90 days out. Have I chewed off more than I can possibly do at this point?

    • Kassi January 29, 2016, 8:36 pm

      Nope! Stick with your plan and just take it one day at a time. Youre going to do great!!!

    • Mira May 2, 2016, 7:26 pm

      Same here and trust when I say…you’re doubt will lessen each training day you ✔️off. 😄Keep us posted!!

  • Lisagay Samuels November 28, 2015, 6:55 pm

    How do I get more information about how to sign up for beginers.

  • K Hogan October 12, 2015, 12:58 pm

    Thank you!!! I used your 12 week training schedule and just finished my first half marathon. I did Great! I will continue to use for all the rest of my races.

    Thank you for being such a valuable resource!!!

  • Sanjeev Kumar September 18, 2015, 2:01 am

    Hi, I would like to begin half marathon. Pease can you guide me the process? Thanks

    • Keumok October 5, 2015, 1:54 pm

      The best way might be joining a local running club. It is hard to run by yourself, especially as a beginner. The runners from the clubs will support and motivate you. If you can’t, follow the running schedule above. If you would follow it, most likely you would complete any half marathon. Good luck.

  • Marlene Lutz September 14, 2015, 1:22 am

    I walked a full marathon in 2005 in CA, a 1/2 marathon in 2013 in AZ. I just turned 69 & would like to attempt walking an other 1/2 marathon in AZ next February. What’s your view on that? Should I stick to the 5ks? I do about once every year. Thanks for your advice. Please respond directly to me via email. Thanks again.

  • Jeff June 29, 2015, 11:30 am

    I’ve been doing 5 and 10k races for a while now and i have been training for my first half marathon and I am having second thoughts about doing it. I want to know if I should keep training for it or if I should go down to either a 5 or 10k. The race isn’t until September 19th of this yr

  • Simon June 5, 2015, 12:39 am

    What should a training schedule look like that also is ramping up a road cycling range from 20 miles up to 75 miles over a ~12-16 week period at the same time as getting from a ~4 mile running base up to 1/2 marathon distance? I can do training 4-5 days a week.

  • Brandon May 9, 2015, 10:19 pm

    Can someone explain why we don’t run 13.1 before race day? This seems like a great plan and I would like to use it for my first half in September, but I’ve been wondering why we don’t run the full distance before race day. Thanks in advance.

    • Emily December 3, 2015, 5:13 pm

      On race day you have adrenaline going through your body and are able to run farther than you have before. I have friends who have run half marathons with only training to 8 miles, but I suggest training to at least 10 miles before running a half.

  • Frederick May 1, 2015, 2:21 pm

    My first half-marathon is more than 20 weeks away, but my weekly long run is 5 – 6 miles. Should I just keep up my current schedule and then shift into the 12-week plan at week 4, 8 weeks befor the race, where the first six-mile run takes place?

  • Jessica April 14, 2015, 3:09 am

    Hello, I am looking to run my first 5k in about 5 weeks and from there I’m going to eventually start training for my first half marathon. Do you have any training schedules for a 5k? Thank you!

  • Susan Deal April 12, 2015, 8:47 pm

    I followed your 12 week half-marathon training program to prepare for my first half, the Dismal Swamp Stomp in Chesapeake. It was a huge success! I won my age group (1:41:55), felt great and had a super time. I am 45 and had been running about 3 miles 4 or 5 days a week before starting your program. THANK YOU!!! It worked!

    • Susan Deal April 12, 2015, 8:49 pm

      I love how easy your plan is to follow – run x miles. Many of the plans I read were going to require more reading and planning to understand what I was to do. thank you again, Susan

  • Lori Farabaugh April 2, 2015, 4:47 pm

    I was wondering if I can realistically train for a 1/2 marathon by running only on a track. I run by myself and live in a rural location. My kids don’t want me out on the road due to safety concerns. I’m 58, have logged 300+ miles the past 9 months and have done quite well in my first 2 5k races.

  • John April 1, 2015, 10:42 am

    I may be starting training for a half marathon soon. It isn’t until November though, so I am looking at 33 weeks before the race. After I have hit the 12 week mark, should I just continue doing this week until the race?

  • Gary March 20, 2015, 10:20 pm

    I am planning on my first half marathon being a mountaineer at altitude in Aspen. I’m 55 YO and am a regular sure footer mountain hike on the uphill and run the downhill. Any suggested retiming for a race that’s 25 weeks away? Can I take the 12 week plan and double it or is that too many miles? Or too much risk of injury? I live near Boulder, COLORADO some I’m not a flat training person. Suggestions?

  • Harold March 7, 2015, 8:31 pm

    I am overweight, and have signed up for a full marathon. I really want to get in shape. The marathon is in 4 weeks, how can i train without having to start 12 weeks ahead of time.

  • Matilde Ferro February 24, 2015, 4:05 pm

    I am 72. I ran a marathon in 2004 but sustained in jury to my left knee. I want to run 1/2 marathon in Feb 2016. I am presently running approx 10 miles a week with 2 days off at a 13:20 pace approx. Any suggestions?

  • Valerie Hediger February 17, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I just want to thank you for posting this training plan. I just ran my first half marathon in 2:10 and felt terrific. I jumped in at week 6 and felt very strong and well prepared. I was a 3-5 miler before jumping in and have to say that I did not struggle at all during the race. I will follow this plan for future half marathons for sure. I even feel great after the race! Thank you!

  • Rina Nicole February 6, 2015, 3:28 pm

    I just had a baby 4mos ago Sun looking a 5k-Half this June since I’m a “beginner” I would avg 2-4mi daily pre pregnancy just for exercise but at the gym on the treadmill, to get back to it would you recommend the treadmill/road to start…I cannot run as long on the road as I can on the treadmill and I dont know why.

  • Josh January 29, 2015, 1:49 pm

    I came across this training guideline and I really like it, but I typically don’t like to take full rest days. Instead of resting I’ll go to my local rec center and ride their stationary bikes or use an elliptical for no more than an hour, but I saw the comments about joints and I got a little worried. Is this fine or should I take full rest days?

  • Jeff January 26, 2015, 2:45 pm

    I just signed up for half marathon for May 3rd in Prov. I fractured my ankle back in august (no surgery). I have been slowly getting my strength back in my leg and ankle. Im running atleast 3 miles with a ankle supporter on. Since I have over 3 months. Should i just continue with my pace and graduatally increas, i.e. like the plan says above? and also I do strength training on other days that iI’m not running. Should i stop that entirely or continue.

  • Joe January 23, 2015, 1:26 pm

    What about strength training? Should I pretty much halt strength training work during my preparation for the half marathon? If not, are there certain days I should work that in?…same day as runs or on off days? Thoughts?

  • Emily January 13, 2015, 9:14 pm

    I run cross country and track, I run about a 6:30 minute and a 23:00 minute 5k. I’m planning on running my first half marathon this spring, this will be during my track season. Do you think I can realistically run under a 2 hour half marathon?

    • Jeff January 22, 2015, 3:28 pm

      my 2 cents i run 8 to 8:30 per mile in a 5k, I have run a half marathon at 10 minute mile pace.

  • Christine January 5, 2015, 2:17 pm

    I have done some 5k races before and one 10k race… I just signed up for my first half marathon which is May 3rd, 2015. I currently just started working my endurance up to running 5k without stopping (as a starting ground) since it’s been awhile since I have raced. Would you recommend the 12 or 16 week training plan after getting a solid time for 3 miles?

  • Nicole January 4, 2015, 7:18 am

    I have been running/jogging for over a year. I can’t break my 11 min mile. Even that is difficult for me at times. I only run on the treadmill because running outside is so hard for me for some reason? I want to do a 1/2 marathon, but my obstacles of not being able to run outdoors and my inconsistent timing is preventing me. Please help?! I am. 38 year old woman, 5’3 weigh 137.

    • Matt January 12, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Nicole. I just started running a year ago and had a similar issue. I played college sports and always considered running a punishment haha and would run occasionally just for weight loss. When I ran my first 5k last year after being guilted into it by a friend, I decided I definitely wanted to improve my times! Getting beat by old men and 6 year olds got to me. I ran at a 10 minute pace for the better part of a year before I got somewhat serious about it. Over the last year I am now at a 7:30 pace, which isn’t bad for a 6’5, 230 ex college o-lineman in my opinion. One thing I would definitely look into is interval training. There’s a million different approaches to interval training, but here is what worked best for me on a treadmill: Start a a good walking pace for .05 miles, then jump up to your regular jogging pace for .2 miles (so each interval is a quarter mile) Each quarter mile, bump up the jogging/running pace.. Set a goal of x number of intervals and increase the speed incrementally. So for example start at 5.2mph (11.5 pace) for the first interval, then increase .2mph each interval. So say you want to do a mile and a half workout. You would do the following: .05 miles at 3.0mph – .20 at 5.2, .05 at 3 – .20 at 5.4, .05 at 3 – .20 at 5.6, .05 at 3 – .20 at 5.8, .05 at 3 – .20 at 6mph, .05 at 3 – .20 at 6.2 mph.

      The key is, your pace will never get faster if you keep running at the same pace. You may build endurance at that pace and be able to keep it for longer distances, but your pace wont get any faster. You have to learn how to push yourself faster, but this way your are teaching your body (legs, lungs, heart) to deal with the additional stress in smaller increments. I would mix this in once a week and after a few weeks, you should find yourself at a faster pace naturally.

      I would definitely recommend you start slowly running outside. Some people love the comfort of the treadmill, but the reality is running outside provides a few obstacles you wont see on a treadmill. Hills, cold weather, hot weather etc. Also, when you run in races you need to be able to set your pace. Treadmills don’t let your body intuitively learn how fast you are running. Additionally, for myself anyway an 8 minute pace (my normal jogging speed) feels a lot faster on a treadmill than on the road. But this could be psychological. I;d be interested why you cant run outdoors???

      You might try knocking out a 5k and a 10k before a 1/2 also. Here we have a 4k, 5k and 4 miler series before the 5k, 10k, 10 miler that build up to the 1/2 or full. I find its good to go through the races incrementally to determine what pace you can really handle when you get to longer distances.. You might find there is no need, or it may be too difficult to go faster than 11min/mile over the course of 13 miles…..
      Best of luck to you!

  • Nick Neipert January 3, 2015, 7:30 pm

    What would be good to eat while training for this event?

  • Nicole January 3, 2015, 3:21 pm

    I recently decided I’d like to get into shape and live a healthier lifestyle. I’m 5’5 and currently 158 lbs
    (my BMI is 26.3 = overweight). My goal for this year is train for the GA half-marathon which is 10 weeks from this Sunday (January 4th). I recently started enjoying running on the treadmill, but find it kind of hard to focus while running outside. I was wondering if anyone had any workouts/training schedules. Also, any suggestions/ideas or any sort of help would be appreciated!!!

  • Kathy December 21, 2014, 9:45 am

    I am a six to seven days per week walker. 7.5 miles in approximately 100 minutes. I would like to try a half marathon in March but have never been a runner. Will this sort of pace suffice? Suggestions for propelling me into the running?

    • Kay February 3, 2016, 3:49 pm

      I am 59 yrs old and love walking also…I am over weight and need to get in shape..I to would love to do the 1/2 marathon but mostly walking, some running..I would be interested in finding someone to train with before the race..What city do you live in? Maybe e could train together

  • Eleanor December 14, 2014, 11:11 am

    Dave, the long runs could be split if you don’t have the endurance to run the whole thing but that isn’t going to be as effective as running a little then walking a little. The whole purpose of a long run is to build up endurance. If you hit a block then don’t push forward too hard. For beginners, running four minutes then walking one is OK. Also, listening to music can help a lot by making the runs seem shorter. Same with listening to books.

  • Dave December 4, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Can the long mid week runs be split 1/2 in morning 1/2 in evening?

  • Michael Devol December 2, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Is the 13 mile run on the last day of this training plan supposed to be the race itself, or should i have that distance under my belt once or twice.

    It seems pretty clear, but as a first timer, the idea of doing the 13.1 for the first time ON race day, is a little daunting. AND it makes sense.

    Someone who knows what they’re talking about please clear this up for me.

    • Keith February 23, 2016, 1:45 pm

      Yes the 13 is the race. It is not necessary to have run the exact distance prior to the race. Your body’s adrenaline will kick in and carry you through the last mile.

  • Mike December 2, 2014, 5:38 pm

    hey, for this training plan, is the 13.1 at the end supposed to be race day itself?

  • Lara November 23, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I was also wondering if you could do this and weights/strength training at the same time. Thanks!

  • Joey November 16, 2014, 10:43 pm

    I just did it using this, from couch to 13.1 run. Worked like a charm. The run was much easier than I thought, not sure about a full yet, lol. Would recommend it to anyone. Joey

  • Ada Naramor November 12, 2014, 8:58 am

    What’s the best way to keep water on hand. I think that’s what limits my progress right now .

  • Patty November 4, 2014, 12:27 am

    Just walking the half marathon would be a huge goal for me. Is it okay to plan to just walk it?

    • Jen November 9, 2014, 2:15 pm

      Hi Patti, I have walked 6 full marathons and over 20 half marathons. I am 66 years old and have many more events coming up. You can do this, just walk and enjoy every minute

  • Brittany November 2, 2014, 1:47 pm

    How does this schedule councide with weight training/ using machines in the gym?

  • David Lewis October 28, 2014, 12:33 pm

    I am wanting to do a half marathon on December 27th. My base now is just under 7miles. Should I start thid plan on week 5 or so? I do the Galloway method of intervals. Do you think I could have my mileage in for that distance and have time to taper?

  • Emily October 26, 2014, 11:03 am

    How fast paced are these runs supposed to be? I’m a D1 athlete, so I’d consider myself in pretty good shape. I’ve done a few 5k’s but the most I’ve ever run at once is around 6 miles. I’m looking to complete my first half in January. Thank you!!

  • Chris M October 23, 2014, 10:21 am

    I followed this plan for my first half marathon, and was very prepared. Physically and mentally. Way to go!

  • LUKE RICHARDSON October 16, 2014, 12:26 pm

    think this is a little unspecific. I need to know more things to like what to eat afterwards and stuff like that

    • Michael Devol December 2, 2014, 5:41 pm

      read runner’s world. i have just started running a lot more than i used to, and i’ve found the articles super helpful, instantly. everyone seems to have a different approach, but as for basic fueling and recovery, there is a ton of information.

  • A Brown October 14, 2014, 10:24 pm

    What should I be eating. I am 58 and training for half marathon.

  • Kelly October 14, 2014, 9:23 am


    I plan on following this plan for my first half marathon in January. My question is, at what pace should you run these miles? I read that you should run them at race-pace, but another website said slower than race-pace. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you.

    • Joey November 18, 2014, 7:33 pm

      Funny, I started walking on the treadmill by the time my half came around in 11 weeks I was running 12/13 minute miles, this is at 260lbs. It worked very very well. I hope to do another one in December and get to 11minute miles. And yes still 260 lol.

  • Dale October 12, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Hey Tate,

    Other than two or three proper sets of shoes, and clothing appropriate for the weather conditions in your area, you really don’t need any special gear. In reality, all you need is to start a training plan, g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y ramp up your mileage, log several good months of long slow miles, and then enter a race. If you have some specific time related goals in mind, run a few 5K or 10K races, and then use some of the race pace calculators to determine how close you are to hitting your goal time.

    • Di Lun October 23, 2014, 2:03 pm

      To add to Dale’s comment… You will need SOCKS! and I am not referring to the hanes, fruit of the loom, regular-everyday cotton brand. I am a newbie to distance running and I have learned the importance of wearing the correct socks as my mileage increases. You can always find clothing deeply discounted online and sometimes in the store but I would strongly suggest investing in a good pair of running shoes and socks. Your feet will thank you later. Plus you can get roughly 300 miles out of pair of shoes.

  • Tate October 10, 2014, 12:11 pm

    i want to do a half marathon next spring but i don’t really have money to spend on the right gear, is that a big problem?

  • Art Williams October 10, 2014, 11:11 am

    I’m 61 years young and just had my annual physical and my Doctor has given me the green light to train for a Marathon. I want to participate in a 10 mile event called ‘Broad Street Run’ scheduled for May 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.

    What training schedule should I incorporate as a beginner? Thanks

    • Sean December 9, 2014, 11:38 pm

      Art, 10 miles was my very first race as well, and my running friends recommended looking at training plans for a 15k. (It’s 9.3 miles or so) the distances were practically interchangeable, and it worked very well. I set a goal of 10 minutes per mile and wound up finishing in 9:19 per. Hal Higdon provided my training plan. Now I’m looking at running the full marathon in Philadelphia in the fall next year. Good luck with your training!

  • Flora Jones October 8, 2014, 10:51 pm

    I just turned 69, I want to train to walk a half marathon before my next birthday. I want to start training within the next couple of months. Where do I start?

  • Heather October 7, 2014, 2:15 pm

    I do yoga religiously about 3-4 times a week…Sometimes deep stretching yoga sometimes power/flow yoga.. I really want to accomplish a half marathon but My question is would it be outrageous to do a schedule like this along with my yoga. Should I cut back on the yoga in order to make it through a whole half marathon?

    • Dale October 12, 2014, 3:01 pm

      Hello Heather,

      My wife, a recreational runner for most of her life is also a certified yoga instructor. At times she’s deeper into her running than her yoga, and vice-versa; over the years she’s found that the two, while on the surface are seemingly compatible, in reality “not so much” is a better way of describing it. Long story short, she needs to back off on one to excel in the other.

      As an aside, earlier this year she ramped down on her yoga and started upping her mileage to the 25-35 mile per week range (with no specific goal in mind), and two weeks ago (she was 56 at the time) the two of us ran our first half marathon; she crossed the finish line in a very impressive 1:49. While I have no doubt her strength and flexibility from her yoga was a great asset during the race, it was the miles she’s logged over the last six months which allowed her to maintain such a fast pace.

  • Shay September 11, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Hello, I was wondering when you reach 12 miles how should I run weekly to maintain it. I feel like running 12 miles is a skill and I don’t want to lose it!

  • Tam September 11, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Angie-Good luck on your first 1/2. I am 60 and ran marathons when I was young. Just started doing 1/2s about 5 years ago. It is a great distance! I am also doing my next 1/2 on December 7th. I will think about you during the race. You will do great!

  • shad September 11, 2014, 10:35 am

    Would it be better to prepare on official track or stick to hard surface roads? Thoughts?

    • Mark October 13, 2014, 2:32 pm

      Mix it up. But you should do most of your training on the surface you will be running.

  • Bradley Berkebile September 5, 2014, 12:03 pm

    I used this training program in 2012 for my first 1/2 marathon. I was pretty sedentary before starting but set an aggressive goal to finish the race in under 2 hrs. I finished the race in 1:59:30!!! It was close but I hit my goal. I have run a few 10 and 15Ks since then but haven’t stayed as active so I am starting from scratch using this plan again. 2 weeks in and I am down 6lbs and getting my pace back.

    I would love to build in some CT to keep my core strong but just following this plan will get you to the finish line. Best of luck runners – B-rad

  • Angie August 29, 2014, 11:06 am

    I am running my first half marathon on December 7th and I’m super excited! Thank you for this training schedule. I’m sure it will help a lot!

  • Lily August 26, 2014, 10:21 pm

    I’m 14, run four miles daily (+2 on days I have cross country, would this work for me? I’m just curious as to the age group for this specific entry.

  • Pedro August 25, 2014, 4:31 pm

    First of all this training plan is great. I am running a half marathon on Oct. 5th and all is going well so far. However, I will be going on a business trip for week 9 and I am afraid I won’t be able to log in as many miles throughout the week.

    Do you have any recommendations on how I can have a “light week” but without it affecting the training regimen too much? Is there anything you would recommend?

    Thank you.

  • Marc-E-Marc August 19, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Do you have this schedule ready in Km? Yes I’m Canadian, we like to run here too. lol

  • Colleen Brennan August 10, 2014, 5:24 pm


    I just signed up for my first half marathon in November. It will be an evening race. Should I prepare differently the day before/morning of?

  • Jenieve Holder August 10, 2014, 11:08 am

    Hello MR Johnson, I am a 46 year old mom of five who would like to start training for the half marathon. I live in the District Heights area in Prince George’s County and would like to know if there any marathon training held in my area. Thanks in advance for your respond.


    • Severina September 4, 2014, 3:53 pm

      Hi! I’ve been using Garmin’s 16 week Half Marathon Training (free) for beginners..uploaded the calendar to my watch so that I stay and keep my schedule.
      Try your local running store….they usually have (free) group runs and will give you an opportunity to ask questions, get advise, and info on local running clubs.
      Also check out Road Runners Club of America (http://www.rrca.org/find-a-running-club/) …they have a pretty comprehensive directory of local running clubs too. Hope this helps!

  • Paulo August 9, 2014, 9:15 am

    I am planning on running a half marathon in 12 weeks , and I’m a 56 old , is there any HELP?

    • Rick August 10, 2014, 9:14 am

      Paulo, you can do it. I walked my first half marathon Dec 2012, Las Vegas Rock and Roll at age 59. My primary goal was to finish, secondary was to finish under 3:30. I completed it in 3:25. Then I did another 1/2 Marathon May 5, 2013 and 4 weeks later walked my third 1/2 Marathon. Decided to start running and in October 2013 completed the Cleveland Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in 3:15. Five weeks later I was back in Vegas and ran it in 2:59. Just do it!

    • Louann August 24, 2014, 9:56 pm

      You can do it! I prefer the walk 10 minutes walk 1 minute method to keep from getting hurt. Make sure you get the right shoe, it makes all the difference! I didn’t realize that I needed to buy 1/2 to 1 whole size larger until after losing a toenail.

      • christy muccillo September 5, 2014, 11:40 pm

        I dont understand your walk 10 minutes walk 1 minute method? Please explain.

        • Barbara September 6, 2014, 9:24 pm

          Hi there. I am confident she meant run 10 minutes walk 1 minute. And repeat.


  • Monica August 6, 2014, 2:01 pm

    I am planning on running a half marathon in 9 weeks instead of 12 weeks. I have done triathlons before and am in fairly good shape but also a little rusty. Are there any suggestions to tweak the training for the 9 weeks?

    • Terrell Johnson August 6, 2014, 4:36 pm

      Hi Monica! We don’t have a 9-week plan here on the site, but that’s one we should add, especially for runners and athletes who keep themselves in good shape. Stay tuned.

    • denny November 9, 2014, 8:17 pm

      if you are in shape, you can jump in program in middle! I was doing triathlon sprints so I had to increase my Miles. I was already up to five plus miles so hopped in week 4 on half marathon training schedule.now I’m up to 11 miles!

  • Betsie August 5, 2014, 3:51 pm

    In response to Mike and Julie: I completed my first half marathon last year using a training schedule very similar to this one (which I am using this year) I had completed several 5K’s in a similar time frame that you mention (46mins) but was scared to attempt a half. I finished in 3:02 with the cutoff time of 4:00. I would check the cut off time and train according to that. I didn’t train for speed but endurance. You’ll find that the adrenaline of the race will push you faster than you thought. Just be careful to be aware of your time and not exhuast yourself early on in the miles. The one recommendation I would give is to include hills in your training daily, this will prepare you for hills on the course and increase your endurance abilities. Good luck!

  • Melanie July 31, 2014, 5:09 pm

    In response to Julie….from a personal level, I trained for my first half two years ago and I too only wanted a “running” schedule with no cross training, tempo, ect. It was very effective for me and I finished the race with no issues. And I was NOT a runner AT ALL beforehand. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  • Julie July 28, 2014, 1:47 pm

    I have searched all over the Internet for half marathon training schedules and came across this one as it is the only one I’ve found with no cross training, fartlek, tempo run, interval runs etc…. Will it still be as effective?

    • Kelly August 1, 2014, 3:15 am

      Hi Julie,
      I’m certainly no expert, just an experienced runner, so don’t quote me. But training schedules that incorporate tempos, fartleks, etc. are meant to help people with speed work. It is so they can focus on passing people and speeding up at crucial points in the race, and then settle back into their regular pace. This particular training plan seems to be for people who want to complete, not compete. Hope this helps!

      • Darrell Gammon October 19, 2014, 6:03 pm

        One thing I would suggest is running hills to strengthen up the legs. I do at least once per week.

    • Jeff January 22, 2015, 3:22 pm

      I followed this plan in 2013 and ran the Atlantic City Half Marathon in 2:13. It was a great plan for me. I live in a very hilly area and the HM was flat so my time improved dramatically. I was striving for completing. It was my first and only one. I am following it again to run another Half in April with a goal of a full marathon this fall.

  • Michael L Bradley July 14, 2014, 9:58 am

    I have signed up to do the St.Jude half on December 6 2014.I walk a 5k every morning.I finish them in 46 minutes or less.I want to improve my miles but scared to death.I have done 5 5k this year.I can’t afford a coaching coach.Any suggestion that you can give me will help me out a lot.I recon that I put this on my Bucket list to do.Am I crazy?Thanks for all of the information.

    • Donald Beuke October 2, 2014, 9:21 pm

      I would suggest training by your heart rate to avoid injuries and to build a good base. The method I am referring to is called Maffetone. The Maffetone method uses the 180 rule which is 180 minus your age is you optimal training heart rate. Do not exceed this heart rate when you first start training and slowly build in the miles. I am 39 so I keep my heart rate around 140 when I jog. It may seem slow at first but you eventually build a strong base. I got down to 8:00 pace while keeping my heart rate at 140. Takes time start slow and it is ok to walk when you start a run and end a run.

      • susan ryde December 2, 2014, 12:30 pm

        Michael, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Just add your miles slowly but weekly. Follow a plan, but if you feel any injuries coming on, investigate them. Your shoes are very important! I bought Hokas and it changed my running from I cant do this, to Im running a 1/2 marathon. My first will be February, 2015.
        Hope this encourages you. (I’m 52 years old).

        • Kathy Fredericks May 31, 2015, 10:38 am

          I’m 56 (will be 57 when I compete next spring). I am a walker/jogger, but have never considered myself a runner so this is going to be difficult for me. I’ve never done anything like this but have wanted to every year I see the racers run by our B&B. How was your first? Did you walk any or is is strictly a run? You say Hokas are the best? have simple Nike running shoes – advice there? I’m going to follow the plan of starting slowly and adding distance each week to my runs – I do have 10 months to work up to this! Any other advice, especially at my age? Thanks!

  • Terrell Johnson July 10, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Hi Sam, no it isn’t. But that’s a factor we should consider, and perhaps incorporate into training programs for runners at different ages. Great idea.

  • sam July 10, 2014, 1:21 am

    Is this age specific?


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