8-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Sometimes you sign up for a race that’s not far off in the future – just a couple of months away, or even less. You’ve been running regularly, but you need to ramp up your training, especially for a race you want to do with friends or loved ones in the next several weeks.

Here’s our eight-week half marathon training plan to get you ready to run 13.1 miles, designed for runners who already are in the running habit and are in good enough shape to put this plan in place with little difficulty.

This training plan is designed to be accessible to beginners but for such a short training cycle, we’d expect you already be able to run between 10 to 15 miles per week.

You can always run the miles below using a one-to-one run-walk pace (run for one minute, walk for one minute, etc.). Or you can use a method like Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run, in which you run for three minutes, walk for one minute, and so on.

It’s also a good idea to use your shorter, mid-week runs for building up your speed and ability to run shorter distances in better times, while using your longer weekend runs to build up your endurance and ability to lengthen your miles more slowly.

If you haven’t already, we recommend investing into half marathon gear, more specifically a good pair of running shoes and racing shoes if you’re going for a personal best.

8 weeks is a shorter training timeline if you’re new to running. If you want to fool-proof your training, we recommend also downloading an app like RunnaWith plans constructed by Olympic athletes, you’re bound to make it a run to remember. Use code HALFMARATHON for 2 weeks of free training.

8-Week Training Plan for a Saturday race:

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

8-Week Training Plan for a Sunday race:

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

The 8-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

In this half marathon training schedule, you’ll need to run five days a week, with two rest days included.

The weekly plan is carefully crafted to enhance endurance and boost the confidence of novice runners. It also schedules the weekly half marathon long run for either Saturday or Sunday.

While there is some flexibility to modify the training plan to fit your needs, the goal is to maintain a schedule of five running days per week.

How many weeks do I need to prepare for a half marathon?

Experienced runners may be able to get away with shorter half marathon training schedules. The most important part of any 8 week half marathon training plan is building the endurance to cover the daily and weekly mileage.

Experienced runners smay have enough base fitness they wouldn’t need a few weeks to ramp up.

Because this is a shorter, 8 week training schedule, you’ll want to have a level of base running fitness before you commit to a half marathon only two months into the future. We recommend being able to run 10 to 15 miles per week without walking.

Who is this plan designed for?

This plan is for beginner and intermediate runners.

If you’re currently not running at all but still want to run a half marathon in 8 weeks, this couch to half marathon plan might be a better option for you.

Advanced runners who are logging 30 to 40 miles per week will be better off heading straight to this 12-week plan.

As with any new physical endeavor, it’s a good practice to seek approval from a doctor before starting this training plan especially important if you’re older than 50.

What level of commitment does it require?

By committing to this plan, you’re signing up for 8 weeks of focused training before your half marathon. Each week has with 5 training days of running and 2 rest days. Those two rest days can be used for either for recovery, strength training, or cross training.

Depending on your half marathon pace, you’ll likely spend around an hour or less on each 4 of your weekly runs. Your long runs weekly will double that time investment. Your long is one of your most essential types of runs in the training plan.

In addition, you’ll set yourself up for a healthy training block and race day success if you can incorporate 10 to 20 minutes of bodywork. This includes dynamic warmups, core exercises, strength training, foam rolling, cool downs, and such) most days.

Exactly what your regimen looks like will be unique to you, but small, consistent efforts to keep your body fine-tuned and feeling good will pay dividends during these 8 weeks and in the race itself.

How hard should I be running?

While the pace you run at is important, it’s crucial to prioritize effort, especially if you’re a less experienced runner.

Feeling tired and slightly out of breath towards the end of each run is acceptable, but you should never push yourself to the point where it feels excessively strenuous.

As you continue your training, your running pace will naturally improve. In a matter of weeks, what once seemed like a challenging run will become more manageable.

However, it’s still beneficial to occasionally glance at your watch, whether it’s equipped with GPS or not. This practice will help you become familiar with different paces and ensure you exert the right level of effort for various distances.

Wearing a watch also enables you to monitor your progress day by day and week by week.

After all, how else will you know if you just completed your usual neighborhood loop a minute faster than ever before without keeping track of the time?

How should I fuel my half marathon training?

For comprehensive guidance on fueling your half marathon training and race day, you can refer to this guide.

In summary, the key is to prioritize a well-rounded diet that places carbohydrates (your primary energy source) as the top priority, followed by protein (essential for muscle recovery).

Proper hydration is equally crucial. Achieve this by sipping water consistently throughout the day and integrating sports drinks or electrolyte supplements into your routine, especially during longer runs.

During the actual half marathon, which typically lasts more than an hour, target the consumption of 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and one 750ml bottle of fluids with electrolytes per hour. It’s essential to practice your in-race fueling strategy during training runs, particularly the longer ones, to ensure it suits your needs and gives you confidence for race day.

More Best Practices For Half Marathon Training

For more racing and training tips on acing your first here’s our list of how to run a half marathon.

Additionally, if you’re interested in practice before your half marathon, we recommend picking a 10k race as a great race to start with.

More training plans: 9 Weeks10 Weeks12 Weeks14 Weeks16 Weeks18 Weeks20 Weeks

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