Half Marathon Training Plans & Tips

From two months to five months, this half marathon training plan is designed for everyone from beginning to experienced runners, and for every lifestyle.

If you find yourself in need of more support on your half marathon training journey, our recommended training app partner is Runna. Runna has been name the Best Running App in 2023 by numerous publications and is as good as a a running coach in your pocket. You can use code HALFMARATHON for 2-weeks of premium training for free.

8-Week 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. Here’s our eight-week training plan designed for runners who already are in the running habit.

9-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

This plan is based on the same schedule and expectations as our eight-week training plan – you’re already experienced and maybe even have a few races under your belt, and you’re looking to ramp up your training quickly.

10-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

If you have more than two but less than three months to train for your next half marathon, this 10-week training plan might be the perfect fit. This one is perfect for experienced runners who might have some scheduling conflicts here and there with their training.

12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Designed for beginning runners or anyone who is planning to run the half marathon distance for the first time, this training plan is based on five days of running per week, with the once-a-week long run set on Sundays and days off on Mondays and Fridays.

14-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Need a little extra time to get your training in, or just want to start early? Beginning and experienced runners can both use this 14-week training plan, which starts off slow with only four runs per week and then ramps up to five days later in the schedule.

16-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Spread out over four months instead of three, this training plan is designed for runners who’ve run a half marathon already and are in need of a training plan that can fit into a busy schedule — with four training days each week vs. five.

18-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Designed for beginners and even experienced runners, this plan mimics our 16-week training plan with two extra weeks added in, and features a few changes to the long runs. This plan eases you into training with a longer runway at the beginning, to get you used to running 4 to 5 days per week over a longer period.

20-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

For runners who are looking for an even more gradual buildup to the half marathon than the 16-week plan offers, this five-month training plan starts slowly and builds toward the 13.1-mile race day, with both four- and five-day-a-week runs later in the plan.

12-Week Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan

For runners who has no previous experience training for a distance race. This 12-week program is designed to build base fitness with short run-walks in the first weeks before getting up to long runs near the 13.1 miles.

Training tips & help

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What every beginner needs to know

Slowly add mileage to increase your base – an easy-to-follow rule is to increase your long run by one mile every 1-2 weeks and take a rest day in its place every month. The slow increase as well as not “always increasing” allows your body ample time to recover.

Recommended Training Apps

For keeping track of your mileage, pace, and progress we recommend Strava which has a seamless user interface and great community support features. For more comprehensive and dynamic running plans that respond to each training session, we recommend Runna. Half Marathon Guide readers get 2-weeks free with code HALFMARATHON.

Injury prevention for runners

If done too quickly or with improper form, increasing mileage and speed can result in injuries – from shin splints to runner’s knee and beyond. The most important factor in completing any training plan is staying consistent.

In addition to following a half marathon training plan, it’s important to include structured strength training you can do yourself or follow a guided strength training program. You can find examples of reliable injury prevention programs online or by downloading free apps like Exakt Health.

5 obstacles you’ll face in your half marathon training plan (and how to overcome them)

Most runners are very excited to start a new training program. But as the newness wears off, there will be bouts of feeling unmotivated. Workouts will get tougher and the miles will get longer. There will be days that it will be struggle to get out the door.

Why the long run is your most important training run

Speed work and tempo runs get you faster. Recovery runs keep you from getting injured. Shorter races prepare you for the overall experience. But the long run is the most important element in making it to the finish line feeling great.

The 4 hardest things about half marathon training

Whether you are a beginner looking to run for the first time, a runner returning from an injury or break, or simply a runner starting a new half marathon training plan, it can take weeks before the habit forms. Once you stick with the plan for 4-8 weeks, however, it begins to feel normal to lace up and run a few (or more) times a week.

Ready to run 26.2? Here’s what training for a (full) marathon is really like

If you respect the distance and take the appropriate time to prepare, the finish line will feel more victorious and less torturous. The length of time it takes varies widely; some runners can tack onto an existing base and be ready in just 12 weeks. Others take longer…

How to pick the right training plan for you

In the running world, there are so many different and effective training plans out there. That’s because everyone starts at a different level and responds to training differently.

Marathon training plans

12-week marathon training plan for experienced runners

Are you an experienced runner who needs a tune-up before your next marathon? Here’s a plan to get you ready for 26.2 miles in 3 months.

18-week marathon training plan for first-timers

The more miles you can get to before starting this plan, the better. Walk, run, or do a walk run/combo. You should be able to complete 15 miles a week without any problems before starting.

20-week marathon training plan for ‘comeback’ runners

Are you an experienced runner who has taken some time off from the marathon, but are ready to come back to 26.2? Here’s a plan that might be perfect to get you back in form.

(Even) more half marathon training plans

Check out this 12-week training plan that’s perfect for beginners, this 12-week plan for intermediate runners, and this 12-week plan for advanced runners.

What is the average time for a half marathon?

For men, the average finishing time for a half marathon is 1:55. This is approximately 8:49 minutes per mile pace. For women, the average finishing time for a half marathon is 2:11. This is approximately 10:02 minutes per mile pace.

How many days per week should I train for a half marathon?

The exact days per week will vary depending on how many weeks your training plan is designed for, most plans will budget between 8 and 20 weeks. More experienced runners could safely run between three and five days training for a half marathon. Beginner runners should expect to run between three and four days per week over their entire training plan.

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