Preparing for your first half marathon, or maybe looking at improving your time, run a personal best? The Half Marathon Training Plans discussed below will help you achieve that, in the way you want. Whether you want to do this by training 6 days a week, or whether you want your half marathon training to just take 3 days of your week with your hectic traveling and packed work schedule. There are half marathon training plans designed by experts to cater to a wide variety of audience.
Half Marathon training needs focused effort, particularly for beginners. A typical fitness runner who regularly runs a 5K or once in a while 10K would probably just be able to complete the distance, but for doing well at the distance, a training plan which can gradually ramp up his endurance to cover the required distance well is required. Be ready to spend at least 2-3 months of quality running to have the satisfaction of running the race the way you wanted to.
Below, you will find half marathon training plans from experts, not only in coaching, but also veteran runners themselves. The approach may be different, but the final goal is the same, to help you achieve your goals.
Half Marathon Training Plan #1 – Hal Higdon
This is a 12 week plan, and my favorite, from the renowned coach Hal Higdon, a veteran of 100+ marathons himself, winner at several masters events, and a prolific sports writer as well.
The basic principle behind this half marathon training plan is to gradually increase the distance, and involves running 5 to 6 days a week. Some weeks are cut-down weeks, where the mileage actually drops a bit to help the body recover. The weekday runs are smaller, usually in the range of 5-8KM, while the weekend runs may go from 12-18KM. There are also various variations of the training plan, including those for beginners, intermediate runners, and advanced runners. Intermediate / advanced runners may also be required to do hill-repeats, intervals, and tempo runs.
Check out Hal Higdon’s very popular book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guidewhich has all the above training plans and a complete guide to train for a half marathon.
Read more about the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan.
[ad#Amazon 600×200 Carousel]
Half Marathon Training Plan #2 – Jeff Galloway
Galloway’s half marathon training plan is a 17 weeks plan and is significantly different from the Higdon plan presented above. Galloway is a renowned coach, known for his trademark Run-Walk-Run method, where you mix running and walking to achieve optimal performance.
The training plan here is spread across just 3 days of the week, so, ideally more suitable for those of us who cannot manage more days of running a week, but the entire duration of the plan is longer, 17 weeks. The focus here is more on running a specified time (say 30 mins or 45 mins) than running a specified distance. Two runs on weekdays (timed), and one long run on the weekend (distance goal).
Check out Galloway’s book Marathon: You Can Do It! for more on his Run-Walk-Run training strategy.
Read more about Jeff Galloway half marathon training plan.
Half Marathon Training Plan #3 – Furman Institute FIRST training
Furman Institute pioneered this plan after a lot of scientific research. The essence if this half marathon training plan is to do less, in terms of time and distance, but do that at a higher quality. So, there are just 3 runs in a week of this 18 weeks plan, and all the runs have specific “pace” goals as per the target times for the runner. This plan includes interval training, a short weekday run, and a longer weekend run. A key aspect of this training plan is that it has to be supplemented with some cross training activity as well, like cycling or swimming.
This plan seems directed for advanced runners who can manage their long runs at a pace very close to their predicted race day pace, or for beginners too, for whom the race day pace will not be too different from their regular training pace.
Check out the book Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program for more details on these plans.
Read more about FIRST half marathon training plan.
Half Marathon Training Plan #4 – Runners World Ultimate Plan
A very popular set of plans from Runner’s World magazine, the leading runners magazine in the world. This half marathon training plans cater to beginners, intermediate and advanced runners and are just 9 weeks long.
The plan is essentially 5-6 running days a week, and expects you to be having a fitness base before you start with the plan. There’s interval training to be done, which increases in volume depending on the toughness of the plan. Runs at Pace Intervals, Cruise Intervals, Speed Intervals, and even one Fatigue Fighter Intervals as you go for the advanced plans. And of course the weekend long run is an essential component of all plans.
Read more about the Runners World half marathon training plans.