PrerequisitesTo begin the plan, you should be running for several weeks about 24 miles (39 km) per week with 6-mile long runs, and you should feel comfortable with that distance. If you're running less than that, here is a plan to bring you up to the point where you can begin half-marathon training.
OverviewTotal time. The plan requires 12 weeks for a half-marathon. This is a longer time than that required by some plans in common use. The extra time is due to smaller increases in distance, smaller jumps in distance after the fall back weeks, and higher weekly distance.
Number of days per week. The plan is set up for six days of running per week. The plan can easily be modified for three or four days of running per week by eliminating days. However, to have a successful experience in a half-marathon, try to maintain 25-30 miles per week.
Length of runs. The plan has you running three different lengths of runs: one long run, one medium run, and four rest or recovery runs. Some runners run more than one long run or more than one medium run, but doing that puts significantly more stress on your body.
Increases in distance. The increases in the distance of the runs are based on the assumption that you can handle 10% increases in your weekly distance. Some runners can't do that and will need to allow additional time to let their bodies adjust to the increased stress. During the week, listen to your body to see how you feel after that day's training. If you feel tired, dragged out, or have excessive soreness, allow another week at that same or reduced level. When you return to the scheduled increases, don't try to catch up; just continue from where you are. If your tiredness continues, consider reducing your increases in subsequent weeks.
Fall-back weeks. After three weeks of increases, the next week is a fall-back week of reduced distance; that week is followed by a recovery week of the distance you were running before the reduction. This recovery week is to give your body extra rest. The fall-back weeks are denoted by FB.
Comfortable pace. Run at a comfortable pace, especially during the light weeks. Your first half-marathon is not the race for setting a new personal best! Choose a pace that will allow you to talk to a running buddy (or to yourself) and to feel fine at the end of the run.
Walking breaks. As you train, and later as you run your race, consider taking short walking breaks of 1 - 2 minutes every mile (2 km) during your runs. Walking uses muscles differently than running, thus giving your running muscles a rest, and the breaks help you to be invigorated and avoid slowing down during the last part of the run. Walk at a comfortable, restful pace. During the race do your walking breaks while passing the water tables. If you can do the shorter rest runs without stopping or slowing down much or being overly tired, you can omit the walking breaks during those runs, although you can do them if you want. If you're running hills, high temperatures, or high humidity, take walking breaks more often.
Using the plan. The charts give distance in miles (kilometers). The kilometers are rounded to be whole numbers.
1st Goal: Increase long run to 8 miles (13 km)
|Week ||Mon ||Tue ||Wed ||Thu ||Fri ||Sat ||Sun ||Weekly ||Done |
|Week 1||3 (5)||4 (6)||6 (10)||3 (5)||4 (6)||6 (10)||off||26 (42)|
|Week 2||4 (6)||4 (6)||6 (10)||4 (6)||4 (6)||6 (10)||off||28 (45)|
|Week 3||4 (6)||5 (8)||7 (11)||4 (6)||4 (6)||7 (11)||off||31 (50)|
|Week 4 FB||3 (5)||4 (6)||5 (8)||3 (5)||3 (5)||5 (8)||off||23 (37)|
|Week 5||4 (6)||5 (8)||7 (11)||4 (6)||4 (6)||7 (11)||off||31 (50)|
|Week 6||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||off||34 (55)|
Stay at these distances until you feel comfortable with them.
2nd Goal: Increase long run to 12 miles (19 km)At the end of week 12, you will have run a long run of 12 miles (19 km) and will be ready for the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles (21 km).
|Week||Mon||Tue||Wed||Thu||Fri||Sat||Sun||Weekly || |
|Week 7||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||9 (14)||off||35 (56)|
|Week 8||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||10 (16)||off||36 (58)|| |
|Week 9 FB||3 (5)||4 (6)||7 (11)||3 (5)||4 (6)||8 (13)||off||29 (47)|| |
|Week 10||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||10 (16)||off||36 (58)|
|Week 11||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||11 (18)||off||37 (60)|
|Week 12||4 (6)||5 (8)||8 (13)||4 (6)||5 (8)||12 (19)||off||38 (61)|
Congratulations! You've conquered the half-marathon distance, and you're ready to run the half! Allow one week to taper your mileage before your race (two weeks if you're older) so you'll be rested when you run the race. Consider a taper that reduces all of your runs by about one-third. It's important that the 12-miler (19 km) occurs one week before your race (assuming you are rested on race day). If the 12-miler (19 km) occurs before that, you may lose some of the effect of the peak distance when you run the half-marathon. If it occurs later than that, you may not be fully recovered from your training when you run the half-marathon.
After you finish the race, walk around for a few minutes before you sit down to help keep blood from pooling in your feet.