I just ran a 5-K and finished in 25 minutes. I would like to run a race for my birthday in mid October. Is training for a half-marathon in 10 weeks reasonable or should I try for a 10-K? I’m running about 12 to 15 miles a week right now.

– Rebecca

Rebecca, congratulation on your 5-K! Running your first half-marathon in 10 weeks pushes the boundaries of “reasonable” given that many half-marathon training plans are 12 weeks long, but it’s not out of the question given your running base and your 5K time. You say that you have been running 12 to 15 miles a week in preparation for the 5-K. I will assume this means you are running 3 to 5 miles, 3 or 4 times a week.

In preparation for the half-marathon, you will run three days a week on alternate days. Your days off from running will allow for recovery and the option to cross-train by swimming, cycling, strength training, or doing yoga, if you choose. Keep your two weekday runs the same as what you are accustomed to running now, which I have, again, assumed to be 3 to 5 miles.

They key to building endurance for the half is a long weekend run each week. On the long run, focus on mileage rather than pace. Plan on running 30 to 60 seconds per mile slower than your weekday runs. You should be able to carry on a conversation during these long training runs. You have the option to throw in some walk breaks, too. Walk breaks help you cover the longer mileage with less fatigue and less risk of injury. The goal is to adapt to the distance without getting injured and make it to the starting line of your race healthy! You’ll notice that the long run mileage listed below increases for the first four weeks then cuts back in week five, and also dips back down after the two longest runs. The cut-back weeks will help your body recover as you prepare to tackle a longer run the following week—so don’t get overzealous and run more than prescribed on those shorter weeks!

Long run mileage:

Week One: 5 miles

Week Two: 6 miles

Week Three: 7 miles

Week Four: 8 miles

Week Five: 6 miles

Week Six: 10 miles

Week Seven: 6 miles

Week Eight: 12 miles

Week Nine: 6 miles

Week 10: RACE 13.1

As you train for the half-marathon, listen to your body. Back off and target the 10-K instead if you feel fatigue, aches, or pains that don’t subside after a few days or you feel overwhelmed or stressed out over mileage.

Best Wishes! Susan Paul, MS

Susan Paul has coached more than 2,000 runners and is an exercise physiologist and program director for the Orlando Track Shack Foundation. For more information, visit www.trackshack.com.

Have a question for our beginners experts? E-mail it to [email protected] NOTE: Due to the volume of mail, we regret that we cannot answer every e-mail.

Completing a trail half marathon is an achievable goal for almost anyone, with a little bit of structured training. David Roche, a running coach, founder of the popular training program Some Work, All Play, and coauthor of The Happy Runner, has plenty of experience preparing rookie and elite athletes for race day. Below he shares his strategies and offers a sample training plan for runners hoping to put in their first 13-miler (give or take a bit) on trail. Roche’s goal for his athletes isn’t just to finish the race—it’s to have fun throughout the entire process, from day one of training all the way through to the finish line.

Contents

Training Principles

Whether you’re running on a trail or a road, the same basic training principles apply. To progress over the long term, reach your full potential, and stay injury-free, you must first build your aerobic base, then develop your ability to maintain a faster pace for a longer duration, and only then, if you wish to optimize your performance, do you dive into high-intensity training. In practice, this is simpler than it sounds.

1. Run Often

The ultimate paradox of running is that you can get faster over time by running slowly. Professionals and recreationists alike should spend the bulk of their training at an easy pace to bolster their aerobic capacity. Easy runs strengthen the musculoskeletal system, stimulate growth in the circulatory system to better supply oxygen and fuel to muscles, and increase the ratio of slow-twitch-to-fast-twitch muscle fibers for endurance, among other adaptations. With a solid aerobic base, you can begin to handle harder workouts.

If you’re new to distance running, or fresh off the couch from a running hiatus, start with short runs, anywhere from one to three miles, and try to build up to four or five runs per week. For the time-crunched athlete, or those who are just starting out, your runs can be as short as ten minutes, or you can alternate between running and walking as needed. What’s important is that you get out regularly.

Easy running is defined by perceived exertion—how you feel in the moment—and not speed. An easy pace means that you can hold a conversation. If you’re on trails, at first that might mean running the flats and walking the hills. “If you need to recover from the run,” says Roche, “it wasn’t an easy day.”

Pro tip: ditch the GPS watch. “I think removing metrics of evaluation from your running life is the best thing you can do for your long-term mental health and physical progress,” says Roche. Easy is as easy feels, not what the watch says. “The body and brain don’t respond to numbers, they respond to stress.”

Ideally, you want to slightly increase your training volume every week—around one to four miles—with the occasional reduced week for recovery. If this is your first half marathon, try to reach at least ten miles on trail as a minimum for your longest training run, and make eight-mile runs routine. Taper off two weeks before the race by reducing your overall running volume by 10 to 30 percent while maintaining the same volume of intensity, such as speed work.

2. Run Fast

Introducing speed work will help improve your running economy and overall pace for the same level of perceived exertion. As you improve your speed, your easy runs will feel just as easy, but you’ll be going faster without realizing it. Speed work doesn’t replace easy runs but should be mixed in one to three times per week, usually during the second half of a run.

Roche’s go-to speed workout involves strides, short bursts of fast running (usually 15 to 30 seconds) with easy running in between (one to two minutes) for close to a full recovery. These are done in back-to-back sets and might look like: twenty seconds fast, two minutes easy, twenty seconds fast, two minutes easy, and so on for four or more sets. For the fast portion, you want to run at the fastest pace you can sustain for two to four minutes, or roughly 80 to 90 percent of your maximum speed. Once you can run 15 miles total in one week, you can mix in strides two to three times per week.

When you’re starting out, do strides uphill (ideally on a consistent 6 to 8 percent grade), because this reduces the impact forces on your joints and bones. As your body adapts to the stresses, you can progress to doing strides on flats, which is better for speed training.

“This forms a positive feedback loop with aerobic development,” says Roche. “As you introduce strides, your easy miles will get a little faster, so your aerobic system develops even more, which then lets you run even stronger on the strides.”

3. Run Everywhere

Strive for a balance between road and trail running in training. Trail running involves biomechanical strains that road running does not—you’re running up and down hills, stepping over roots and rocks, and dealing with uneven footing. Trail running is also slower and less efficient than road running. Every time you adjust your stride for an obstacle or turn, your power output and pace drops.

“During the week, when schedules are busy, run roads, dirt paths, and whatever’s convenient,” says Roche. “But on the weekends, make your runs an event. Do all of your long runs on trails that are close as possible to what you’re going to be racing on.”

If your race is on a hilly course, focus your trail days on running the downhills efficiently. The uphills might feel harder, but when you run downhill, your calves and quads act as shock absorbers and are subject to higher levels of strain. “Uphills are just a byproduct of aerobic fitness and speed. The faster you are, the better you’re going to be at climbing,” says Roche. But downhills involve eccentric loading—when muscles elongate under a load rather than contract. “That’s where muscle damage happens,” he says. “If you’re not prepared for downhills, your legs are going to be a puddle of Jell-O after the first hill on race day.”

4. Run for Fun

Draft a training plan (see the sample schedule below), and try to stick to it, but don’t get stressed if you fall short of your mileage goals or miss a day here and there. Work, life, and kids can often get in the way of a systematic training plan. “Do what you can when you can, especially if you’re busy,” says Roche. If you miss a day, you can try to make it up later if you feel refreshed enough, but it’s often better to skip the day and continue on with the plan. If you miss two or more days in a given week, repeat the week.

“Getting too focused on the day-to-day mechanics of your training plan often adds another stress that makes the training less effective anyway,” Roche says. “The body doesn’t adapt in states of chronic, high stress, and it doesn’t differentiate between the source of stress—whether that’s running or parenting or work or anything else. If you feel fatigued for more than one or two days in a row, then we need to change the approach. We need to back off.”

So take the pressure off, and remember—you’re doing this because it’s fun. Race day should not be an event to fear but a day to celebrate your hard work.

The Ten-Week Training Plan

For a healthy individual who can run four miles in an hour, ten weeks is a reasonable time frame to prepare for a trail half marathon, and six weeks should be the minimum, Roche says. Off the couch, you might want to add a few extra weeks to ease back into the rhythm and allow your musculoskeletal system to adapt to the impacts of running. If you’re trying to optimize performance and crush a race, an ideal length of time to train is closer to three or four months.

Everyone is different, and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training plan. The sample schedule, below, crafted by Roche, should serve as an example to get you started on your own plan. Use this or a similar structure, and adjust the mileage and workouts based on your current fitness level, schedule, and goals.

Week 1 (15 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Two miles easy
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy; then six sets of 30-second hill strides at a moderate-to-hard speed (perceived exertion), with 90-second easy recovery between sets; and then another two miles easy. On the hill strides, ideally on a 6 percent to 8 percent grade, think: powerful and fast. You’ll be winded at the top.
  • Thursday: Two miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Four miles easy on trails
  • Sunday: Two miles easy, plus four sets of 20-second hill strides at a moderate-to-hard pace. Do the strides sometime during the second half of your run (example: run a mile out, complete the strides, run a mile back)—this goes for all future speed workouts as well. (All Sunday runs should ideally be on trails, too.)

Week 2 (18 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Two miles easy, plus four sets of 30-second hills at a moderate-to-hard speed (with one to two minutes of easy recovery running between sets).
  • Wednesday: Four miles easy. In the second half of the run, add six reps of fast 20-second intervals followed by two minutes of easy running. On these flat strides, think smooth and fast, the quickest you can go without sprinting
  • Thursday: Two miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Five miles easy on trails
  • Sunday: Two miles easy, plus four reps of 20-second hill repeats at a moderate-to-hard pace (with one to two minutes of easy recovery running between sets) in the second half of the run.

Week 3 (20 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Three miles easy
  • Wednesday: Five miles easy, with eight reps of thirty-second intervals at a fast pace followed by 90 seconds of easy running (in the second half of the run). You’re bordering on tougher workouts now, and this should be tiring.
  • Thursday: Two miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Six miles easy on trails
  • Sunday: Four miles easy, with four sets of 20-seconds fast, two minutes easy intervals (in the second half of the run)

Week 4 (21 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Two miles easy plus four sets of twenty-second hill repeats at a moderate-to-hard pace (in the second half of the run)
  • Wednesday: Five miles easy with eight intervals of 30 seconds fast, one minute easy (in the second half of the run)
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Six miles easy on trails
  • Sunday: Four miles easy with four intervals of twenty seconds fast, two minutes easy (in the second half of the run)

Week 5 (25 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Three miles easy
  • Wednesday: Six miles at an easy-to-moderate pace over hills. You can run the ups and down a bit slower.
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Eight miles at an easy-to-moderate pace on trails. Run the downhills well!
  • Sunday: Four miles easy plus four thirty-second hill repeats at a fast pace (in the second half of the run)

Week 6 (22 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Three miles easy with four sets of intervals: 20-seconds fast, one minute easy (in the second half of the run)
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by ten sets of intervals: one minute fast, one minute easy. Then run two more easy miles. On the first five longer intervals, run at your 5k race pace, then pick it up for the last five.
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Six miles easy on trails
  • Sunday: Four miles easy with four sets of intervals: 20 seconds fast, two minutes easy (in the second half of the run)

Week 7 (26 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Four miles easy with four sets of intervals of 20 seconds fast, two minutes easy (in the second half of the run)
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by eight sets of intervals: two minutes fast, one minute easy. Then run two more easy miles. Maintain a 5k pace during the intervals. This will be tough at first!
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Eight miles on trails at an easy-to-moderate pace with strong downs. In the middle, do 20-minutes at a moderate pace, ideally one you could hold for one hour
  • Sunday: Four miles easy

Week 8 (29 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Four miles easy with four sets of intervals: 20 seconds fast followed by one minute easy (in the second half of the run)
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by five sets of intervals: three minutes running uphill at a moderate-to-hard pace, three to four minutes of easy running back down. Then run two miles at a moderate pace.
  • Thursday: Four miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 10 miles at an easy-to-moderate pace on trails. Focus on running the uphills well.
  • Sunday: Four miles easy

Week 9 (30 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Four miles easy
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by 20 minutes at a moderate-to-hard pace you could hold for an hour, then two miles easy.
  • Thursday: Four miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 12 miles at an easy-to-moderate pace on trails with strong downhills. Sandwich 30 minutes at a moderate-to-hard pace in the middle.
  • Sunday: Four miles easy

Week 10 (26 miles total):

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Four miles easy with four sets of intervals: twenty seconds fast, two minutes easy (in the second half of the run)
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by eight sets of intervals: three minutes at a one-hour effort pace, one minute of recovery. Then two easy miles. Cruise the intervals!
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Eight miles at an easy-to-moderate pace on trails, with strong downhills
  • Sunday: Three miles easy

Race Week:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Three miles easy
  • Wednesday: Two miles easy, followed by 15 minutes at a moderate-to-hard pace, then two miles easy
  • Thursday: Three miles easy
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Two miles easy, in the morning
  • Sunday: Trail Half Marathon celebration!

Filed To: RunningWorkoutsMarathonAthletesExercisesTrail Running Lead Photo: Lars Schneider/Tandem

10-Week Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan

Target time: Whatever you can manage

This plan is for you if: If you’re not a regular runner but you’ve taken the plunge and signed up for a half marathon that’s in ten weeks. This plan will get you in shape by the time the starting gun fires.

This ten-week plan from Soar running coach Ben Noad will take you from the couch to 21.1km via a very gradual build up in your training that will help you avoid getting injured. There are four sessions a week on the plan, but many of these will be short, or a mix of running and walking.

There are two options for each training day. The first is the recommended session if you’re in tip-top shape, and the second is a back-up plan if you’re short on time or feeling especially tired. Noad has also provided coaching pointers throughout.

The plan uses “Soar paces” to explain how fast to run in each session. These range from Soar pace 1, which is a comfortable relaxed pace where you can hold a conversation with ease, to Soar pace 5, which is a sprinting pace that you can only sustain for two minutes or so.

In between you have gradual increases in intensity. So Soar pace 2 is faster than 1, but still a pace you can hold for long periods comfortably. Soar pace 3 will be around your half marathon or marathon effort, in that it can be held for long periods but you are working quite hard. Soar pace 4 is faster still – around the effort level you’d put in when running a 5K or 10K race, so pretty tough going even in fairly short bursts.

Your five Soar paces should be personal and reflect your fitness level, and they can also change from day to day depending on how fatigued you are or the terrain you’re running on. It’s about the effort level rather than speed – there’s no point in overdoing it to smash your easy Monday session if it leaves you with nothing in the tank for the rest of the week.

Week 1

Monday

2 x 8min run at Soar pace 1 with 4min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 6min run at Soar pace 1 with 3min walk between to recover

Coaching points: This is the first session of the plan so have some fun and remember, you can’t run too slow.

Tuesday

Rest

Wednesday

10-15min continuous running at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 8-12min continuous running at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: You’re looking to run without stopping so it’s important to set off at a very easy pace.

Thursday

Rest

Friday

2 x 12min run at Soar pace 1 with 4min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 10min run at Soar pace 1 with 3min walk between to recover

Coaching points: You’re going a little longer in this session but should be able to talk throughout – if you can’t you are running too hard.

Saturday

Rest

Sunday

10-12min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 8-10min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: A short run to end your first race week of training. One week down!

Week 2

2 x 10min run at Soar pace 1 with 4min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 8min run at Soar pace with 3min walk between to recover

Coaching points: Try to run on grass or trails. It’s much better for your body.

Rest

14-18min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 10-14min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: You’re running a bit further here so it’s even more important to take it at a very easy pace.

Rest

2 x 14min run at Soar pace 1 with 4min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 11min run at Soar pace 1 with 3min walk between to recover

Coaching points: The longest total time running so far. Mix up the route you run to keep you mentally fresh throughout.

Rest

10-15min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 8-12min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: This is a recovery day. You’re looking to bring all the week’s training together.

Week 3

2 x 12min run at Soar pace 1 with 3min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 10min run at Soar pace 1 with 2min walk between to recover

Coaching points: You’ll notice the recovery between the two runs is starting to reduce.

Rest

20-24min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 14-18min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: You’re starting to log longer distances now. At this point it’s not uncommon to be experience some muscle soreness and fatigue. To help counter this, purchase a foam roller and roll your legs on it for 5min a day.

RECOMMENDED: The Foam Roller 101

Rest

2 x 15min run at Soar pace 1 with 2-3min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 12min run at Soar pace 1 with 2min walk between to recover

Coaching points: The recovery time between runs is coming down sharply now. Adjust the intensity levels accordingly so you can complete both runs.

Rest

15-18min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 10-12min run at Soar pace 1

Week 4

2 x 15min run at Soar pace 1 with 2min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 2 x 12min run at Soar pace 1 with 90sec walk between to recover

Rest

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 6 x 90sec at Soar pace 2, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 6 x 1min at Soar pace 2, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Coaching points: Try to use an out-and-back course for the intervals. That means complete the first interval, then turn around and retrace your steps for the second interval. The key to all interval sessions is to remain consistent, so this helps you to cover a similar distance in a similar time each go. Before you start the intervals, think about your pace and whether you can you hold it for the entire session. The benefit of the session comes in the second half so try to manage your effort accordingly.

Rest

15min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 12min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: This is a recovery day. Take the chance to just enjoy your running.

Rest

20-35min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 16-22min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: Sunday’s now becoming a longer run day. This helps to build the endurance necessary for completing a half marathon.

Week 5

2 x 15min run at Soar pace 1 with 1min walk between to recover

Alternative session: 20min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: This is the last Monday run with recovery walks!

Rest

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 5 x 2min at Soar pace 2 or 3, with 2min walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 5 x 90sec at Soar pace 2 or 3, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Coaching points: This is in the same format as last week’s session – and will be repeated throughout the plan – so remember to use an out and back course, and keep the pace consistent.

Rest

15-18min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 12-15min run at Soar pace 1

Run your local free 5K parkrun and set a benchmark time. 5min warm up and 5min warm down at Soar pace 1. (No alternative session)

Coaching points: I recommend parkruns because they’re a fun, friendly environment for your first real timed test – you get a chance to see what you can do.

Rest

Week 6

30-35min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 20-25min run at Soar pace 1

Rest

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 4 x 3min at Soar pace 2 or 3, with 2min walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 5 x 2min at Soar pace 2 or 3, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Rest

20min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 12-15min run at Soar pace 1

Rest

45-60min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 35-45min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: Hydrate well before you start this run and eat a good breakfast – one that you’ll eat on race day. Porridge is a great source of energy.

Week 8

Foam roller session

35-40min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 20-30min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: Hopefully these runs are starting to feel a little easier now.

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 7 x 1km at Soar pace 3 (aim for your parkrun pace), with 2-3min walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 6 x 2-3min at Soar pace 3, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Rest

20-25min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 15-18min run at Soar pace 1

Rest

Sign up for a 10K event and race it all out. 5min warm up and 5min warm down at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 60-80min run at Soar pace 1. Feel free to walk at points if needed.

Coaching points: Hydrate well before you start this run and consider taking an energy gel halfway through either session.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Running Gels

Week 9

Foam roller session

35-40min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 20-30min run at Soar pace 1

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 3 x 3km at the pace you ran the 10K at the weekend, with 5min walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 4 x 2km at Soar pace 3, with 4min walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Rest

20-25min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 15-18min run at Soar pace 1

75-90min run at Soar pace 1. Take two to three 1min walking breaks to help you hit the target time

Alternative session: 60-80min run at Soar pace 1. Take two to three 1min walking breaks to help you hit the target time

Coaching points: This is the last long run before the half marathon. Use the kit and shoes you will use for the race to avoid any nasty surprises on the day. Take one to two energy gels on this run.

Rest

Week 10

25-30min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 20-25min run at Soar pace 1

Coaching points: We’re in the tapering phase, reducing the amount you run, to make sure you’re as fresh as possible for race day.

Rest

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 10 x 1min at the Soar pace 3 or 4, with 90sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Alternative session

  • 5min warm-up at Soar pace 1
  • 10 x 45sec at Soar pace 3 or 4, with 75sec walk to recover in between efforts
  • 5min warm-down at Soar pace 1
  • 5min of stretching, focusing on the hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings

Rest

15-25min run at Soar pace 1

Alternative session: 12-15min run at Soar pace 1

Rest

Race day! 5min warm up at Soar pace 1

10-Week Half Marathon Training Program

I’ve done a little research on half marathon training programs for beginners. I found the Beginner’s Half Marathon Training Schedule written by Christine Luff, About.com Guide, to be a good program that I could easily personalize. Here’s what I’ve mapped out:

Print out the training schedule!

Personalize Your Program

What I love most about running is there are NO RULES! It’s all about what works for you. Forget about offense, defense, halftime, and keeping score. During your run, you are your only competition. You have the freedom to personalize your training program based on your work schedule, family life, and personal interests.

I’ve decided to shave down my training program from the original to just 10 weeks. My burnout potential is high and I need the accountability of a realistic 10-week program. I’m planning to run three times per week at most, and then cross train two times per week. Do you like yoga? If so, I suggest keeping it in your training mix. I’m going to attend a yoga class once a week for deep stretching and strengthening. Plus, it’s low-impact and easy on the joints.

Utilize rest days

From now on, I’ll take full advantage of rest days! Our bodies need rest days them to recover and repair muscles while growing stronger. Without rest, you won’t see much improvement. Think of it like this, “Rest is to training, as sleep is to life. Invest in the down time and your body will reward you with stronger performances down the road,” reports Coach Jenny Hadfield of Active.com.

Going forward, I’ll continue doing one “long run” on Saturdays. And Fridays will always be rest days. I’ll likely add a second rest day during the week, too, depending on my schedule and how my body is feeling. Again, personalize the program for you!

Don’t Forget The Basics

In comparison to most other sports, running is incredibly inexpensive. The only real must-have in my opinion is a good pair of running shoes. Check out your local running store to find the best fit for your foot. I also highly recommend investing in a few pairs of high quality socks to prevent blisters. My favorite is the dri-fit cushion cut by Nike. Don’t be fooled by fancy clothing. You can rock any old pair of shorts and a cotton t-shirt and still kick butt. I know this because I once got passed by an elder rocking a vintage track suit. A humbling moment for me!

What training program are you using?

Please share any advice or comments on marathon training. I’d love to hear from you!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Whether you’re a treadmill trotter or a road warrior, this training plan will get you across the finish line.

Designed by Kim Maxwell, a USA Track and Field coach and personal trainer in Minneapolis-St. Paul, this program won’t make you drop everything for running. You’ll log miles three days a week, cross-train three days a week, and rest the remaining day. The running workouts are focused and efficient, and because they’re limited, your legs and head will stay fresh, making it less likely you’ll become injured or burned out.

If you’re a newbie, don’t hesitate to mix walk breaks into your runs (for example, run two to three minutes, then walk 30 to 60 seconds). “What’s important is that you’re moving forward—it doesn’t matter if it’s walking or running,” says Maxwell.

To all runners: Listen to your body. Add an extra rest day or take an additional cross-training day when you need it.

CT: Cross-Train
Do 30 minutes. Pick an activity that elevates your heart rate, such as biking, swimming, power walking, or using the elliptical.

TT: Time Trial
Warm up for one mile, running at a very easy pace. Then time yourself at a comfortably fast pace (not all-out) for two miles. Note your time and try to beat it at your next time trial.

R&R Run: Rest & Recovery Run
Run three to four miles at an easy pace. Every fourth week will be for recovery–a rejuvenating time to scale back intensity.

INT: Intervals, 3.5 Miles
Run one mile easy, then for the next two miles, alternate either one minute of harder effort with one minute of easy recovery jogging or two minutes of harder effort with one minute of jogging. Cool down with half a mile at an easy pace.

T: Tempo Runs, 3–4 Miles
Get ready to pick up the pace (you can talk, but no more than a few words at a time) for a portion of your workout. Do one mile at your normal pace, then add the tempo somewhere in the middle. Finish at your normal pace.

Get race-ready in just 10 weeks with the Big Book of Marathon & Half Marathon Training!

This 10-week, sub-1.50 half-marathon training plan takes you up to a regular 40 miles a week, though many runners would still be able to do themselves justice by substituting one easy run for a rest day and running closer to 35 miles a week.

What different training sessions are involved?

The key here is to get used to good-quality sessions, particularly repetition runs, where you are running fast (at about 10K pace) for several minutes at a stretch.

Train like a pro

Slightly less strenuous are the ‘zapping’ sessions, which are a type of interval training. You put in a fast burst lasting either 30 seconds or one minute, then drop to a steady jog to recover for the next one. If you don’t like using a watch, you can base the burst on a certain number of strides; 50 double strides are equivalent to a 30-second burst.

You’re allowed one low-mileage week to let your body absorb the training. This can be taken at any point in the schedule, but it’s best to do it when you have a race at the end of the week.

Do you know the difference?

What you do in the last two weeks depends very much on how your body has reacted to Weeks 7 and 8. If you’re feeling tired, take Week 9 very easily. The Week 10 schedule is very light, and by the time the race comes around, you should be fully recovered and feeling bouncy.

The most useful thing you can do in these weeks is to get your pace judgement right. Work out the pace you need to achieve your best possible race time. Practise this over a measured mile, in your racing shoes, so that you know what it feels like. The first mile of your race should not be faster than this. The closer you can get to level pace, the more efficiently you will be running.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
WEEK 1 5M easy 5M, a little faster than Mon 5M, inc 15 mins of 30 secs fast, 60 secs jogging 5M easy, off-road Rest 5M easy, inc some strides 7-8M easy
WEEK 2 4M easy 6M steady, on a hilly course 5M, inc 16 mins of 1 min fast, 1 min jogging 5M easy Rest Warm up, then 3M fast (timed). Warm down 7-8M easy
WEEK 3 4M easy 6M steady, finishing faster 4M easy Warm up, then 8 x 90 secs fast, 90 secs slow Rest Warm up, then 4 x 800m (or 4 x 3 mins), with 3-min recovery jogs 7-8M slow
WEEK 4 4M easy 6M, fairly fast Repetitions: 4 x 3 mins fast, with 2-min recoveries 5M easy Rest 1M jog, then 5M fairly fast, then 1M jog 10M slow
WEEK 5 5M easy, off-road 6M, starting slow, finishing faster 3 x 5 mins fast, with 5-min jog recoveries 5M easy, inc 6 x 150m fast strides Rest or 3M jog 2M slow, then 1M fast, then 2M slow Warm up, then 10K race or 5M pace run (timed)
WEEK 6 5M easy 5M, inc 16 x 1 min fast, 1 min slow 2 x 2M (approx), timed, at threshold pace 5-6M easy Rest or 3M jog 1M easy, then 4-5M fairly fast, then 1M jog 10M steady
WEEK 7 5M easy, off-road if possible Rest 8M, fairly fast 4M easy Rest or 3M jog 4M on grass, inc 6 x 200m strides Warm up, then 10K race. Warm down
WEEK 8 5M easy, off-road 6M steady, inc bursts up hills 3 x 1M (or 3 x 5 mins), with 5-min recoveries 5M easy 5M easy 6-7M, inc 10 x 30 secs fast, 30 secs slow 10-12M steady
WEEK 9 5M easy 5M, inc 16 x 1 min fast, 1 min slow Warm up, then 2 x 2M (approx), timed, at threshold pace 5-6M easy Rest or 3M jog 1M easy, then 4-5M fairly fast, then 1M jog 10M steady
WEEK 10 5M easy 6-7M at a comfortable pace Warm up, then 2M at race pace, then 2M jog 5M easy, inc 6 x 30 secs fast Rest 3M, in race kit Race day

How to prepare for a half-marathon:

Although nothing like as taxing as a full marathon, the 21K distance does need to be treated with respect, particularly if the weather is hot. You should finish your breakfast three hours before the start, but there is nothing wrong with drinking tea, coffee, water or squash up to an hour before the start, and if it is really hot, experts suggest drinking half a pint of water five minutes before the start. Don’t drink half an hour before the start, or you’ll be bursting for a pee while waiting for the gun!

If you’re aiming to run fast, you should go through a gentle warm-up routine during the 20 minutes leading up to the start – jogging, stretching and striding. If you’re doing an event with a large field, you’ll probably find yourself running very fast in the first mile, so try to keep warm and loose during the final few minutes when you are wedged in the crowd.

Not the right training plan for you? Take a look at our half-marathon training plans for every level of runner here.

If you’re a Kevin Hart fan, you probably saw he’s tackling his moonshot goal of running the NYC marathon in November.

If his venture gave you some serious fitness motivation of your own, but you’re not quite ready to go the full 26.2 miles, set your eyes on a half marathon.

Still a tremendous feat of endurance, half marathons are more feasible feats for guys who are completely new to running or those who’ve sidelined their running kicks for, say, CrossFit or MMA training.

Regardless of your skill level and the type of race in which you’re competing, we understand that training can be a bit daunting and difficult to stick to—which is why we turned to Patti Finke, exercise physiologist, certified run coach, and chairperson of the Road Runners Club of America coaching committee. She’s created an expedited training plan for people who don’t have the time to train for a half marathon for months on end. Whether you made an impromptu decision to join a half or just don’t want to spend that much time away from the gym, consider this your 10-week program.

One thing to keep in mind: “Going from not running to training for a half marathon in 10 weeks can be risky,” Finke says. “You need to be cautious about going too fast, too far, too soon.” As long as you follow this blueprint, fuel right (aka get enough carbs to refuel post-run), then everything should go off without a hitch. And if this is your first race, then maybe it’s best to have a goal of finishing the race without walking (rather than trying to break the world record).

Directions

Start each run with a five-minute warmup walk at a comfortable pace, then cool down with some light jogging, stretching, and foam rolling. Rest on days 2, 4, 6, and 7 (except for week 5, when you’ll do cross-training on day 7).

Day 1 Day 3 Day 5
Week 1 2 miles 2 miles 2 miles
Week 2 2 miles 2 miles 3 miles
Week 3 2 miles 2 miles 4 miles
Week 4 2 miles 2 miles 5 miles
Week 5 3 miles 2 miles 5 miles
Week 6 3 miles 3 miles 7 miles
Week 7 4 miles 3 miles 8 miles
Week 8 4 miles 4 miles 10 miles
Week 9 4 miles 4 miles 10 miles
Week 10 4 miles 2 miles RACE

Training tips: Week 1

During week 1, run at a comfortable pace. “Judge your pace by breathing,” Finke says. Take four steps as you breathe in, then four steps as you breathe out. Slow down if you’re breathing faster. Practice deep belly breathing when you’re not running, then use it mid-workout. “You should be able to talk in complete sentences,” Finke says. “If you’re gulping air, getting only 3-4 words out before you need to breathe, slow down.” You shouldn’t be panting. Stop and walk for a minute. “It’s always OK to add in some walk breaks whenever you’re feeling stressed or out of breath,” Finke adds.

“The secret to running longer distances is to start slowly, and maintain an easy pace,” Finke says. Practice staying in control and being disciplined with your warmup, cool-down walks, and stretching, too. They should be consistent all through the program.

Week 3 & 5

You can add 20-30 minutes of cross training—hop on a bike, rower, or elliptical—on one of your rest days if your legs aren’t too fatigued, Finke says.

“Your pace should be slower on the longer-mileage training days to be able to complete the distance,” Finke says. Again, watch your breathing. You want controlled strides and breathing—nothing frenetic.

Week 7

On the three-mile day, add in some one-minute bouts of slightly faster running for the middle two miles, Finke suggests.

Week 8 & 9

During one of the four-mile days, add in some one-minute bouts of slightly faster running for the middle two miles, Finke recommends. “Stay controlled so you’re able to add the two miles to the long run in these weeks,” she says.

Start the race at a long-run training pace, then run that for six miles. “If it feels good, speed up slightly (e.g. about 10 seconds per mile for the next six miles) and breathe so you’re inhaling for three steps, exhaling for three steps,” she adds. On the last mile, run as fast as you think you can. Hasten your breathing to two steps in, two steps out. Sprint when you see the finish line approximately 10-20 meters out (one step per breath), then celebrate a damn good achievement.

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Congratulations! 13.1 miles to go! Relax, whether you are an experienced runner or a novice, we shall walk (and run!) with you in this 10 week half marathon training program.

This simple article will give you a detailed 10 week half marathon training schedule to follow and offer some simple tips to avoid common mistakes when training for your half marathon.

Basic Terms Used in Training

These terms may seem obvious to some but we shall cover them anyway so you know exactly what they mean for you.

Pace

Run at a pace where you can hold a conversation using complete sentences without gasping for air. Don’t focus on how fast you run during workout sessions.

If you are wearing a heart rate monitor, 65 to 75 percent of your maximum pulse rate should be your target zone.

Distance

Pick a neighborhood or course where you want to train and focus on coming close to the scheduled distances as per the half marathon training schedule. You can always talk to other runners and ask for tips on good areas for running.

Rest

Rest is critical for your body to recover and repair itself. Resting before and after your long weekend runs optimizes your fitness levels.

Long Runs

Long runs are the key to this 10 week half marathon training program. Progressively increasing your distance each weekend will help to cover 13.1 miles before race day.

Cross Training

Cross training exercises include cycling, swimming, aerobics, elliptical training, skiing, snowshoeing and a combination of these which builds resistance and physical strength.

Walking

Walking is a great form of exercise to include in your workouts and is beneficial when you’re feeling tired and need a break.

Strength Training

If you are an experienced weights lifter, continue with your strength training but taper off towards the end of the training schedule. If you’ve never done weights before, now is not the time to start.

Racing

Consider familiarizing yourself with the feeling of being in a race by doing a couple of short races at the end of week six and week nine.

Juggling

This training schedule is flexible. Juggle the workouts from week to week and from day to day as long as you remain consistent with your training.

Whether this 10 week half marathon training is geared for a single accomplishment or as a stepping stone to a full marathon, completing the race will you give an incredible sense of accomplishment. Good luck with your training.

Let’s get started…

10 week half marathon training schedule
Mondays

Mondays are rest days. Rest is critical for recovery and repair to minimize injuries. Don’t ignore rest days.

Tuesdays and Thursdays

After your warm up exercises, run the designated distance at a moderate pace. Cool and stretch after your run.

Wednesdays

Some Wednesdays are also designated either as rest days or cross training days. Do cross training activity for 30-45 minutes.

Fridays

Do a moderate to easy cross training activity for 30-45 minutes. If feeling lethargic, take a rest day.

Saturdays

Do your long slow distance run.

Sundays

This is an active recovery day. Do a short easy run to loosen your muscles. You can also cross train or do a run/walk combination.

10 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 2.5 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3 miles

Sunday: 20 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross training or Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 20-30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2.5 miles

Wednesday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 5 miles

Sunday: 20-30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 6 miles

Sunday: 20-30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 8 miles

Sunday: 20-30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 4 miles

Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Saturday: 9 miles

Sunday: 30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 10 miles

Sunday: 30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: 30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes, cross training

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Saturday: 12 miles

Sunday: 30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross training

Saturday: 5 miles

Sunday: 30 minutes easy run or 30-45 minutes cross training

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 2 miles

Wednesday: 20 minutes easy run

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 20 minutes easy run

Saturday: Race Day!

Sunday: Rest Day!

Tips to Avoid Common Half Marathoner Mistakes
1. Don’t run a half marathon as your first race

We always prefer to see runners completing shorter races like a 5k or 10k race before moving up to the 13.1 miles half marathon.

The half marathon race is already a challenge without the added stress of a cheering crowd, drinking at refreshment stops, etc.

2. Not sure if you can beat the cut-off time? Don’t enter the race.

Half-marathons typically average 3 hours. Most races have a cut-off time by which all participants should have crossed the finish line.

If you don’t trust your time, look for races that are friendly to slow runners and walkers.

3. Remember to hydrate

We’ve talked to short distance runners who never hydrated during their training runs or races. For a short distance, you can get away with not hydrating.

For half marathon training and races, you must hydrate properly. You should never feel thirst. Drink lots of water especially during your long runs.

Remember, you’ll know you’re properly hydrated when your urine color is light yellow.

4. Don’t quit

It is not easy training for a half marathon and there will be times you’ll consider throwing in the towel. Don’t do it. Fight the temptation and keep training, keep running.

Remember why you’re doing the half marathon training. Remain steadfast even on race day.

When you feel like giving up, dig deep, stay mentally strong and push to the finish.

5. Be prepared for your long runs

Your long run days are critical in your half marathon training. Eat and drink properly the days before the long run.

Get a good night sleep and hydrate properly to fuel the body during your run.

6. Don’t ignore pain

Post-run muscle soreness is common during running. However pain that worsens after your run or affects your running or even walking is a sign that something is wrong in your body.

Don’t assume all pain is normal in half marathon training. Take time off training when you get an injury and rest. Pushing through despite injury will most likely make it worse.

7. Don’t skip cross training

Too much running can lead to burnout and injury. Doing your cross training activities supplements your running.

10 week half marathon training is more than just logging miles. Cross training builds your strength for the long runs and boosts your overall fitness level.

8. Don’t aim too high (for your first half marathon)

Finishing a half marathon is an incredible milestone. Don’t focus too much on your personal time. Simply focus on completing your first 13.1 mile half marathon race!

9. Don’t ignore rest days

Rest! We cannot stress this enough. Rest days are crucial for you to recover from the stress of running.

Giving your body a break also reduces injuries such as stress fractures and shin splits. A rest day also gives you a mental break so you don’t lose your motivation by running every day.

10. Don’t do too much too late

We’ve all come across stories of amateur runners who tried running half marathons with little or no training beforehand. Don’t be that guy.

Two weeks before your race should be slowing down to give your mind and body the chance to rest, recover and prepare for race day. Don’t overdo the miles the last few days.

Stick to your training schedule and you will be fine.

11. Don’t start off too fast

Do not fall into the temptation of starting out too fast because you’re feeling strong and well rested. You will burn through too much of your stored energy early in the race and your legs will feel tired much sooner.

Are you ready to start? Remember, follow your 10 week half marathon training schedule, do your cross training activities, rest adequately, eat and hydrate properly. All the best!

10-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

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, especially for experienced runners. Beginners can even use this training plan, if they stick to it faithfully.

Bear in mind that 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.

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 your ability to lengthen your miles more slowly.

We’ve included plans based on whether your race runs on a Saturday or a Sunday, so it’s a good idea to follow the one that applies to you.

10-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 2-3 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 3 miles
8 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 12 miles 2 miles
9 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 5 miles 2 miles
10 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 13.1 miles! off

10-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 miles 5 miles
2 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 2 miles 6 miles
3 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 2 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 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 2 miles 12 miles
9 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 2 miles 5 miles
10 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 2 miles 13.1 miles!

On days you don’t do training runs, consider cross-training exercises – anything from strength training to walking a few miles, which will provide the cardiovascular benefits without the pounding impact that running can cause.

Week 6: Introduce some faster running. Start to understand miles in your training and your pace.

Tues: 10 min easy run. (3 min steady run – 1 min walk) x 8. 10 min easy run = 52 min

Thurs: 10 min easy run. 2 min threshold run – 2 min walk x 4. 10 min easy run = 36 min

Sat: 1 mile run. 2 min walk x 8 = The time taken for this run will vary depending on the pace at which you cover each mile. For example, at 10minute per mile the total time will be 98 min (1hr38 min).

Week 7: Build on your now fantastic routine. This is probably the hardest of your half marathon training. The next 2 weeks hold your routine and supercharge your confidence.

Tues: 40 min easy run

Thurs: 10 min easy run. (3 min threshold run – 2 min walk) x 5. 10 min easy run. = 45min

Sat: 9 mile run. Walk as and when you feel it is necessary and appropriate for however long you feel like but cover 9 miles in total.

Week 8: You are almost there. This week is about doing your final and longest run.

Tues: 40 min easy run

Thurs: 10 min easy run. (3 min threshold run – 2min walk) x 5. 10min easy run. (Can you run this session better than the previous week? = 45 min

Sat: 11 mile run. Walk as and when you feel it is necessary and appropriate for however long you feel like but cover 11 miles in total. This run will give you the confidence that you can cover the distance on race day.

Week 9: Now it’s time to do a little less running as race day draws closer. Maintain your routine and feel strong and fresh.

Tues: 30 min easy run

Thurs. 10 min easy run. (5 min threshold run – 2 min walk) x 3. 5 min easy run = 36min

Sat: 60 min easy paced run.

Week 10: This is it. Race week is here. Relax and enjoy the fact that you’ve made it this far. Have a light week and enjoy your half marathon race.

Tues: Easy 30 min run

Thurs: Easy 20 min run

Sat: Rest

Sun: Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon

See, www.runhackney.com.

10 week half marathon training plan

Has the half marathon you signed up for slowly been sneaking up on you? Maybe you signed up for a half marathon hoping it would help turn you into a runner and now you are finding yourself dreading the looming date. Half marathon training certainly isn’t easy, but you can do it.

We have a 10 week half marathon training plan to get you prepared for your race, whether your goal is to finish it, or to PR it. If you are an avid runner your likely know the benefits of keeping a running journal, but if you are new, check out our post on why a workout journal matters, then head over to customize your own running diary. Each running diary has half marathon training plans, as well as training plans for 5k, 10k, and marathon distances.

Finding the right half marathon training plan.

The right half marathon training plan for you all depends on time. Or really, timing. If you have loads of time before your race you can choose to add mileage very slowly. If you are looking for a faster 10 week half marathon training plan you will need to be prepared to put in the miles each week, and likely be prepared for some injury along the way. 10 weeks is pretty much the bare minimum, cutting it under that is not recommended.

Putting in the miles.

It seems funny to even need to write down that you should be prepared to put in the miles during your half marathon training. It’s a half marathon. Please do not go into this thinking it will be a piece of cake. Maybe if you were the cross country track star it won’t be too bad, but if you are just a normal person you need to be prepared to put in a lot of time, and miles, into getting ready for race day. You can’t expect to show up and crank out 13.1 miles without a decent amount of training behind you. Well, I guess you might be able to expect that, but you should also expect to finish the race hurt in that case.

Taking rest days.

Every 10 week half marathon training plan (or any half marathon training plan for that matter) should have built in rest days. I, personally, prefer to have a set schedule of rest days – for example, I might rest every Monday and Friday, for all ten weeks. Having set rest days allows you to plan your days better and it prevents you from putting things off.

Making time for long runs.

Shorter runs during the week are perfect for building muscles and cardio, but to build endurance you really need to be out there for miles and miles. Saturdays are a great day for your longer runs since you don’t need to worry too much about work schedules, school schedules or the like. Your longest run in a half marathon training plan should be 11 or 12 miles, and you should do this at least twice and at least two weeks out from race day. You don’t want to put in 12 miles one weekend only to run a race the next!

Building your strength.

I mentioned rest days earlier. I probably should have called them “non-running” days. The reality of it is if you want to get ready for a half marathon in 10 weeks (give or take), you don’t have much time in the way of rest. Those “rest” days should be filled with cross training. Things like weightlifting, cycling, swimming, mobility, stretching, yoga, etc. This will help your body recover, but also keep your cardio from slipping away.

Making a pattern.

The easiest 10 week half marathon training plan is just a simple pattern. Your long weekend run (either on Saturday or Sunday) starts off at 5 miles on week 1 and increases one mile per week. So week 2 you would run 6 miles, week 3 you run 7 miles and on to week 8 where you would be running 12 miles. The second weekend day you are always running 2-3 miles.

Now, during the week you want three consecutive days (which is why I like taking Monday and Friday off). The first two weeks your three consecutive runs will be 3 miles, 4 miles, 3 miles. The next two weeks (weeks 3 and 4) you will run 4 miles, 5 miles, 4 miles. Weeks 5 and 6 you will run 5 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles. From there you will go back down the ladder in two-week sets again.

This lets you slowly build up your weekly mileage, build up to a longer run, and also taper down for race day.

You can keep track of your training plan, mileage, run stats, goals, and more in a running diary – this will help you stay on track and pinpoint weaknesses.

10 week half marathon

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