13 WEek Half marathon training schedule

I have a 13 Week Half Marathon Training Plan already for you to begin today! 

Embarking on the exciting journey of training for your first (or fiftieth!) half marathon is a monumental step toward achieving a significant fitness goal.

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Whether you're a beginner runner seeking to conquer the challenge or an experienced athlete looking for a new adventure, a well-structured 13-week training plan is your key to success and I have it for you here!

Running a half marathon is one of those achievements where you feel a huge sense of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line, however it doesn’t require the enormous time commitment that training for the full marathon distance does.

It’s such a win-win situation! 

Especially with this 13 week half marathon schedule, you will have a great starting point! 


quick overview

Each week, you will be building your weekly mileage and endurance level at an easy and achievable rate and adding on just 1 mile to your long run until you are ready for the full 13 miles in just 13 weeks time! 

They say that for any big goal, the key is to break it down into smaller, easier to achieve steps, or mini goals

One additional mile each week is definitely the perfect goal for you to set and achieve.

In just 13 weeks time, you will be crossing that half marathon finish line! 


Is this your first half marathon?

Running your first half marathon is more than just completing a long-distance race; it's a testament to your dedication, perseverance, and the desire to push your limits.

The thrill of crossing the finish line, the sense of accomplishment, and the sheer joy of conquering a goal make the first half marathon a memorable and life-changing experience. 

I just want to say, congratulations on taking the first step to achieving your dreams!

These next 13 weeks are going to fly by and you are going to have so much to show for it! 


Who is this 13 Week half marathon training plan ideal for?

13 Week Half Marathon Training Who Is This For

This plan might be the perfect fit for you if:

  • you want to run your very first half marathon
  • You are a recreational runner looking to challenge yourself with the half marathon
  • you are a seasoned runner looking for a simple, easy to follow plan!
  • you want to walk or run or run/walk the half marathon
  • you want to have a slow and steady build up of long run mileage
  • you are trying to minimize your chances of a running injury
  • you are making a comeback from a running injury and want to ease into a training program
  • you are completing the half marathon for fitness reasons versus time goals
  • you can comfortably run or walk 2 to 4 miles.


Still not sure if you are ready for a half marathon? Check out this page to determine your half marathon readiness!


the goal of this 13 week half marathon training plan

13 Week Half Marathon Training Goal

As a beginner or even first time half marathon runner, the goal of this training plan is to build your running volume and your endurance level so that you can comfortably and confidently run a half marathon in 13 weeks time.

Building your running endurance (how far you can run) is the ultimate goal of any marathon or half marathon training plan.

However, when you start focusing on finishing a half marathon within a certain time frame, the way that you train should be different than the way you would train if your goal was to finish the race in any time frame.

That is why this beginners training plan does not include speed work, or hill training workouts unless you would like to add them in - I will show you how!

Instead the focus is on building endurance so that you can get to the finish line feeling strong!


What fitness level do i need to be in order to start this training plan?

Before most runners begin a half marathon training schedule they should have some level of fitness although, even if you can’t run a mile, you can run a half marathon using this training plan!

Your risk of injury will decrease the more running (or walking!) fit that you are.

Your body will respond better to the training and make the necessary adaptations to strengthen itself towards the high intensity of running and training at a much faster rate, the more fit you are.

However, since this program gives you such a gradual buildup you could even use it as the beginning of your fitness journey if you aren’t currently walking or running.

You may find the plan a bit more arduous then a walker or runner who is used to walking or running but it is still totally do-able! Go for it!

By the way, here are the best 16 things you can do before you begin any marathon or half marathon training program.


how this 13 week half marathon plan is designed

  • Each week you will perform: 3 “easy” base runs (or 2 easy running days and 1 optional tempo run), 1 long run, 1 cross training (XT) workout, and 2 rest days.
  • Your long run will increase by 1 mile every week until you hit the half marathon starting line!
  • Your longest training run will peak at 12 miles before your half marathon race finish distance of 13.1 miles.
  • During Week 7 (half way!) you will have a reduction/recovery week where your long run mileage for that week will be greatly reduced to help your body get a bit more rest and recovery before increasing your long run the following week.
  • The total weekly miles you will run during your first week of training will be 6 miles with your long run during Week 1 being 2 miles.
  • Your highest weekly mileage will be 24 miles during Week 12.


breakdown of the scheduled workouts inside of this training plan

Your weekly scheduled long runs (that start at just 1 mile!) are the heart and soul of any half marathon or marathon training plan and this plan is no different! 

Your focus will be on building your endurance via these weekly long runs as they increase each week by just 1 mile. 


13 Week Half Marathon Training Workouts

the long run

As you will see in this 13 week half-marathon training plan, this program has a very gradual build up in how far you are running during each of your scheduled long runs.

Remember that this is to help your body keep up with the training program, avoid injury, and give you a good running base to work with.

Keep the emphasis of your training on your long training runs as they are the #1 predictor of your marathon race day success!


Recovery Day scheduled after your long run:

This is an area that is important to implement as you ask your body to do one long training run after the next from week to week.

I have a 24 hour long run recovery timeline that you can use to really help jump start your recovery process. It contains a list of things you should focus on during those first 24 hours post long run to help you feel your best and get back out there with your training the following week.


besides the long run...

Besides the long run, you also have scheduled:

Yes, this is a very basic half marathon training plan that really places emphasis solely on building your endurance in order to complete 13.1 miles.

There are no other quality workouts scheduled in this program such as hill repeats, sprints, or intervals.

This is because the main goal of the plan is to take beginner runners and have them increase their endurance in order to get them to the half marathon finish line in 13 Weeks time.

As a beginner or recreational runner, you're cutting out any extras in order to stay on top of this training plan and achieve the ultimate goal of completing the half marathon! 

Remember though, if you are a more advanced or experienced runner,  I do show you how you can incorporate speed work into this plan if you so desire.


The importance of rest days

Within the context of your half marathon training plan, rest days play a pivotal role.

They are not mere breaks; they are crucial for your body to recover, adapt, and build strength.

Rest days allow your muscles to heal, reducing the risk of injury and preventing burnout. Incorporating rest days strategically enhances your overall training effectiveness.

During this plan you will have at least 2 rest days each week with the option for a third rest day.


mental preparation during your half marathon training

The mental aspect of running is often underestimated.

Weeks of training build not only physical endurance but mental fortitude.

Visualize success, cultivate a positive mindset, and acknowledge the hard work you've invested. Mental preparation is a powerful tool on race day.

Luckily I have a Mindset Training Plan for Marathoners or Half Marathoners that will help you to develop a positive mind that powers you through your training and race instead of hindering you! 


faq about the 13 week half marathon plan

13 Week Half Marathon Training FAQ

Can I use this training plan to walk or run/walk a half marathon?

Yes! You can use this plan to run/walk a marathon!

I still recommend being able to run about 2 to 4 miles comfortably before starting.

Run/walking a marathon is such a great way to train for a marathon especially if you are:

  • an older runner
  • more susceptible to injury
  • just recovered from a running injury
  • feel overwhelmed by the idea of running the entire half marathon

Here is a guide to run/walking using the Galloway Method!


Can I switch my long run days to a different day?

If you need to run your long run on Saturday versus Sunday then simply shift everything by one day on the training plan.

For example, run your long run Saturday, do your rest day Sunday and run the first scheduled shorter run of the week on Monday.


can i add in other running workouts?

Yes, if you would like to add in some other types of running workouts, you might choose to do so on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

A good running workout to substitute on these days would be a tempo run.

You might also add in one of these running workouts if you are comfortable with doing them:

However, to get the training methodology right in incorporating these workouts, I recommend checking out one of my intermediate or advanced or even time goal half marathon training plans.

If you are a beginner, I highly recommend sticking to the training schedule as it is laid out though.


essential training tips for half marathon success!

13 Week Half Marathon Training Essential Tips

Hydration Strategies: Water Bottles and Sports Drinks

Staying properly hydrated is critical during training and on race day.

Experiment with different hydration strategies, including carrying a water bottle during longer runs and incorporating sports drinks to replenish electrolytes.

Hydration contributes to optimal performance and overall well-being.


Here are some resources for you:

How to stay well hydrated

How to carry water with you on your runs

The Best Energy Drinks for Long Distance Runners

Best Hydration Belts for Long Distance Runners


 nutrition: the role of enery chews & gels + food! 

Nutrition plays a crucial role in your half marathon journey. Energy gels and chews provide a quick and convenient source of carbohydrates during long runs, helping sustain energy levels. 

Experiment early on in your training with various gels and chews during training to identify what works best for you and avoid surprises on race day.

Half Marathon Nutrition Resources:

Energy Gels vs. Energy Chews - which ones are better + a list of recommendations

What to eat before a long run

What to eat after a long run


Setting a Comfortable, Easy Pace + Using Pace Charts & Calculators

Pacing is a key factor in half marathon success. Find a comfortable pace that allows you to maintain consistency throughout the race.

Avoid starting too fast, as pacing plays a crucial role in preserving energy for later stages.

If you do have a time goal you might want to be sure that you have invested in a proper pacing tool such as a smart watch (This guide gives you a list of of the best watches out there + discusses whether Garmin or Apple are best for runners.)

Utilize pace charts to plan your race strategy. A pace chart helps you understand the target pace for each mile or kilometer, ensuring you stay on track for your goal finish time.

Having a visual representation of your pacing strategy can be a valuable tool on race day. In fact, you can get a printable half marathon race pace band right here! 

Other resources to help with pacing:

What is the average finishing time of a half marathon runner? (broken down by age and gender)

Pace calculator for half marathon runners

Kilometer Pace Chart for half marathon runners

Heart Rate Zone Training: How to Do it and Pace yourself by it


STRENGTH TRAINING FOR RUNNING PERFORMANCE

Weight training is not only for bodybuilders; it's a valuable component of a runner's training regimen.

Building muscle strength enhances running efficiency, reduces the risk of injury, and contributes to overall athletic performance. 

If you would like to include weight or strength training inside of your 13 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule I have a series of 11 Strength Workouts for Marathon or Half Marathon runners right here that you can incorporate on your cross training days!

And yes, strength training on your cross training days is the best way to utilize that day during half marathon training!  


ICE BATHS & RECOVERY

Ice baths are a popular recovery method among runners. The cold temperature helps reduce inflammation, soothe sore muscles, and accelerate recovery. While ice baths are not mandatory, some runners find them beneficial, especially after intense training sessions.

Here is a guide to recovery after the half marathon. 

Here's a guide to the best recovery sandals for runners

Here is a great running recovery snack you might like to prep before your long runs! 


TRAIL RUNS FOR VARIETY

Adding variety to your training routine keeps things interesting and challenges your body in different ways.

Consider incorporating trail runs into your schedule. Trail running engages different muscle groups, improves balance, and offers a scenic and immersive experience.

If you are running a half marathon on a trail then trail running is highly recommended for you as much as possible! 


COMPRESSION GEAR: SUPPORT FOR YOUR MUSCLES

Compression gear, such as compression socks or sleeves, provides support to your muscles, enhances circulation, and may reduce muscle soreness.

While opinions on their effectiveness vary, some runners find compression gear beneficial, especially during long runs and recovery periods.

Here is a guide to running with compression socks.

Here is a list of the best compression socks for runners. 


Walking Breaks: listen to your body

Listening to your body is paramount during training. If needed, take walking breaks during long runs to prevent exhaustion and reduce the risk of injury. Incorporating strategic walking breaks can contribute to overall pacing and endurance.

Here is a guide to run/walking including some good run/walk ratios for you to use during your training runs or even the race itself. 


TRAINING TIPS FROM ELITE ATHLETES

Seek inspiration from elite athletes who have mastered the art of long-distance running. Their training tips, insights into mental resilience, and strategies for overcoming challenges can offer valuable guidance as you navigate your own half marathon training.

This is a great post on some wonderful training tips from elite athletes.


RULE OF THUMB: GRADUAL PROGRESSION

The rule of thumb in half marathon training is gradual progression and increasing your weekly mileage by no more that 10% from week to week.

Avoid sudden increases in mileage or intensity to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injury. Gradual progression allows your body to adapt and build strength progressively. 

This is exactly what this 13 Week Half Marathon Training schedule will give you - a slow and steady build up of mileage to decrease your risk of injury. 


WEEK BEFORE THE HALF MARATHON + RACE DAY TIPS

13 Week Half Marathon Training Week Before

Strategies for nervousness

Nervousness is a common emotion leading up to your first half marathon. It's a mix of excitement and a touch of anxiety.

Acknowledge these feelings and channel them positively. Develop pre-race rituals, trust your training, and remember that nervousness is a natural part of the process. 

Inside the Mindset Training Plan for Marathoners, there is a couple of prompts devoted entirely to prepping for race day so that you can reduce those feelings of nervousness and feel more in control!

For example, if you haven’t already, look at the race course (or drive the race course!) so that you know where the hills, aid stations, landmarks, mile markers, etc. are all located so that you can feel more in control! 


Tips for race day

On Race Day Trust your training, follow your pacing strategy, and enjoy the culmination of your hard work.

Here is a list of tips for race day success.

Be sure to rest and celebrate afterwards - acknowledge all of your hard work! 

Completing your first half marathon is a testament to your dedication and hard work. Recognize the effort you've put into training, the early mornings, the challenging runs, and the moments of self-doubt overcome.

Your journey is a reflection of your determination and perseverance.


The power of the half marathon

Realize the power the experience of running a half marathon has given you! 

While the race itself is a significant event, the whole experience encompasses much more.

The friendships forged during training, the lessons learned about your body and mind, and the newfound appreciation for your capabilities contribute to a holistic running experience.


are you ready to get started?

CONCLUSION: YOUR HALF MARATHON JOURNEY IS WAITING FOR YOU! 

Embarking on your first half marathon is not just about covering a set distance; it's about the whole experience—the ups and downs, the challenges overcome, and the joy of reaching the finish line.

Whether you're a first-time half marathoner or an experienced runner seeking a new goal, the principles outlined in this comprehensive guide provide a roadmap for success.

Your journey to the half marathon finish line is a personal and transformative experience.

Embrace the process, celebrate your progress, and savor every moment of the training and the race itself.

Remember, the finish line is not just an endpoint; it marks the beginning of a new chapter in your running journey.

As you lace up your shoes, visualize the start line, set your sights on the finish line, and relish the adventure that lies ahead.

Your first half marathon is not just a race; it's a celebration of your strength, determination, and the incredible potential within you.

Happy running!

Additional Resources:

Need a 12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan? Find that here! 


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