This 8 week half marathon training plan is great for a beginner/casual runner!
There is no speed work or hill training involved although that can be added to suit your needs if wanted.
This plan simply helps you progressively build up your long runs so that you are able to run 13.1 miles at the end of 8 weeks of training.
Yes! In 2 months you can be crossing a half marathon finish line!
And yes! There is a free training download at the bottom of this page!
Here are 5 Questions you might want to ask yourself before beginning any half marathon training plan.
However for this 8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan focus on:
1. Your Fitness Level:
2. Your Time:
I believe that anyone can train for a half marathon whether they be a walker or a runner. It does not have to be complicated nor overly intense.
However when you are focusing on the half marathon for a "shorter" amount of time (assuming that you are a beginner) then it might feel intense and your body might react differently than if you were to take your time.
Therefore, look at your schedule and calendar for the next two months and make sure that this is a realistic goal that you can devote your time too.
Don't stop there though, consider your loved one's schedules as well.
If you have children will you have the support and child care to do long runs? Does it mesh with your spouse's schedule and not create too many upsets? Is your mother having major surgery during the next 2 months?
Step back and take a look at all the pieces that will compose the following months.
If it is then it is time to...
3. Sign up for the half marathon!
Yes! I like to encourage runners to sign up for their race before they begin training or in the first few weeks of their training.
This way you have a strong motivator to help to help you stick to your running schedule!
It's not some goal that is "up in the air" but it is something that is on the calendar and is going to happen!
By "anatomy" I am talking about how this training plan is designed so that you can meet your goals.
For this 8 week training plan:
Your mileage: will increase each week by roughly 10% so as not to overly tax yourself and to allow for adjustment throughout your training.
During your first week of training you will be running a total of 13 miles. During the last week of training (Week 8) you will max out your weekly mileage at 20 miles.
Your weekly mileage will fluctuate as you find the balance between increasing your endurance and building rest into your schedule. This makes it the perfect plan for beginner half marathoners!
Your long runs are scheduled for Saturday and will increase by 2 miles each week. Here is how to run successful long runs plus a recovery timeline for once you have finished your long run for the week.
Breakdown of each week:
Week 1: is your "warm-up week" to help you get set into a routine and find what time of day works best for you, how you are going to be nutritionally eating during your training, and what your training week is going to look like.
Get into good habits during this week: lay your running clothes out each night, maybe do some easy meal prep to help you stick to healthy eating goals during the week, focus on your hydration and making sure you are drinking adequately throughout the day, gather any running gear that you might need throughout training, etc.
Week 2: Your long run is increasing here from 4 miles to 6 miles. Your shorter run mileage though will stay the same.
Week 3: Again, your shorter runs will stay at 3 miles in length but your long run will increase by another 2 miles for a total of 8 miles. Don't worry though, next week you get a break in your long run!
Weeks 4 & 7: there is a slight break in the training and you will not increase your total mileage this week. Rest is extremely important and it's all about finding that perfect balance of pushing through and challenging yourself and resting and allowing those adaptions to fully take place.
Week 6: puts you at your longest long run mileage of 11 miles before the half marathon! You have done the majority of the hard work while hopefully staying injury free!
Week 8: This is your taper week. You can read all about the benefits and why you should be tapering over here. But your mileage leading up to your half marathon is reduced.
For beginners : Schedule 3 rest days, 1 cross training (instead of one of your shorter training runs during the week), and 3 running days.
Never skip your scheduled long run! This is the biggest predictor of your half marathon success! If you must, choose to opt out of one of your shorter training runs.
For intermediates: Schedule 2 rest days, 1 cross training day (instead of one of your shorter training runs during the week), and 4 running days.
One of those running days can be a quality run if you choose. We talk all about which quality runs you should be including and what paces you personally need to be training at in order to meet your time goal in Train Faster + Smarter.
If you would like to add cross training: then see the above notes on modifying your training plan to incorporate this.
A lot of the ability of being able to run a half marathon comes from having a total body fitness level and that is why cross training is important. It gives those running muscles a break while working out other areas of your body. Try to stick to low impact aerobic activities and weight lifting during these days.
However if you have more strenuous goals such as setting a PR or even just becoming faster for this half marathon, I would focus on adding in another running day and make it a speed training workout instead of doing a cross training workout.
We also have the 6 Week Half Marathon Training Challenge schedule that takes you step by step of your half marathon training process with coaching videos, mental training techniques, recipes, and cross training challenges!