12 Week Half Marathon Training Program 
+ free printable pdf download

Finding a half marathon training program can be slightly daunting especially if this is your first half marathon race. 

You want to be sure that you find a great plan that will help you reach YOUR goals and that 13.1 mile finish line!

12 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

You probably don't want it to consume your life (like training for the full marathon distance might).

Instead you want to have fun while training, have a great race, stay healthy and continue to have a loving relationship with your running while having enough time to do all of your normal every-day things!

This 12 week half marathon training program will hopefully deliver that to you!

Be sure to get your free half marathon training program download (in both miles and kilometers!) at the bottom of this page!

If you find that you might need something different, you can see all the half marathon training plans that I offer on this page + a step by step guide of how to train for a half marathon!


WHO IS THIS 12 Week Half marathon TRAINING PLAN FOR?

I find that 12 weeks is an ideal amount of time for a half marathoner to train for, yes, even if this is your first half marathon!

Therefore, I'm going to show you below how you can modify this training plan whether you be a beginner or more experienced runner.

Of course it is best to have some running under your belt before you begin any race. 

To help you determine your readiness, here are 5 questions to help you consider if a half marathon is a good fit for you at this point in time.

To help you determine your readiness, here are 5 questions to help you consider if a half marathon is a good fit for you at this point in time.


REASONS WHY YOU WILL PROBABLY LOVE THIS TRAINING PLAN:

  • The weekly mileage is not crazy.
  • You can absolutely utilize walking breaks especially as you are building mileage. (Here's a guide on run/walking.) 
  • It only requires 3 months of training! (You can do anything over the course of 3 months! The time will pass one way or another. Why not commit to this plan?)
  • The fundamentals of this plan are based off of easy runs, rest days, and cross training and long runs. The simple way that it is laid out is perfect even for beginner or new runners while having the option to add in more training runs if you are a more experienced runner.


sign up for this free 12 week Half Marathon Training Schedule

You can also view the plan in miles at the bottom of this page. 

Anatomy of this 12 week half marathon training plan:

Let's look at what makes up this training plan and all the specific workouts (according to the specific phase of training that you will need to perform! 


Some quick notes:

The weekly maximum mileage that you will run during this training time is about 21 miles.

Going over the 13.1 distance during your training week will really help you to become a better runner at running longer distances and will allow your body to do the real work necessary to run a solid half marathon race.


The most important thing when it comes to training for a half marathon is to run your scheduled long runs.

How you perform during your long distance runs is the most important factor in determining whether or not you will have success on race day.

It is a good idea to take the extra time to fully prepare yourself, physically and mentally before you head out on any of your long runs.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

I talk a lot about this and give you practical tips on how to implement inside the ´╗┐Marathoner's Systems for Success.


Don't let the first mile of your run (or race!) dictate how your run will go.

Often times you need to push through the first mile so that you can comfortably run the rest of your schedule miles.

Nothing beats that feeling that comes at the end of a run so focus on that!


Don't forget about your nutrition!

I have a whole series on marathon nutrition right here.

I also highly recommend testing sports drinks and finding one that you love.

Your body is going to want a quick source of energy with all of the running you will be demanding out of it.

Here's a guide to finding a great energy drink as a runner. I also have this guide to energy gels and chews if your prefer something to chew or suck on while running, or even if you like to mix it up!


Rest days

As you can see by looking at the training plan, there are 3 days of rest during each training week.

This is because rest is one of the most important aspects of a training program and a great way to increase your injury prevention.

Not resting will wreak havoc on your body and bring you down from par.

Resting will not set you back, (unless of course you become an excessive rester) it will in fact make you a better, potentially faster runner and definitely healthier runner. 

If you don't have a strong running background when you begin this half marathon training program then rest can be very important for you as your body makes changes to adapt to all of the running.

If you really want to include a shorter easy run during the week and keep your rest days to 2 days per week then this is definitely an option.

Just listen to your body and give it some love if you find yourself becoming worn out.

Here is a 24 hour recovery/rest day plan! 


cross training (XT)

Cross training (or XT on the training plan) is scheduled for once a week. This does not have to be a hard workout, in fact it really shouldn't be. 

You want to push yourself more in your running than in your cross training.

Aim for about 20-40 minutes of aerobic activity or if you choose strength training then keep it to about 20-30 minutes. (If you need quick strength workouts, I have you covered with this pack of 11 strength workouts for marathon runners that even shows you how to perform combo workouts!)

The purpose of cross training is to keep building your cardiovascular system endurance while taking away the stress of running.

Cross training should consist of an aerobic activity or something a bit more anaerobic in nature such as strength training.

Make it fun and be creative - swimming, skiing, rowing, biking, dancing, attending a spin class etc.

Try and avoid stop and start activities such as tennis and soccer as this can increase your risk of injury and you don't want to encounter that.

Here are more guidelines on cross training as a runner.

Here is also a list of my favorite cross training videos for runners on YouTube!


Your long runs

Your weekly long run is scheduled for Saturday although you could potentially shift your training week in order to do it on Sunday (or really any day of the week). 

Each week you will increase your long run by 1 extra mile until you have built your endurance up to the half marathon mark!

You will want to run your long runs at a very comfortable pace as the goal is to target your cardiovascular system and solely focus on your aerobic energy pathway. Read this page on what a good long run pace should be

Be sure to never skip a long run as these are the best "practice" that you will get before the half marathon!

Here are some long run tips to help make them your best friend! 

Here is another guide on how to run your best long runs! 


Your short runs or easy runs

There are 2 short runs (these are easy runs which are performed at an easy pace) scheduled during the week to help keep your body and muscles in running mode while also helping to build running volume and maintain running fitness. 

As I mentioned previously, if you want to add in another short run to your week then feel free to do so.

What should your running pace be during these runs? 

Your pace during these runs should be at a conversational pace. It should feel easy and comfortable.

Guess what, though....somedays slow will feel easy and comfortable, and some days faster will feel comfortable.

This is why you should try to remember to keep your short runs at a conversational pace.

These shorter runs will also always be around 3-4 miles. For most runners this will be around 30-45 minutes out of your day! You got this!

The best days to add in and extra short run would be either Wednesday or Friday unless you wanted to substitute a short/ easy run for your cross training workout on Tuesday.


Final Week of Training: taper week

During the last week of this half marathon training program you are tapering your mileage so that you are well rested and energized when you show up at the start line!

Don't skip your rest days for a workout this week!

This is bad decision and one that can make all the difference on race day!

Read more about tapering before a race here.


HOW TO MODIFY THIS 12 WEEK HALF MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM

If you are a Beginner Runner or for first time half marathon runners:

The biggest suggestion I have for you is to work at your own pace and just follow the half marathon training program laid out for you. 

That means that if you feel as if you need to repeat a week then do it.

If it feels like you are pushing the pace/mileage too much then back off.

This is more important then sticking exactly with the program.

You are still following the program you are just modifying it.

Also if you want to speed it up or feel like you need to add more miles then do so.

This is YOUR plan so work through it on your own schedule.


If you are an Intermediate Runner:

If you like more variety than just short regular runs in your half marathon plan or if you have a time goal in the half marathon that you want to break then here's a good way to modify the plan.

(If you are wondering what a good half-marathon race pace is then here is breakdown of what the average half marathon race times are for males, females and older runners and even elite athletes.) 


Step 1:

 Follow the half marathon training program from Weeks 1-3. 

If you want to add in a shorter run during the week then feel free to do so.

Keep it around 3-4 miles in length.


Step 2:

2. Add in one hill repeat workout during Weeks 4-6.

You can read all about hill training and how to perform a hill repeats workout on this page.

This will help you gain strength in your legs and set you up to begin speed training during the next couple of weeks.

It's very important to always gain leg strength before doing a cycle of speed training.

It will also make your speed training much more effective the stronger you are!


Step 3:

3. Add speed workouts to Weeks 7 - 12.

I would recommend doing 1/2 mile to 1 mile interval training workouts if you were trying to reach a half marathon time goal although you could do tempo runs or fartlek runs as well especially if you were just trying to increase your speed. 

Here are instructions on how to perform and interval run. (Quick tip: you will be running at a faster pace, usually around 15 to 30 seconds faster than your goal race pace.)


What day should you include your hill or speed workout?

It is best to add your hill and speed training to either Tuesday (in place of your cross-training), Wednesday, or Thursday.

(You could add in another short run on one of those other days.)

You do not want to perform a hill workout or speed training session too close to your long run day and you also do not want to substitute an intense workout like speed or hill training for a rest day.

Your body needs that break!


your free 12 Week Half Marathon Plan

Here is a mock-up of the 12 week half marathon training program.

If it looks like a good fit for you then be sure to grab the free printable pdf download copy below this plan!

And yes, this training plan comes in both miles and kilometers! 


Where should I send your FREE half marathon training program printable download?

Good luck with your training!

I would love to hear how your half marathon goes! 




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