“Every run is a work of art, a drawing on each day’s canvas. Some runs are shouts and some runs are whispers. Some runs are eulogies and others celebrations.” – Dagny Scott Barrio

Are you ready to run your first half marathon? This Beginner Half Marathon training plan is perfect for the first-time half marathoner and those looking to gradually increase their mileage.

The training plan is 12-weeks in length. You start with a 4-mile long run in week 1 and progress to a 12-mile long run in week 10.  The focus throughout the plan is on a strategic combination of easy runs, long-distance runs, rest days, and cross-training. With this approach, your body will have time to adapt to the increases in running each week and properly prepare you to finish the 13.1-mile race.

The half marathon beginner training plan includes two optional cross-training workouts per week. These cross-training sessions allow you to incorporate other activities you enjoy with this training plan. Cross-training activities may include cycling, yoga, elliptical, swimming, or weight-lifting.

Individuals will want to choose this half marathon training plan if they have been running 3 to 4 times per week for 40 to 50-minutes each time for at least the last six months.  If you are currently running less, that is okay!  Consider starting with a 10K Training Plan and building your fitness up to take on this half marathon training schedule.

At a glance

5K Run-Walk Training Plan Terminology

The terms in the 5K Run-Walk training plan are defined inside the downloaded plan, but let me define them for you here as well.

Warm-Up: Walk for 5 minutes at an easy effort before every workout (run-walk days and cross-training days). A proper warm-up will help to gradually increase heart rate, improve circulation, loosen up muscles, and prepare you for the days workout.

Cool-Down: Walk for 5 minutes at an easy effort after every workout (run-walk days and cross-training days). A proper cool-down will help to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing rate back down to normal levels after the days workout.

Perceived Effort: A way to rate your effort level based on your feelings about the level of intensity on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 is considered ‘At Rest’ and 10 is considered ‘An All Out Level.’ Use this scale to stay in the correct range listed in the training schedule for a given day (i.e. 6-7).

Heart Rate: If you have access to a heart rate monitor then use this device to stay in the correct range listed in the training schedule for a given day (i.e. 60-75% of maximum heart rate).

Cross-Training: Include activities other than running and walking in your training plan. If you are completely new to exercise, then you may want to wait until weeks 4 or 5 to add in a cross-training workouts. If you are already active 3 to 4 days per week, then start the cross-training as scheduled in the plan. Activities for cross-training may include cycling, elliptical, rowing, strength training, swimming, and more. Cross-training allows you to rest your running muscles and work opposing muscle groups. These activities will help to reduce the impact on your body and the risk of injury. Cross-training can also speed up recovery time between run-walk workouts. Cross-training workouts should be done at a moderate level, Perceived Effort of at least 7, or a Heart Rate of 75-80%.

Strength Training: A form of cross-training, strength training can be a great way to increase lean muscle and boost metabolism while at rest. Strength training can be completed using free-weights, resistance bands, weight machines, or classes such as pilates, yoga or cross-fit. Include exercises for upper body, core, and lower body. Warm-up with a walk or another form of cardio. If you are new to strength training, then start with 1 set of each exercise for 12-15 repetitions. The goal is to work your muscles to fatigue or until you can no longer maintain proper form during the exercise. Continue with 1 set of each exercise for weeks 1 through 4, then progress to 2 to 3 sets of each exercise for 8-12 repetitions.

Flexibility: Stretch lightly after every warm-up period. Stretch again after every workout to improve flexibility, increase circulation, and reduce the risk of injury.

Easy Effort: Easy pace/effort is considered slightly above what you can maintain a conversation, 70-75% of maximum heart rate, and 6 to 7 on the Perceived Effort scale.

Moderate Effort: Moderate pace/effort is where you can hear your breathing, but you are not breathing hard, 75-80% of maximum heart rate, and 7 to 8 on the Perceived Effort scale.

Training Plan Structure

The following Half Marathon Beginner schedule is only a guide. Feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule. You will find more information on half marathon training in the the FREE downloadable file.

WEEKMONTUESWEDTHURFRISATSUN
130 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run4 Mile RunRest
235 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train35 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run4 Mile RunRest
335 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train35 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run5 Mile RunRest
435 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train40 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-TrainRest6 Mile RunRest
540 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train40 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run6 Mile RunRest
640 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train45 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run6 Mile RunRest
740 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train45 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run7 Mile RunRest
845 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train50 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-TrainRest8 Mile RunRest
945 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train50 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run9 Mile RunRest
1045 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train60 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run10 Mile RunRest
1135 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train40 Minute Run30-45 Minute Cross-Train30-40 Minute Run6 Mile RunRest
1230 Minute Run30 Minute Cross-Traing30 Minute Run30 Minute Cross-Train15-20 Minute Run13.1 Mile RaceRest