Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan
Over the summer of 2021, I went from not being able to run a mile to comfortably running a half marathon without stopping 12 weeks later. I honestly never believed I would get to that point, especially because I truly hated running at the time, but this is the half marathon training plan I used to build up my mileage and find my love for running!
There is a screenshot-size image at the bottom of the post that has the entire half marathon training plan laid out for easy access. Free free to take a pic or pin it on Pinterest!
The main thing to keep in mind with this program, and long-distance running in general, is you do not have to run the entire time. Getting the miles done is still getting the miles done even if you walk half of it or the entire thing. When I first started this program I couldn’t run a mile without stopping and I walked for most of the second mile. The first couple of weeks of training will be the hardest, but if you put in the effort to cover the miles, it will get easier!
There are a lot of misconceptions about running, but the biggest one I struggled with and I see other people struggle with the most, is time. You do not need to run fast to be a "runner" and you will actually improve faster with low-speed runs. Pushing yourself to run faster is good in moderation, but you should be running at a very easy pace 80% of the time. I consider my "easy pace" to be about a 10:30 to 11-minute mile and will run at that pace the majority of the time. When running at your "easy pace" you should be able to hold a conversation. This allows your body to build distance faster and lowers your risk of injury. When you feel comfortable running certain distances, that's when you can start pushing yourself to go faster and increase your speed.
I found @akprzy on TikTok and she is the one who made the base of this program. I tweaked it a little bit to fit my needs but she is a great resource!
12-Week Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan
Feel free to shuffle around the rest days and milage however you want, this is just a guideline for how I train but everyone has different schedules so do what works best for you! I found that running first thing in the morning worked the best for me, and I would shuffle around my rest days each week, using them when I felt I really need them or wanted a day off.
If you miss a day or need an extra rest day one week, don't worry about it. If you miss 2 days during a week think about adding on another mile or two to a different run to “make up” for it. This is all about doing the best you can, if you need more rest days take more rest days, it's up to you!
Depending on the level you are starting at, take it easy. Ease into the mile, walk as much as you need, and just focus on covering the miles no matter how you get there. The first few weeks of training are the hardest, so just get out there and get moving!
You made it through week one! That is a huge accomplishment and you’re building your base! Now that you’re getting into it, try incorporating a stretching routine or yoga to prepare for increasing mileage in the next few weeks.
Hopefully, after this week of running, it will start to feel like a habit and you’ll be enjoying it more!
One month done!! Even if you’re still walking/running the short runs, challenge yourself to run the entire long run!
Make sure to take your long runs slow, don't worry about pace. You’re still building your base so enjoy your runs at an easy pace.
Your base is built, try to push yourself this week! On your 5 and 7-mile days, see if you can push yourself a bit more and run a moderate effort. If you’re struggling, focus on just getting the mileage done and take off the 2-mile run if needed.
Rest week! Listen to your body and STRETCH!
If you're feeling good, try to incorporate 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of strength training 2-3 days per week into your schedule!
Fewer days, longer mileage.
LAST WEEK!! What?! You hit the half marathon mark!
If you have a race scheduled, the week prior to the race taper down on your training! The last thing you want is to overtrain and be burnt out for race week (trust me I made that mistake and it was awful). Take milage slow and prepare your body by hydrating and eating good food! If you don’t have a race scheduled, YOU DID IT!! I am so proud of you for putting in the work and getting it done!
Overview of my Half Marathon Training Plan:
Here is an overview of the entire training plan. Feel free to screenshot it or save it on Pinterest.
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