My Half Marathon Training Plan

I’m running my first half marathon of the season the first Sunday of October in New England. This will be my second and my third will be down in Disney World in November! I ran sprint distances in High School so training for longer races is not something in my bag of tricks. I used the Runner’s World Smart Coach App last year and finished in 1:47:54. I felt amazing afterwards as well, so I’m going to use the same training plan. Sadly though, you can’t download the app anymore from iTunes.

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The app used to allow you to enter a recent race time, your goal distance for training, current weekly running distance, training level, long-run day and length of training plan. My plan is based on all of this information as it pertains to me. If you live in Australia, I believe you can still download it for some reason although it may no longer work with the iOS updates.

I searched for other apps that had personalized training plans (see below) but wasn’t impressed.

As a result of my hesitation, I downloaded my Runner’s World app from a back up. Here is what the last 6 weeks of my plan look like. My program requested a long run on Friday, a finishing time around 1:50, and 4 runs a week.

Week 1

  • Monday: Rest or Cross Train – I spin at Recycle or take a yoga class at Back Bay Yoga
  • Tuesday: 5 mile, Tempo Run – Warm up 1 mile, run 3 miles @ 8 min/mile, cool down 1 mile
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy run @ 9:30 min/mile
  • Thursday: Rest of Cross Train
  • Friday: 8 mile long run @ 9:24 min/mile
  • Saturday: Rest of Cross Train – I do Yoga
  • Sunday: 4 mile easy run @ 9:24 min/mile

Week 2

Same as Week 1 EXCEPT Tuesday (5 miles Speedwork, Warm up 1 mile, Run 1 mile in 7:32 w/ 800m jog recovery, repeat. Cool down with 1 mile jog) and Sunday (5 miles, easy).

*Week 3

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or XT
  • Tuesday:  5 mile, Temp Run
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy Run
  • Friday: 9 mile long run @ 9:24 min/mile
  • Sunday: 5 miles, Easy Run

Week 4

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or XT
  • Tuesday: 6 miles, Tempo Run
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy Run
  • Friday: 9 miles, Long Run
  • Sunday: 5 miles Easy

Week 5

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or Cross Train
  • Tuesday: 7 miles, Speedwork (Warm up 1 mile, Run 1 mile in 7:28, jog a 1/2 mile as recovery, repeat 3 times before 1 mile cool down)
  • Friday: 10 mile Long Run
  • Sunday: 4 mile, Easy Run

Week 6

  • Monday, Friday & Saturday Rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles, Easy Run
  • Wednesday: 3 miles, Easy Run
  • Thursday: 5 miles, Tempo Run
  • Sunday: RACE DAY!!!!! Goal pace 8:07/mile for a 1:46:30 finish.

*This is actually the last 4 weeks plus two weeks from earlier this summer. My plan was 12 weeks long and included a week that gave me 5 miles on a Friday as compared with the 9 miles the Friday before and after.

Here is how I did in my first half marathon following this plan.

Other Apps With Half Marathon Training Plans

Pear offers audio programs that coach you through each workout using your heart rate and current level of fitness. It reads how hard the workout is for your body and recommends speeding up or slowing down. These programs cost between $19.99 and $49.99. Worth it in my opinion as it’s like having a personal coach. I do wish you could preview the plan but the descriptions do a thorough job.

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RunKeeper, my other favorite fitness app has programs too but after looking at the free 13.1 training plan, it was way too aggressive. It had a me running 6 miles on Wednesday, 9 miles on Thursday, Friday off, 6 miles Saturday and 15 miles on Sunday! AND it thinks my race is 8 weeks away.

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I’ve only run one half marathon before but the longest training run I did was 10 miles. I don’t think it’s necessary for beginner/average runners to be doing 14 mile long runs with 6 miles the day before and after.

I will note that the program from RunKeeper is for someone aiming to finish under 2 hours which is fast but I did that already with a much lower mileage per week plan. They have a bunch of other training plans but I just couldn’t find one that I felt was right for me.

MapMyRun also has training plans on their app but if you want a plan for a half or a full marathon, you’ve got to plunk down some money.

For my two full marathons, I hired Jess from Race Pace Wellness and I cannot praise her enough! She helped me improve my finishing time by 20 minutes in just 6 months. I even broke 4 hours. If you want a personalized plan that changes week to week and works with your schedule and injuries, I highly recommend hiring her as your coach. It doesn’t matter where you live but she is based in NYC.

Are you training for a specific race? What are you using to train?

updated 2/1/2017

My Half Marathon Training Plan

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18 Comments

  • Julie
    Reply

    I’m running the tavern 5k this Sunday. I used the couch to 5k app and it is good, just talks you around. After an injury a few years ago this is my first attempt back a ‘long distances’ and am pretty happy with the training.

  • Heather
    Reply

    I ran a Half last year and admittedly haven’t trained since. I am def getting the itch to race again, though, so I’m looking to start training again soon. Good luck with your training and first Half! :)

  • Tonya
    Reply

    I have two halts and Ragnar comming up! For the first time ever, I signed up for coached training through my local running store. It was totally worth the money. I will run my 15th half marathon in two weeks and have never felt this strong!

  • Chris
    Reply

    I think the benefit to getting up to 15 mile long runs is to help a person get even stronger and potentially run faster. You kicked butt only running 10 mile long runs. If your goal was to hit a PR of 1:40 (or lower), you would have to run longer long runs.

    I have a half marathon this weekend, and did 14 mile long runs 4 weeks in a row. I feel really good about my race--and well prepared to kick butt!

    Good luck, Sarah.

  • Sarah
    Reply

    Are you running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon? So am I! It will be my first, and I’m trying to train as much as possible for it. Good luck :) I’ve been using RunKeeper to track my progress, it’s my favorite running app!

  • fred
    Reply

    Going to give this 6 weeks plan a go, I have only run up to 4 mile after running and 1:53 in my first half 6 weeks ago

  • stacey
    Reply

    Great info. I just signed up for Run like Hell in Portland. I’ve been working out (spin, bodypump, yoga) but not running. I’m trying to find a program to increase miles but avoid injury.

  • Tony
    Reply

    Hi Sarah, your post has provided me with all the incentive I need to run my first half marathon on the 2nd weekend in February. I will be following your advice to the ‘t’ so that I may raise finds and support for The Alexandra Hospital in the UK. Any other other hints or tips you could offer would be hugely appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration. And keep up the great work.

  • Brandi Wagoner
    Reply

    Hi! Are you still running? I was just curious if you had more details for your pace etc. I would like to run a 1:47 on March 6, 2016. Can you email me at the email I sent?

    • Sarah
      Reply

      I’m currently 40 weeks pregnant :) All my advice is here on the blog. Check out RacePaceWellness.com for more guidance. They are my running coach resource.

  • Maddie
    Reply

    I like your plan, but it is definitely not for beginning runners. Although fit in other ways, I am 100% a novice runner. I have trained for 8 weeks just to run 3 miles without stopping.

    The couch to 5k app was perfect for me. I am now using the couch to 10k app, and then will create a hybrid plan to finish my training. For people starting half marathon training from scratch, I would recommend those 2 apps!

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