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

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