Half Marathon Training Plan *with Printable*

I’m on week 5 of my 16-week half marathon training plan, and I’m finally starting to add on mileage. It’s exciting! I am starting to believe I’m really doing this. This week my “long run” will be 7 miles, which is the farthest I have ever run. After that, I’ll be entering new territory!

Once you get to running upwards of 8 miles, you have to start thinking of things like fuel (they make energy gels and chews that supply the carbs and electrolytes you need to keep your blood sugar levels steady and help you retain fluids) and hydration packs (basically a fanny pack that holds water that you can sip during your long runs.) I guess I need to start experimenting with those.

I researched several training plans before I chose one. I decided to go for one of the simpler ones, figuring that I can always add on a running day here and there or a day of speed work if I want, but I didn’t want to choose a plan that was too aggressive that would frustrate me if I couldn’t keep up. DOWNLOAD THE TRAINING PLAN.

My goal for my first half marathon is to finish. That is it. If I have to walk, I will walk. I have no time goals. This is all about accomplishing the distance. Then if I decide I want to do another one some day, I will have a reasonable time to beat. Or if I decide I’m one and done, that’s fine too. I will have the thrill of the accomplishment (and I will get to put one of those 13.1 stickers on my car!)

Here’s What I’ve Learned from Half Marathon Training So Far

1. Long runs are much more fun with a friend. It’s amazing how much faster the time goes when you have someone to talk to.

2. Beat the heat. In this summer heat, it’s best to go out first thing in the morning and get it over with before it gets too hot.

3. What once was a “long run” very quickly becomes one of the shorter, easy ones. I ran 5 miles this morning, and I remember when that was a huge accomplishment. Now it’s just one of my daily runs. Crazy!

4. Make it fun! If you pretend to be excited about a long run, it’s a lot easier to finish. I psych myself up the day before, anticipating the feeling of accomplishment I’ll have when it’s over.

5. Music rocks! Have a good playlist and update it often to keep it fresh. And don’t forget to charge your iPod or phone overnight. Duh!

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’ve been making sure to drink four or five 16-oz water bottles a day. I just refill with filtered water from my fridge, but I like using water bottles so I can easily keep track of how much I’m drinking.

7. Stretching is your friend. I do an active warm up (high knees and butt kicks — I’m sure there are more technical terms, but that’s what I call them) before my run. Then I stretch for a good 5-10 minutes afterwards, holding each stretch for 10-20 seconds each until I have thoroughly stretched every muscle group in my feet, legs and rear. Then I do 20 calf raises on each leg. I’m still struggling with plantar fasciitis so the stretching and calf strengthening is crucial for me.

I thought I’d share the half marathon training plan I’m using in case anyone is interested. So far, I like it a lot. It only has 4 running days a week, which is very modest. Most have 5 or even 6. I added a cross-training day in there for myself — usually it’s a toning class at my gym. Sometimes I will do an extra short run on Fridays, but otherwise I’ve been sticking pretty closely to this plan.

This 16 week half marathon training plan is for beginning runners (ideally those who are running 9-15 miles a week and have completed at least one 5K) who want a moderately paced program. I like this plan because it’s great for busy moms and people without a lot of time to train. It’s not intense, but it should prepare me well. I guess I’ll find out in September! For anyone who is interested, this is my plan that I modified from halfmarathons.net.

My Half Marathon Training Plan {for Beginners}

16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan {for Beginners}

Download a PRINTABLE COPY Here.

If you’re training for a long distance race or have in the past, I’d love to hear your advice and suggestions as I start to increase my mileage. THANKS!!

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27 Responses

  1. So, I’m training for a half as well, and I’ve had pretty good success with the Honey Stinger Energy Chews. They’re organic and use sugar and cane juice, rather than corn syrup. And, they’re gluten and dairy free! Just thought I’d share since I learned the hard way that they’re not all gluten free! Happy running!

  2. That looks like a really good training plan. It is very similar to what I used both times I have done a half, although mine were just 12 week plans. I just carried a handheld water bottle for long runs, but I was training in the fall/winter. I also made my own protein balls to eat, as I was hesitant to use the gels. I didn’t even start using them until I was up to 9 or so miles, but I probably should have sooner. I plan to do some speed work when training this fall.

    1. I’d love your recipe for the protein balls! I am also skeptical about the gels. And it is HOT here but carrying a water bottle is really no big deal for me. I don’t know that I want to mess with a hydration pack. But I guess I’ll see how I feel when I get to longer runs.

  3. I’m a big fan of the GU energy gels…any flavor, even chocolate. I’ve also tried the Shot Bloks but not a fan of chews…hard to eat and breathe while you’re running. Plus you have to eat three chews to equal one GU. I bring 3 on a half marathon.

    Glad to see your program goes up to 12 miles.
    My training group for my first half only went to 10 miles and they told me that running the half was just like adding on a 5K to that. While it’s literally true, that last 3 miles was not fun. Not at all. Your schedule looks smart. 🙂

    1. Oh my yes! I didn’t want to try it without getting close to 13 miles. I kinda want to do 13 at least once before the race, but I think it is actually better this way. It will feel like more of an achievement on race day, and hopefully my adrenaline will power me through!

  4. Looks like a solid plan for beginners! That’s very similar to what I do with my athletes. The recovery run after the long run is a great way to build your endurance and learn how to run when fatigued. I love when the once long run becomes a week day run, such a cool feeling, isn’t it? 🙂

  5. Good luck with training. You have some great tips in the notes section of your plan. I ran my first half (and three more) last year and am currently training for my first full!

  6. That looks a very sensible training plan. Finishing and just having fun are excellent goals. You can always set a goal to do the next one in less time. Look forward to hearing how fun it was to finish

  7. Used your plan for my first half and loved it!! It is kind of sad it’s not a part of my life…at least until next January-February (:

    I may modify this to train for a 10K and 10 Miler that are in September and November respectfully.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I can’t get the link to the printable to work. Says 404 not found. Thought you might want to know…

  9. I just finished my first half on Sunday and I used your training program! (It was actually the program that brought me to your site and now I read every day!) I too had major issues with plantar faccistis a few years ago so knowing about your struggle helped me push to the finish. My time wasn’t as good as I wanted ti to be but I’m proud of my accomplishment and now have a goal for next time!

  10. i wanted to see if you have this blank template that we can make our own.. just with the days different???

  11. Totally using this! First half ever … most I’ve ever run was a 5K but this is my life goal and I’m going for it! Thanks for sharing!

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