So you've already run at least one half marathon (13.1 miles), and now you're moving on to your next goal: Beating your time! Use this 12-week training schedule (see table below) to help you run a PR in your next half marathon.
To start this plan, you should already be running about 30 to 60 minutes a day, about 4-5 days a week. If you're not up to that, you may want to try the Beginners Half Marathon Schedule or the Advanced Beginner Half Marathon Schedule. If this schedule doesn't seem challenging enough, try the Advanced Half Marathon Schedule.
Notes about the schedule:
Cross-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on building your endurance and strength. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 45 to 60 minutes. Strength-training, especially your lower body and core, is also very beneficial for long distance runners.
Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for faster racing. For a 40-minute tempo run, for example, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at about a 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."
Pace runs: After a 10-minute warm-up, run at your anticipated half marathon pace for the designated mileage. If you're not sure what your half marathon pace is, check out: How Long Will It Take Me to Run a Half Marathon?
Interval workouts (IW): After a 10-minute warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) hard, then recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. For example, 3 x 400 would be three hard 400s, with a 400 m recovery in between.
Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. Fridays are a good day for rest, since you will have run on Thursday and you'll have your longest run of the week on Saturday.
Saturday long runs: Run at a comfortable, conversational pace for the designated mileage. You can figure out your mileage of your outdoor routes with resources such as MapMyRun.com.
Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles and gets you more comfortable with running on fatigued legs.
You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. If you're busy one day, it's fine to swap a rest day for a run day.
Half-Marathon Training Schedule for Intermediate Runners
|1||CT||30 min tempo||Rest or CT||4 mi||Rest||5 mi||3 mi EZ|
|2||CT||4 x 400 IW||Rest or CT||4 mi||Rest||6 mi||3.5 mi EZ|
|3||CT||35 min tempo||4 mi||3 mi||Rest||7 mi||3 mi EZ|
|4||CT||5 x 400 IW||Rest||4 mi race pace||Rest||7 mi||3 mi EZ|
|5||CT||35 min tempo||5 mi||3 mi race pace||Rest||8 mi||4 mi EZ|
|6||CT||6 x 400 IW||5 mi||4 mi race pace||2 miles EZ||Rest||10K race|
|7||CT||40 min tempo||5 mi||4 mi race pace||Rest||9 mi||4 mi EZ|
|8||CT||6 x 400 IW||6 mi||3 mi race pace||Rest||10 mi||4 mi EZ|
|9||CT||45 min tempo||5 mi||4 mi race pace||Rest||11 mi||Rest|
|10||CT||7 x 400 IW||5 mi||3 mi race pace||Rest||12 mi||3 mi EZ|
|11||CT||45 min tempo||Rest||3 mi race pace||Rest||5 mi||3 mi EZ|
|12||Rest||4 mi||30 minutes 10K pace||2 mi||Rest||20 minutes||Race Day!|