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Basic Half Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners

Run Your First Half Marathon

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Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Congratulations on your decision to train for your first half marathon! This schedule (see table below) is perfect for a beginner runner and a first-time half-marathoner whose goal is to finish the 13.1-mile race. To start this plan, you should have been running for at least two months and should have a base mileage of about 8-10 miles per week. If you prefer a run/walk program, try this run/walk half-marathon training schedule. If you're not new to running and this training schedule seems too easy, try the advanced beginner half-marathon training schedule. Or see more Half Marathon Training Plans.

If you'd like emails to go along with your program, sign up for this Run Your First Half Marathon E-mail Course.

If you haven't already had a recent physical, visit your doctor for medical clearance to train for a half marathon.

Notes about the schedule:

Mondays: Most Mondays are rest days. Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days.

Tuesdays and Thursdays: After your warm up, run at a moderate pace (slightly faster than your long run pace) for the designated mileage. Cool down and stretch after your run.

Wednesdays: Some Wednesdays are designated rest days. Others are cross-training (CT) days, when you should do a cross-training activity (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer, etc.) at easy-to-moderate effort for 30 to 45 minutes. It's also beneficial to do overall body strength training at least once a week.

Fridays: Do a cross-training (CT) activity (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer, etc.) at easy-to-moderate effort for 30 to 45 minutes. If you're feeling very sluggish or sore on Friday, take a rest day. It's important that you're feeling strong for your Saturday long run.

Saturdays: This is the day for your long, slow, distance run. Run the designated mileage at an easy, conversational pace. Use your breathing as your guide. You should be able to breathe easily and talk in complete sentences comfortably during your run.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your short run should be at a very easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles. You can also do a run/walk combination or cross-train.

Note:
You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. So if you're busy on another day and prefer to workout on a Monday or Friday, it's fine to swap a rest day for a run day. If you need to convert the distances to kilometers, see these miles to kilometers conversions.

 

Beginners' Half Marathon Training Schedule

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Rest 2 mi Rest 2.5 mi Rest 3 mi 20-30 min EZ run or cross-train
2 Rest 2 miles Rest 3 mi CT or Rest 4 mi 20-30 min EZ run or cross-train
3 Rest 2.5 mi CT 3 mi Rest 5 mi 20-30 min EZ run or cross-train
4 Rest 3 mi CT 4 mi Rest 6 mi 20-30 min EZ run or cross-train
5 Rest 3 mi CT 3 mi Rest 7 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
6 Rest 4 mi CT 4 mi Rest 8 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
7 Rest 4 mi Rest 4 mi CT 9 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
8 Rest 4 mi CT 3 mi Rest 10 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
9 Rest 5 mi CT 4 mi Rest 11 mi Rest
10 30 min EZ run or cross-train 4 mi Rest 3 mi CT 12 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
11 Rest CT Rest 3 mi CT 5 mi 30 min EZ run or cross-train
12 Rest 2 mi 20 minutes Rest 20 minutes Race Day! Rest Day!
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