10k To Half Marathon Training Plan + Complete Guide

Introducing a specialized training schedule for those transitioning from 10k to half marathon.

Crossing the finish line at a 10k race is a big accomplishment.

However, once you have run one or perhaps many 10k races, you might choose to set your sights on an even more impressive and challenging feat of endurance: the half marathon.

A half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, is a bucket list running goal for many beginners and experienced runners alike. 

A 10k is 6.2 miles, and a half marathon is about 13.1 miles (21.1 km), so it’s slightly more than twice as far as a 10k.

If you have run a 10k before, transitioning up to a half marathon is a doable goal as long as you have the motivation and desire to take on a 10k to half marathon training plan. 

If it is your first time following a half-marathon plan, don’t worry! We will provide a complete 10k to half marathon training plan and guide to help you jump up in distance. 

A runner in the background with the words "10k To Half Marathon" in the foreground.

5 Key Training Principles For Going From 10k To Half Marathon

Several different elements go into training for a half marathon. 

Although when you are just trying to finish your first half marathon, the majority of your workouts will involve building your endurance rather than working specifically on your speed, running is perhaps surprisingly only part of the training that you will be doing.

Here are a few tips for bumping up from the 10k to half marathon distance:

#1: Gradual And Consistent Progression

Half marathon training is not just about running longer; it’s about building endurance in a way that is sustainable and safe for your body.

Consistent training allows for gradual increases in running volume, giving your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system the time they need to adapt.

Skipping runs or pushing too hard too soon can lead to injuries, setbacks, and ultimately, derail your goal of finishing the half marathon.

#2: Utilize Cross-Training Workouts

Cross-training refers to any type of exercise other than running, but for the purposes of this 10k to half marathon training plan, it is best to focus on low-impact cross-training activities such as indoor-outdoor cycling, swimming, or using the elliptical machine. 

A person with headphones on an elliptical machine.

The primary purpose of the cross-training workout is to improve your aerobic fitness level while reducing the impact of stresses on your bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues relative to running. 

Running is a high-impact activity, so if you do too much running too quickly and progress your distance too aggressively, you run the risk of injuries.

It takes your musculoskeletal system longer to adapt to the demands of running relative to your cardiovascular system. 

Therefore, you might start to feel like running is getting easier in terms of how hard you are breathing and how fast your heart is beating, but on a cellular level, your bones, connective tissues, and muscles are experiencing more damage and not healing as quickly and adapting as readily as your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. 

It’s very important to take the prescribed rest days and keep the runs capped at the time or distance suggested by the schedule to prevent overdoing it on your body.

If your body is feeling excessively sore, but you have training sessions planned, consider instead doing an extra crosstraining session to remain injury free.

A group of people running.

Therefore, the ultimate purpose of cross-training workouts is to give you the ability to keep working on your aerobic endurance without overdoing it on your legs. This is why choosing low-impact activities is important.

The intensity of the cross-training workouts is less important. 

You should let your body guide you in terms of how you feel. In other words, if you are really sore and tired from a run the day before or the accumulation of your training, take your cross-training workout at a very easy effort and work on moving your body gently without stopping. 

Try to stay in the “moderate-intensity” aerobic exercise zone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1CDC. (2019, December 4). Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate | Physical Activity | CDC. Www.cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm(CDC), your target heart rate should be between 64-76% of your maximum heart rate for moderate-intensity physical activity. 

Wearing a heart rate monitor is helpful because it gives you a more accurate way to quantify the intensity of your workout. However, if you don’t have access to this technology, let your effort guide you, and for a rate of perceived exertion of 6 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.

People lifting weights in a gym.

#3: Take The Rest Days

As mentioned, the rest days are also very important because your body needs time to recover between hard efforts in order to not only prevent overtraining and injuries but also to allow the physiological adaptations you are seeking from your training to actually occur. 

Although you might be eager to do some amount of exercise on these rest days, it’s really important to respect the needs of your body and actually rest.

If your training is going really well and you are not experiencing any type of soreness or noticeable fatigue, you can certainly take walks and be physically active on these days, but doing formal workouts should be avoided.

#4: Add Strength Training Workouts

There are many benefits of resistance training, including an increase in bone density, a decrease in blood pressure, an increase in energy expenditure (calories burned), improvements in mood, a decrease in stress, and the list goes on.

Strength training also helps you become a more injury-resilient marathon runner by helping correct muscle imbalances, improve neuromuscular coordination and efficiency, and strengthen your muscles, bones, and connective tissues.

This can help you train more consistently and at a higher volume without getting injured. 

People running and walking in a park.

#5: Walk If You Need To

Overall, training for your first half marathon can be challenging. If you are new to running, even just running for a minute or two without stopping is usually surprisingly difficult.

Furthermore, even if you’ve been completely inactive, as long as you are open to taking walking breaks during the race, it should also be tenable to get in good enough shape to finish your first half marathon after bumping up from the 10k.

If you have always wanted to run a half marathon but have been intimidated or unsure if you have it in you, believe in yourself and give it a shot with this beginner-friendly 10k to half marathon training plan.

Essential Training Plan Elements

We’ve already discussed the importance of cross-training and gradual volume increases. So, what else is required?

Tempo + Threshold

Tempo runs are the bedrock of your half-marathon preparation. They are about finding and maintaining your “comfortably hard” pace. This is not an all-out sprint or a leisurely jog.

Threshold runs are a little more specific and are aimed at increasing the speed at which you hit your lactate threshold. This means you can run faster, for longer, before fatigue and lactic acid build-up slow you down.

These runs are best approached at a pace close to your target race speed, offering a realistic simulation of race conditions.

Distance Runs

Training runs, typically spanning 3 to 6 miles, are the bedrock of your half marathon preparation. They serve a dual purpose: honing your familiarity with running and increasing the time you can comfortably spend on your feet.

These runs are best approached at a pace close to your target race speed, offering a realistic simulation of race conditions.

However, for those without a specific speed goal, maintaining a conversational pace is key.

Long Runs

When it comes to half marathon training, long runs are non-negotiable.

These are extended sessions designed to push the boundaries of your stamina. Unlike training runs, the focus here isn’t on pace but on duration.

Keeping a steady, conversational pace is crucial; it’s about enduring and extending the time you can run without undue strain. Remember, the goal of these runs is not speed but the ability to sustain a run for longer periods – a critical aspect of half marathon readiness.

Speed Work and Interval Training

For those targeting a specific finish time or looking to improve their speed, sessions become integral. Speed work is all about pushing your pace boundaries in controlled bursts.

These sessions are varied – from structured intervals of intense running followed by recovery periods.

If your focus is more on completion rather than competition, it’s perfectly acceptable to scale back on these high-intensity sessions. The key is to integrate them in a way that enhances your training without leading to burnout or injury.

Download The 10k To Half Marathon Training Program For Free:

Our 10k to half marathon training plan involves running 4-5 days per week, cross-training 1-2 days, and taking at least one rest day. The Friday workouts can be an easy run, cross-training workout, or rest day, depending on how your body feels and your injury risk.

10k to half marathon training plan printable
10k to half marathon training plan PDF image
  • Get the TrainingPeaks version of this plan, which you can sync with your device – coming soon.

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

After entering your email, you’ll be prompted to create an account on the Grow platform we use to control access to the plans. It’s completely free – make sure to complete the process to gain access to the plan!

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our half marathon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download the free training plan

When you’re ready, you can check out our Half Marathon Pace Calculator to help plan your race speed based on your finish time goal.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Cross training: 40-45 minutes Speed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6 x 1,000m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 4 miles (7 km) at an easy paceRestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 3 x 7 minutes at tempo pace with 90 seconds restRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m strides Long run at an easy pace:
6 miles (10 km)
Cross training: 40-45 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 1 x 1600m at 5k pace with 200m jog; 4 x 800m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 4 miles (7 km) at an easy paceRestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo pace with 90 seconds restRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) Long run at an easy pace: 7 miles (11 km) 
Cross-training: 45 minutes Speed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 4 x 800m at 5k pace with 200m jog; 4 x 400m at mile pace with 200m jogDistance run: 4 miles (7 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 20 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m strides Long run at an easy pace: 8 miles (12-13 km)
Cross-training: 45 minutes Speed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6 x 1,000m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 5 miles (8 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 25 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run at an easy pace: 6 miles (10 km) with the last 2 miles at goal half marathon pace
Cross-training: 45 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 3-4 x 1,600m at 5k pace with 400m jogDistance run: 5 miles (8 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 25 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run at an easy pace: 9 miles (15 km)
Cross-training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 5 x 1,200m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 6 miles (10 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run at an easy pace: 10 miles (16 km)
Cross-training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 6-8 x 600m at mile pace with 200m jogDistance run: 7 miler (11 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run: 8 miles (12-13) with the last 5k at half marathon goal pace
Cross-training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 10 x 400m at mile pace with 200m jogDistance run: 7 miles (11 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run at an easy pace: 11 miles (17 km)
Cross-training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); build up to 6 x 1,000m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance training run: 8 miles (12-13 km) at an easy paceRestTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 40 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong run at an easy pace (almost race distance): 12 miles (19 km) 
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1-2 miles (2-3 km); 8 x 800m at 5k pace with 200m jogDistance run: 7 miles (11 km) at an easy paceRestThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo paceRest, 30-min cross training, or easy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 75m stridesLong distance run at an easy pace: 7 miles (11 km)
Cross-training: 30-45 minutesSpeed workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 4 x 800m at goal half marathon pace with 200m jogEasy run: 4-5 miles (7-8 km) and 4 x 50m stridesRestEasy run to loosen up before race day: 20 minutes and 4 x 75m stridesHalf Marathon (13.1 Mile Race)Rest
People running a road race.

Other Suggested Half Marathon Training Plans:

Beginner + Novice Training Plans

Intermediate + Advanced Half Marathon Training Plans

Time-based Half Marathon Training Plans

Also, if you want a crack at a longer run, check out our Full Marathon Training Plans page for more.

People running a road race.

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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