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The 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Plan + Complete Guide 

Training for a half marathon can be a big investment in time. 

But what if you do not have a lot of time per week to train? What if you tend to be injury prone, and you can only run every other day?

In these cases, a 3 day a week half marathon training plan can be a great alternative to help you build up to the distance by race day without overdoing it on your body or overdoing it logistically in terms of what you can reasonably fit into your busy life schedule.

In this article, we will discuss how to train for a half marathon running three days a week and then present a 3 day a week half marathon training plan to help get you to the finish line on race day.

We will cover: 

  • What Is a 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Program?
  • The Pros and Cons of a 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Plan
  • 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Let’s jump in!

A person smiling and running with headphones in.

What Is a 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Program?

It’s important to establish up front that a 3 day a week half marathon training program is a bit of a misnomer and likely not as easy and barebones as it may sound.

The “3 days a week” component refers to the fact that a 3 days a week half marathon training plan involves only three days of running per week.

However, you will be doing other types of training, so the total weekly commitment is more than just three days per week.

Although it is certainly possible to train for a half marathon running just three days a week and not supplementing your running workouts with any other types of exercise, for best results, you’ll also want to engage in the cross-training workouts in our 3 day a week half marathon training plan.

Two people running on a road.

The Pros and Cons of a 3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Plan

A 3 day a week half marathon training plan is ideal for runners who are injury prone or who have difficulty finding the time or motivation to run every day.

This type of half marathon training plan can also work well for runners who like to have more variety in their training routine so that they are not focusing exclusively on running.

Because running is such a high-impact activity, if you have a history of injuries, following a 3 day a week half marathon training plan may be the most effective route to get you to the starting line (and finish line!) healthy.

However, training for a half marathon by running only 3 days a week isn’t necessarily going to prepare you to set a big PR if you have trained for a half marathon before by following an advanced half marathon training plan with higher mileage and lots of structured running workouts.

However, it is undeniable that you must be doing a certain amount of running to become a better runner.

A person running on a dirt road.

With that said, a 3 day half marathon training program is typically just enough to cross this threshold to help provide the specificity in your training to help your body make the necessary physiological adaptations for running a half marathon.

At the same time, the program’s cross-training workouts can supplement your aerobic fitness as they simultaneously reduce the impact stresses on your bones and joints.

To summarize, the benefits of a 3 day a week half marathon training plan include:

  • Decreasing the risk of injury relative to high mileage half marathon training plans.
  • Allowing more variety in training to prevent boredom and reduce the risk of overuse injuries and overtraining.
  • Helping you simultaneously prepare for triathlons and multisport races as well, so that you get “transferable” fitness.
A person on an elliptical machine.

The primary drawbacks of training for a half marathon running three days a week are:

  • The fact that you still have to cross-train, which means that you might not be saving as much time as you might think, particularly if you need to commute to and from a gym for cross-training workouts.
  • That is may not allow you to reach your full performance potential and set a PR, depending on your fitness level, experience level, and half marathon race goal.

3 Day A Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Here are a few tips for the workouts you will find in this 12-week 3 day a week half marathon training plan:

  • Cross Training: Any form of non-running aerobic workout. Examples include cycling, swimming, rowing, elliptical, aqua jogging, and hiking.
  • Distance Run: Base-building run to improve your endurance. These should be run at a comfortable pace—something around a 7 out of 10 on a rate of perceived exertion scale or a heart rate around 70-75% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Easy Run: Run at a conversational pace to aid recovery from harder workouts. These should be a 6-7 on an RPE scale.
  • Strides: Accelerations or sprints at an all-out effort after a run. Walk to recover.
  • Long Run: Long endurance workouts to improve physical and mental stamina.
  • Threshold Workout and Tempo Run: Run at a pace you can sustain all out for one hour.
A person swimming in a lap pool.
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Cross-training: 30 minutes Distance run:
3 miles (5 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 30 minutes Threshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km),
3 x 5 minutes at tempo pace with 90- second jog in between
RestLong run at an easy pace:
5 miles (8 km)
Cross-training: 30-40 minutes Distance run:
3 miles (5 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 30-40 minutes Threshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 3 x 7 minutes at tempo pace with 90- second jog in betweenRestLong run at an easy pace:
6 miles (10 km)
Cross-training: 40-45 minutesDistance run:
4 miles (7 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross- training: 40-45 minutesThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo pace with 90- second jog in betweenRestLong run at an easy pace:
7 miles (11 km) 
Cross-training: 45 minutes Distance run:
4 miles (7 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 45 minutes Tempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 20 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
8 miles (12-13 km)
Cross-training: 45 minutes Distance run:
5 miles (8 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 45 minutes Tempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 25 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
6 miles (10 km) with the last 2 miles at goal half marathon pace
Cross-training: 45 minutesDistance run:
5 miles (8 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 45 minutesTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 25 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
9 miles (15 km)
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesDistance run:
6 miles (10 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross training: 45-60 minutesTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
10 miles (16 km)
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesDistance run:
7 miles (11 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross training: 45-60 minutesTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run:
8 miles (12-13) with the last 5k at goal half marathon pace
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesDistance run:
7 miles (11 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross training: 45-60 minutesTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 30 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
11 miles (17 km)
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesDistance run:
8 miles (12-13 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross training: 45-60 minutesTempo run: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 40 minutes at tempo paceRestLong run at an easy pace:
12 miles (19 km) 
Cross- training: 45-60 minutesDistance run:
7 miles (11 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross training: 45-60 minutesThreshold workout: Warm up and cool down 1 mile (2 km), 2 x 10 minutes at tempo pace with 90- second jog in betweenRestLong run at an easy pace:
7 miles (11 km)
Cross-training: 30-45 minutesDistance run:
3 miles (5 km) at an easy pace; 4 x 50-meter strides
RestCross-training: 30 minutesEasy run to loosen up:
20 minutes and 4 x 50m strides
Half MarathonRest

If you have run a half marathon in the past, the very notion of following a 3 day a week half marathon training plan may sound a little too good to be true, but the good news is that it is indeed possible to train for a half marathon running three days a week depending on your goals for the race. 

For more of our half-marathon training plans, check out our database filled with half marathon training programs for all levels and timeframes here.

A person smiling and running.
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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