Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan 16 Weeks

Our 16 Weeks Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan is a great plan to build up a strong base and do well on your first half marathon.

It’s best suited for relatively new runners, or people who lead active lives but lack running experience.

You should ideally be able to run 3 miles / 5 km continuously – regardless of pace – before commencing this plan.  That said, it can be used as a run/walk plan too.

16 Weeks Beginners Half Marathon Training Plan

Who is it for?: 

Runners with a little experience, active people with no running experience. People looking to work hard to guarantee a good half marathon finish.

How Long?: 

16 weeks // 4 Months. 

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This allows for a very gradual, controlled increase in your mileage – which minimises the risk of injury or overtraining issues.

The plan doesn’t have a speed or pace focus at all – the objective is to get the required mileage in.   It includes 3 mid-week runs, to be performed at a comfortable pace, and one long-slow run each weekend to build your max mileage.   The plan includes one cross-training day per week and two rest days. 

Not convinced this is the plan for you?

Check out our other half marathon training plans!

How Many Days Per Week?:

The training plan features 5 days of training per week; 4 days of running and 1 day of cross training.

Training Runs

These are your classic training runs; do them in the mornings or after work, at a comfortable, sustainable pace.  

These runs help add mileage to your training week and get your body used to running far!

Cross Training

Each week includes a cross training day; although these aren’t mandatory, I highly recommend them.

Why?

Cross training is meant to work on your cardiovascular health and strength some of the muscles weakened through running.

Recommended cross-training exercises include body weight exercises, light gym work, swimming, yoga, pilates, and cycling!

Long Runs

You should be factoring in one long, slow run every weekend.  These runs are all about increasing your endurance gradually.

Remember to take it easy during them, don’t push things, and don’t worry about walking breaks – it’s all about building up that time on your feet.

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 customisable), in both miles and kilometers.  

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Check Out The Premium Version of The 16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan . . .

We’ve teamed with TrainingPeaks to offer a premium version of the 16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan:

Access the plan via the TrainingPeaks website and app, track your workouts in real-time against the plan, and get performance data analysis on your progress.

Check out the premium 16 week half marathon training plan here!

trainingpeaks
trainingpeaks training plan

The most comprehensive plan you will find

Rated 5 out of 5
October 28, 2019 7:05 pm

I had run a couple of half marathons and was in reasonable shape coming into the plan and it was a good rise in intensity throughout. You need to want to do an event like this – I was getting up at 3am to get my long run in before kids weekend sport etc and this was hard. When you combine the plan with the online community through the Marathon Handbook FB page and website, you get complete support. Have used this plan with great success and now looking at upping the pace in the marathon space… GREAT JOB!

Rob McCaw

Great Plan!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 13, 2022 10:04 pm

I’ve just signed up to the free plan, it was very easy and straight forward for me (and I’m not usually very good with ICT!)
The information I have received so far is very informative and goes into great detail explaining everything you need to know about each individual plan as well as nutrition, pace, goals, cross training, strength training etc There is also advice on what to wear (or what not wear) and things I haven’t even thought about. (So thank you in advance for this!)
I’m so impressed with all the information so far that I’m seriously considering signing up for the Premium Plan option. It’s early days for me but I’m inspired already!
I would say to anyone looking for a plan to seriously consider a Marathon Handbook Plan. I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I’ve also downloaded the app and again I’m very impressed so far. I am confident that my plan (and the app) are going to get me across the finish line and achieve my marathon goal.

Angela

Waste of time

Rated 1 out of 5
January 10, 2022 3:25 pm

There is no detail whatsoever in this plan. For example, Thursdsay “Strength Training” 45-60 minutes. What strength training should I do? Should I do it for 45 or 60 minutes? What is RPE? What is the difference between a training run and a pace run.

Jon

Training plan?

Rated 1 out of 5
December 28, 2021 9:21 pm

Where is the 100k training plan? There’s nothing here to download.

Dan

Where is it?

Rated 1 out of 5
December 27, 2021 5:08 pm

You claim to offer “free” plans but I can not open it to provide my e-mail address. The only possible way is for me to go through Training Peaks.

Jim Neely

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan 16 Weeks 3
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Proven Training Plans by a UESCA-certified Running Coach 

Every one of our training plans has been developed by Thomas Watson, a UESCA-certified running coach.

Thomas is also a podium-finishing ultra-marathon runner, and has dozens of marathons under his belt.

Each training plan has been road-tested by hundred of runners, refined and improved – and are free to download and customise to suit your needs!