16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan For Beginners (With PDF)

Our 16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan For Beginners is a great plan to build up a strong base and find success on your first half marathon.

The training schedule is 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 half marathon training program. That said, it can be used as a run/walk plan too.

Our 4 month half marathon training plan also comes with a free downloadable PDF.

16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan: Essential Info

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. 

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

The half marathon training schedule 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!

runner on the road

How Many Days Per Week?:

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

Run / Walk

Struggling to continuously run the distances in the plan?

No problem!

Adopt a structured run/walk approach, and you’ll be fine.

Try this; run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Repeat.

If this is too much, increase the ratio so you’re walking more frequently.

As you body adjusts, you should find it easier to run more often than walk!

A photo of people's legs in a running race

16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan: Training Breakdown

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 improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens some of the muscles weakened through running. This will help ensure you successfully reach your half marathon goal within 16 weeks.

Recommended cross-training exercises include bodyweight 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.

A photo of a lady running on a hill with a sunset behind

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.  

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 this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

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!

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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

10 / 10 - Got my through my race!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 17, 2023 4:51 am

Great plan

Jon

This plan hit so well!

Rated 4 out of 5
December 28, 2022 6:12 am

Well, I have been marathoning for almost 15 years and wanted to test something new out. I tried this plan because it looked completely different than any training method before. It didn’t make sense how the running peaked, and I got to the start line exhausted and sick, clearly under rested. The marathon had actually gone pretty smoothly until mile 17, when my ankle rolled and my ACL ripped. Had to quit the race and was upset with this training plan. However, free IS free. 6/10. Would not recommend

Sven

Amazing programme!!

Rated 5 out of 5
November 15, 2022 11:16 am

These running plans are AMAZING. I used it for 2 half marathons and I was so surprised at how I gained fitness, even though I was ill for 2 weeks and sustained a knee injury!

I completed the half marathon in 1h37 min 😃🤗

Thanx again team!

Miranda (51 yrs old 🥰)

first marathon

Rated 5 out of 5
October 27, 2022 6:16 am

and it worked a charm!

Marcelina Ziemnicki

16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan For Beginners (With PDF) 1
16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan For Beginners (With PDF) 2

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!