Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon

Welcome to our library of Free Half Marathon Training Plans!

The half marathon training schedules we’ve developed have been refined and road-tested by thousands of runners – each comes with explanatory notes and guidance.   

In order to pick the best plan for you, our half marathon training schedules are split into three categories – novice, intermediate, and time-based

Choose a half marathon training plan which reflects your current state of running fitness, the amount of time you have available, and your half marathon goals. 

Jump straight to a specific plan:

Or, keep reading to get the low-down on how the training schedules work, who makes them, and how to pick the best half marathon training program for you.


Half Marathon Training Plans: Frequently Asked Questions


How Long Is a Half Marathon?

A half marathon is 13.1 miles, or 21.1 kilometers (13.1094 miles or 21.0975km to be exact!).

How Long Does It Take To Train For A Half Marathon?

Generally, a good half marathon training plan should be 2 to 4 months in length, as this allows sufficient time to build up the required mileage base, without ramping up too quickly.

We recommend that you spend at least three months training for your half marathon – assuming you have some running background.

The exact length of time it takes to train and prepare for a half marathon depends on your current running abilities and your half marathon goals.

How Do I Choose A Half Marathon Training Plan?

Deciding which half marathon training program is right for you is a personal choice – it depends on what your current running ability is, how long you have until your half marathon, and what your half marathon goals are.  

Check out the notes alongside each half marathon training plan below to help you choose!

Customisable, Free Half Marathon Training Plans

At Marathon Handbook, our aim is to help you to run far.  

With that in mind, all our half marathon training plans are completely free and totally customisable.  

Do other commitments mean that you can only train on certain days?  

Need to trim a couple of weeks off the time schedule?

No problem, edit the spreadsheet as you see fit.  

Our training plans come in both Google Sheets and PDF format; feel free to grab a copy of the Google Sheet, edit it, download it to Excel, print it – do whatever you want!

Furthermore, you can choose to download the plans formatted into either kilometres or miles – whichever you’re used to.

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Beginner and Novice Half Marathon Training Plans

Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan

Couch To Half Marathon Training Plan

Our Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan is our classic training plan for new runners looking to nail their Half Marathon!

Specifically designed to get you from the ‘getting started’ phase to the finish line of your half marathon, this training plan gradually increases your mileage over 15 weeks to ensure you build endurance without overdoing it.

The plan is designed with a ‘tiered’ approach, working to get you to the 5k milestone, then the 10k milestone, before reaching the half marathon mark.

Although the plan spans 15 weeks, it is designed to be stretched out to suit your ability level and needs – once you reach a milestone, you can pause there until ready to progress.

Who is it for?:  New runners looking to finish their half marathon! It’s best suited for those runners who don’t have an ambitious finishing time in mind, as the focus is not on speed but on gradually – and safely – building that mileage up.

How Long?: 15 weeks, as a minimum. As you reach each milestone, you can pause until ready to progress further. 

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. 

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 1

5k To Half Marathon Training Plan

Our 5k to Half Marathon Training Plan is for runners who have completed their first 5k are looking to up the ante to a half marathon!

This training plan gradually increases your mileage over 12 weeks to ensure you build endurance without overdoing it.

The plan spans 12 weeks, with the option to add an extra light week at the start if you’ve just run a 5k and need a slow warm up, or feel free to jump in at week 1 or week 2 if you already feel comfortable running a bit further than 5k.

Who is it for?:  Runners who are able to run 5k and are looking to finish their half marathon! It’s best suited for those runners who don’t have an ambitious finishing time in mind, as the focus is not on speed but on gradually – and safely – building that mileage up.

How Long?: 12 weeks. This allows for a steady increase to a the half marathon distance with a low risk of overtraining.

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

16 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan – 16 Weeks

Our 16-Week 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.

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 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. 

12 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan – 12 Weeks

Our 12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan is a great plan for runners who have some short-distance experience, or perhaps are a little rusty and need to blow off the cobwebs prior to their half marathon!

It is a compressed version of our 16 week half marathon plan, and also includes the option of switching out a training run for a tempo run.

Tempo runs are great for runners with a specific finishing time in mind; they help you to train towards that time.

Who is it for?: Runners with some experience looking to rock a solid half marathon!   

How Long?: 12 weeks // 3 months. This is an abridged version of the 16 week plan; if you’re confident that you can handle the faster mileage increases, this is the plan for you.

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. 

Intermediate And Advanced
Half Marathon Training Plans

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 2

10k To Half Marathon Training Plan

Our 10k to Half Marathon Training Plan is for those who have run a 10k and are looking to smash their first Half Marathon!

Specifically designed to get you from a running a 10k to the finish line of your half marathon, this training plan gradually increases your mileage over 11 weeks to ensure you build endurance without overdoing it.

Who is it for?:  Runners who can run 10k and are looking to finish their half marathon! It’s best suited for those runners who don’t have an ambitious finishing time in mind, as the focus is not on speed but on gradually – and safely – building that mileage up.

How Long?: 11 weeks.

The 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. 

10 week half Marathon

Improver Half Marathon Training Plan – 10 Weeks

Our 10 Weeks Half Marathon Training Plan is best suited for runners with some experience looking to improve their half marathon performance.

It builds up your mileage over 10 weeks, and includes one tempo run per week.

Tempo runs are great for runners with a specific finishing time in mind; they help you to train towards that time.

Who is it for?: Runners looking to run a great 1st half marathon, or set a new PR!   

How Long?: 10 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, to be performed at a comfortable pace, one tempo run, 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. 

8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Improver Half Marathon Training Plan – 8 Weeks

Our 8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan is for experienced runners looking to ramp up their training for a half marathon!

It builds up your mileage over 8 weeks, and includes one tempo run per week.

Tempo runs are great for runners with a specific finishing time in mind; they help you to train towards that time.

Who is it for?: Runners who have run a half marathon in the past and want to ‘dust off’ their half marathon chops. 

How Long?: 8 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, to be performed at a comfortable pace, one tempo run, 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. 

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 3

Improver Half Marathon Training Plan – 6 Weeks

Our 6 Week Half Marathon Training Plan is for experienced runners looking to improve their half marathon finishing time!

It builds up your mileage over 6 weeks, and includes one tempo run per week.

Tempo runs are great for runners with a specific finishing time in mind; they help you to train towards that time.

Who is it for?: Runners who have run a half marathon in the past and want to up the ante. 

How Long?: 6 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, to be performed at a comfortable pace, one tempo run, 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. 

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 4

Advanced Half Marathon Training Plan – 4 Weeks

Our 4 Week Half Marathon Training Plan is for experienced runners looking to looking to train intensely for a half mararthon in a short period of time.

It builds up your mileage over 4 weeks, including one tempo workout and one threshold workout per week.

These runs function to increase your running speed an improve your finishing time.

Who is it for?: Runners who have run a half marathon in the past and want to ‘dust off’ their half marathon chops. 

How Long?: 4 weeks.

It includes one short run and one medium distance run per week, both to be performed at a comfortable pace. It also includes one tempo run, and one long-slow run each weekend to build your max mileage. Additionally, the plan includes one cross-training day per week and one rest days. 

Time goal-Based Half Marathon Training Plans

Sub 2 hr Half Marathon

Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan

This Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan has been reverse-engineered around the goal of finishing before the 2:00 mark.

The training plan includes recommended pace targets and strategies for each training run.

Over 12 weeks, this plan builds up the mileage and includes two speed-based training runs per week. All details of speed and how to perform these workouts are included in the training plan.

Who is it for?: Established runners looking to beat the 2 hour mark!

How Long?: 12 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, 2 speed-based runs, 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. 

1.45 Half Marathon Training Plan

1 Hour 45 Min Half Marathon Training Plan

This 1:45 Half Marathon Training Plan has been reverse-engineered around the goal of finishing before the 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The training plan includes recommended pace targets and strategies for each training run.

Over 12 weeks, this plan builds up the mileage and includes two speed-based training runs per week. All details of speed and how to perform these workouts are included in the training plan.

Who is it for?: Established runners looking to beat the 1:45 hour mark!

How Long?: 12 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, 2 speed-based runs, 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. 

1.30 Half Marathon Training Plan

1 Hour 30 Min Half Marathon Training Plan (12 Week)

This 1:30 Half Marathon Training Plan has been reverse-engineered around the goal of finishing before the 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The training plan includes recommended pace targets and strategies for each training run.

Over 12 weeks, this plan builds up the mileage and includes two speed-based training runs per week. All details of speed and how to perform these workouts are included in the training plan.

Who is it for?: Established runners looking to beat the 1:30 hour mark!

How Long?: 12 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, 2 speed-based runs, 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. 

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 5

Sub 90-Minute Half Marathon Training Plan (8 Weeks)

This Sub 90-minute Half Marathon Training Plan is a fast-paced 8-week plan designed for experienced runners looking for smash the 1:30 hour mark!

The training plan includes recommended pace targets and strategies for each training run.

Over 8 weeks, this plan builds up the mileage and includes two speed-based training runs per week. All details of speed and how to perform these workouts are included in the training plan.

Who is it for?: Established runners looking to beat the 1:30 hour mark!

How Long?: 8 weeks.

It includes 2 mid-week runs, 2 speed-based runs, and one long-slow run each weekend to build your max mileage. The plan includes one cross-training day per week and one rest day. 


Who Has Designed These Training Plans?

Hi!

I’m Thomas, a UESCA-certified running coach and ultra-runner. 

I’ve worked with hundreds of runners and developed these training plans through ongoing research, my work with other marathon runners, and personal experience.

We’ve shared our marathon training plans online for free since 2016.

We’re big believers in marginal gains and constantly improving what we do, so over the years we have continually revisited and refined each marathon training plan as our knowledge – and feedback from our runners – has improved.

These plans have now been used by over 100,000 runners – we share their success stories and testimonials over on Instagram.

We also have a dedicated Facebook group where runners discuss our plans, their challenges, and share their finish line photos!

An image of Thomas from Marathon Handbook
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How Do These Plans Compare With Other Half Marathon Plans Available Online?

Alright, so you’ve probably googled ‘half marathon training plan‘ and seen there are many sites offering plans.

We’re big fans, and friends, with many of these coaches . . . for years before I became a coach, I followed Hal Higdon‘s training plans for each of my races, and credit the Hal Higdon training plan for getting me through my first couple of halfs.

You’ll also find awesome plans from the likes of Runner’s World, Nike, Jeff Galloway, and major race organisers – I’d encourage you to check them out and compare them to our free plans before you commit to a specific plan. Always choose the plan that looks right for you.

Our plans differ from other plans you’ll find online in that they are:

#1. Customisable / Free To Edit

We’re big believers that there’s no one-size-fits-all training plan. You can grab a free copy of any plan and move things around to suit you using either Google Sheets, Excel, or similar software.

Want to cut off the first couple of weeks and jump in at week 3?

Need to move a weekly workout to suit your existing commitments or family?

Need to adjust things because of an illness, injury, or just feeling the need for a break?

That’s why a customisable, dynamic training plan is so important – your training plan should work for you, not the other way around.

#2. Include Extensive Guidance Notes

Each plan includes a page of notes that walk you through the rationale of the plan, and how to perform every single workout.

We tell you how hard to push it (either in terms of a specific pace or RPE) and give you tips for how to do each and every workout, and walk you through how to train towards your race pace.

#3. We Follow Up With More Helpful Material (All Free)

We’ve been helping runners get through their half marathon training for many years now, so we know all the main sticking points and common problems that are faced.

So when anyone signs up for one of our plans, we stay in touch – after you get your plan, we’ll pepper your inbox every couple of days with tips and training strategies specific to your marathon journey. Not interested in extra material? Just unsubscribe at any time.

#4. We Want To Keep Getting Better

We’re constantly getting feedback from runners on our plans – everything from the workout frequency to the clarity of information to the suitability of the runner’s experience level. We also work hard on the plan format to ensure it’s clear, easy to follow / edit / print off, and is best-suited to the runner.

That’s why we’re constantly revisiting our plans; we did a major overhaul in 2022 and are constantly making small tweaks to improve them.

#5. We Are A Support Community

Through our in-house coaches and runners, our Facebook group of over 12,000 runners, and our Instagram community, we want to make sure you’ve got the support you need as you take on your training journey.

Don’t You Have a Half Marathon Training App?

Actually, we do!

We’ve partnered with TrainingPeaks to offer all of our training plans through their app, where you get more in-depth information about each workout, can follow along with target pace / exertion levels in real-time, and log your training directly in the app itself.

We do charge for these premium training plans – but it’s less than half the price of a pair of running shoes, so if you’re interested, check out our TrainingPeaks Half Marathon Training Plans.

marathon training plans trainingpeaks

If All This Is Really Free, How Do You Folks Make Money?

We keep ourselves going by charging for a couple of premium products we’ve put out there: our TrainingPeaks Training Plans, and our Half Marathon Masterclass.

The Masterclass is designed for any runner who really wants to dive deep into their half marathon training: it includes over 6 hours of video tutorials on everything from injury prevention, nutrition, race day strategies, and more.

But – feel free to just grab a free training plan and be on your way!

Who Has Designed These Half Marathon Training Plans?

Hi!

I’m Thomas, a UESCA-certified running coach and ultra-runner. 

I’ve worked with hundred of runners, and developed these training plans through ongoing research, my work with other marathon runners, and personal experience.

I am always reviewing the best training practices and update the plans as required!

Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 6
Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 7
Half Marathon Training Plans: How to Train for A Half Marathon 8

Training Plan Elements Explained:

Training Runs

These are standard runs, typically of 3 – 6 miles in length.  They are used to build running form and time-on-your-feet. They should be performed at close-to your target race pace, or at a conversational pace if you have no target speed. 

Long Runs

These are longer distance runs, designed to increase your stamina.   They are purely about building up the length of time you can continue running – don’t worry about your pace, keep it an easy conversational level (more info).

Speed Work / Interval Training

Run workouts designed to increase your speed!  These come in various forms – Yasso’s, intervals, Fartleks, etc.   They are useful if you have a speed-based goal, but if you don’t then no need to focus on them – they can be tiring (more info).

Cross Training

Any form of exercise which does not involve running, and preferably one which is low impact (avoid contact sports).   Good forms of cross-training include yoga, swimming, and strength training. Here’s our full guide to cross-training for runners.