Half Marathon Training Plans

Welcome to our library of 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.   

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

How Long Is a Half Marathon?

A marathon is 13.1 miles, or 21.1 kilometers.

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

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

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

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

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 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!

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!

BEGINNER AND NOVICE HALF MARATHON TRAINING PLANS

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. 

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.

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. 

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan – 12 Weeks

Our 12 Weeks 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. 

IMPROVER AND INTERMEDIATE HALF MARATHON TRAINING PLANS

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. 

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. 

TIME GOAL-BASED
HALF MARATHON TRAINING PLANS

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 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 Hour 30 Min Half Marathon Training Plan

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. 

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. 

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!

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.