Half Marathon Training Plans


The Best Way To Train For A Half Marathon

The best way to train for a half marathon is to build up your training slowly over a period of weeks and months. Most people start off by running too far, too fast, or too regularly, and then get injured or lose motivation. A good way to avoid this is by following an expertly designed training plan. People who use training plans have been shown to be twice as likely to succeed in reaching their goals.

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Top Training Tips For A Half Marathon

If you’re a total beginner your runs should start off at 15 minutes in duration and increase gradually over a period of weeks or months. If this feels too hard for you, walk briskly instead, until you’re fit enough to include a little running in your workouts. Over time you will be able to run more and walk less. Aim to increase the duration of your workouts by no more than 10% per week. Your runs should not feel too intense at this stage – ideally you should be able to talk while you’re running, as a way of knowing that you’re not going too hard. If not, slow down or include some walking sections.  If you ignore this, you increase your risk of getting injured.

Once you have built up to running 30 minutes comfortably, you can then structure your training program around three key runs per week. The first key session is an endurance session, where you build up over the weeks and months to around 1 hour 30 minutes of low intensity running.

The second key session is a speed session, with a warm up, a warm down and some hard efforts sandwiched in between – such as 4 x 3 minutes hard with 2-minute recoveries.

The third key session should be a run that includes some half-marathon paced efforts, so you get used to the demands of race day. For example, 2 x 10 minutes at half marathon pace, with 3-minute recoveries (plus, warm up and warm down). We include these kinds of workouts in our half marathon training plans.  All your key sessions should constantly evolve and progress over time, so your body is forced to adapt and improve.

If you do additional runs, they can be steady jogs of around 30-60 minutes. If possible, do some of your running on soft surfaces like grass or trails, to reduce the impact on your body. Training on hillier terrain is good too, because it spreads the load to a wider range of muscle fibers, compared to running on flat ground. Always be mindful of avoiding injury – over half of all runners are injured every year. In our novice, intermediate and advanced half marathon training plans we make every fourth week an “active recovery week” where the training is halved. This gives your body a chance to recover and get stronger.

In our half marathon training plans there are normally two 40-minute strength and conditioning sessions each week. These workouts can help improve your strength and flexibility, leading to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least three runs per week, rather than instead of them.

Using A Half Marathon Training Plan

Online training plans are for athletes who don’t feel the need for a personal coach, but who still want the structure and planning of an expertly-written training program. Research has shown that you are twice as likely to reach your goals if you train with a structured plan. 

If you have a recent background of fitness or sport, it could take you 12 to 16 weeks to get fit enough to conquer a half marathon. If you’ve been more sedentary over the last few years, it’s harder to predict. Either way, you need to build up your training gradually over a period of months. Fitness improvements build up slowly and gradually, like coffee dripping through a filter into a jug.


About Phil Mosley

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As an athlete and parent, I know how challenging it can be to train effectively for endurance events. Being a certified coach with over 20 years’ experience, the biggest challenge is balancing my client’s training with their lifestyle…

And that’s why I started MyProCoach™ – to offer the world’s most comprehensive range of online training plans, all designed to help you enjoy the same success that my athletes and I have, while still making sure you have quality time for your family, friends and career (read 100+ detailed reviews here). You can also hear from me in a series of 6 short explainer videos below:

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Our Half Marathon Training Plans (6-40 Weeks)​


We use TrainingPeaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, TrainingPeaks is an online calendar that lets you record, track and analyze your training sessions. 

It has a host of great features allowing you to get as in-depth as you like, including the ability to export your workouts to your training devices (Garmin, TrainerRoad etc) and follow them in real time. 

TrainingPeaks enables us to set you in-depth training plans in a way that other formats cannot. Phil Mosley is a Certified Coach and one of the best-selling coaches on the platform.

We want to provide an affordable and effective training solution, including email coach support for any questions you may have.

Our Certified coaching team are on hand to answer any questions during the first use of your plan, plus a bonus 3 months after its completion. During checkout, please also share your email so I can send you a series of 5 helpful emails to get you started.

As you can understand, some limits apply, like personalisation or analysis of your training, but for anything else relevant to your plan, we would love to help. You also have full access to our online help centre, with videos and articles to help you train effectively.

We have a huge range of plans that enables you to select one that best meets your goals, schedule and ability. If you’re not sure, we’d strongly recommend you read through our popular help centre article on this topic, or read on below for a quick overview.

Length of Plan
For the best outcome, count back from your “A” target race date (or use an online calculator) and simply choose a plan to fill that gap (you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan). Note that longer plans start easier and progress more gradually than shorter plans. The body responses best to constant, gradual progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our plans are designed to give you!

Level of Plan
Choosing the correct level will help you get the most out of your plan. Generally, if you’ve never done this event before or currently train up to a few times per week, you might consider a Beginner plan. Alternatively, if you’ve done this event many times before or currently train 5+ times a week, you might consider an Advanced plan.

But don’t worry too much – we also let you swap the level for free within 14 days of purchase, if you find it too easy/hard!

Click here to read the full article in our help centre or feel free to get in touch if you’d like further guidance.

Certainly! Our training plans allow you to easily swap a few days around each week to suit your availability. Or you can swap out a session, to attend a similar group workout instead. That’s fine. If you opt for Training Peaks Premium (from $9.92 per month) you can even drag & drop your workouts onto different days. We give a few recommendations on how to best do this in our help centre.

And you can also train for multiple events! Our training plans guide you up to your target “A” race, but it’s also good to include some “B or C” races along the way. Our help centre goes through the exact steps you should take to enable you to get full benefit, without detracting from your key focus.

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Beginner (6-40wks)

Perfect for your first Half Marathon
2-5 hrs per week, across 4-5 workouts
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Intermediate (6-40wks)

For seasoned runners
4-6 hrs per week, across 5-6 workouts
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Advanced (6-40wks)

Slash your race-times
5-8 hrs per week, across 6-7 workouts
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Over 40? Compare these with our Masters Half Marathon plans ▸

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I can't tell how much I am enjoying the plan. It's amazing to know what training I am going to do weeks before. I am very grateful for your programs. ​Thank you for all your hard work.
Rachel Kjearsgaard - April 2018
After 5 or so weeks of using your program I'm already reaping huge gains! It's amazing how important it is to be consistent with training. I used the less intense schedule of the Prep Phase to get accustomed to the routine and ensure it got done every morning. I'm already running 5k's in just over 20 minutes which is faster now at 40 years old than when I was in high school and in my mid 20's. Needless to say I'm stoked about the upcoming season.
Daniel Dragic - Feb 2018
I have to say, I am absolutely loving the variation in the training and really enjoying the different sets. ​
Caroline Ellis - August 2013

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