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Half Marathon Training Plans

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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.

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.

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About Phil Mosley

5 Stars from 151 reviews

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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Research-backed plans for any experience-level that fit around your lifestyle. From leading endurance coach Phil Mosley.

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On top of full help-centre & FAQ support (with videos), our coaches will quickly reply to any questions you have via email.

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

MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING PLAN

We use Training Peaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, Training Peaks 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. 

Training Peaks 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.

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.
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.

Yes! 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.

Over 40? Compare these with our Masters Half Marathon plans ▸

BEGINNER

Perfect for your first Half Marathon
2-5 hrs per week, across 4-5 workouts
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  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

INTERMEDIATE

For seasoned runners
4-6 hrs per week, across 5-6 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
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  • Help centre & FAQ support
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ADVANCED

Slash your race-times
5-8 hrs per week, across 6-7 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

Join Over 10,000 Successful Athletes

FEEDBACK FROM MY HALF MARATHON CLIENTS

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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*on average, our athletes use their plan twice (our plans can be activated multiple times)

Training Tips Blog

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Eliud Kipchoge’s recent sub-2 marathon highlighted the importance of running form. Here’s our guide to refining your running gait to boost your chances of a

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In response to client feedback, we’re continually designing new specialist plans to get the best results from all our athletes. Follow the links below to read about them and see if they could be a good fit for you.

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Half Marathon Running - Beginner Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Half Marathon Running - Intermediate Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Half Marathon Running - Advanced Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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