Half-Marathon Training Made Easier

Fri, 2 Dec. 2011 - 11:52 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

For newer runners who feel stuck in a rut of 5K racing, trying longer races need not be an intimidating and elusive goal. Half-marathon racing is not reserved for those knocking back 40-mile or more weeks. The following is a sample half-marathon training schedule that begins at a solid mileage base of just 20 miles per week. In only three runs per week over the course of 13 weeks, it’s possible to ready your body for a 13.1-mile race goal of as low as 1:50:00. Of course, there are countless training schedules that incorporate running five or more days per week, and this represents just one alternative, in particular one that less experienced runners can try. It is used to illustrate how, with the right training focus for each run on the schedule, and good use of the basic principles of exertion-variance and energy-responsiveness outlined in “Understanding Effort,” you can toe the line at these longer road races—and run them well. Note that, if your race is sufficiently far into the future, weeks seven and eight (essentially in the middle of the schedule) can be repeated any number of times until you feel that your training has adapted and is ready for the increased intensity at the back half of the schedule.

 

The schedule outlined below is defined by your weekly mileage base and your comfort level with the weekly long run listed. The low ends of the ranges for the weekly long run and the weekly mileage represent the beginning weeks of the schedule; the high ends of these ranges represent the mileage you’ll be peaking out at as your race approaches. Here is an overview of the basic training plan for half-marathon novices:

 

 

Running sessions per week

 

Long-run range

Weekly mileage

Time-goal range

3

10-12

22-30

1:50-2:30

 

 

Whichever day you choose to make day one, remember that the day numbers are designed to keep the most optimal spacing between certain workouts. The first eight weeks of the 13-week schedule include light fartlek runs, moderate hill sessions, and easy runs on hills and/or soft surfaces. You’ll also add moderate long runs, steady-state runs, goal-pace runs, tempo runs, and 5K race-pace runs. Later in the schedule, the focus shifts to having you sharp and tapered to race the half-marathon. Two weeks out, an important seven-mile run at half-marathon goal pace will tune you up for the best possible race-day performance.

 

 

Week

Day 1

Day 3

Day 6

1

Fartlek: 3M warm up; 8 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down


4-5M easy on hills and/or grass/trails

Long run: 10M easy on flat

2

Fartlek: 3M warm up; 10 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down

Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 4M at goal pace; 4 x 100-m strides @ 85% speed; 2M cool down


Steady-state run: 8M on flat; may substitute 5K race

3

Fartlek: 3M warm up; 10 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down

Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 4M at goal pace; 4 x 100m @ 85% speed; 2M cool down


Long run: 11M easy on flat

4

Fartlek: 3M warm up; 12 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down


4-5M easy on hills and/or grass/trails

Steady-state run: 8M on flat

5

Fartlek: 3M warm up; 12 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down

Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 5M at goal pace; 4 x 100m @ 85% speed; 2M cool down

Long run: 11M easy on flat

6

Hill session: 3M warm up; strides on flat; 8 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down

Tempo run: 2M warm up; strides; 2.5M at tempo; 4 X 200m @ 85% speed; 1M cool down


Steady-state run: 8M on flat

7

4-5M easy on hills and/or grass/trails

Hill session: 3M warm up; strides on flat; 10 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 2M cool down


Long run: 12M easy on flat

8

Hill session: 3M warm up; strides on flat; 10 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 4 x 100-m strides on flat; 2M cool down


Tempo run: 2M warm up; strides; 3M at tempo; 4 X 200m @ 85% speed; 1M cool down

Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 5M at goal pace; 4 x 100m @ 85% speed; 2M cool down

9

4-5M easy on flat w 5 x 100-m strides @ 85% speed

Hill session: 3M warm up; strides on flat; 12 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 4 x 100-m strides on flat; 2M cool down


Long run: 12M easy on flat

10

Hill session: 3M warm up; strides on flat; 12 x :30 @ 85% speed w 2:30 recovery jogs; 4 x 100-m strides on flat; 2M cool down


Tempo run: 2M warm up; strides; 3M at tempo; 4 X 200m @ 85% speed; 1M cool down

Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 6M at goal pace; 4 x 100m @ 85% speed; 2M cool down

11

4-5M easy on flat w 5 x 100-m strides @ 85% speed

10K reps: 2M warm up; strides; 5 x 1200m at 10K pace w 400-m recovery jogs; 5 x 200m at 85% speed; 1M cool down


Goal-pace run: 2M warm up; strides; 7M at goal pace; 4 x 100m @ 85% speed; 2M cool down

12

3-4M easy on flat w 5 x 100-m strides @ 85% speed

Fartlek: 2M warm up; 15 x :40 @ 85% speed w 2:20 recovery jogs; 1M cool down

10K reps: 2M warm up; strides; 4 x 1M at 10K pace w 400-m recovery jogs; 4 x 200m at 85% speed; 1M cool down


13

Goal-pace + 10K reps: 2M warm up; strides; 1st 3M w CD*; 2 x 1M @ 10K pace w 400-m recovery jogs; 1M cool down

Final taper: 3-4 easy days prior to race

Half-marathon race: 2M warm up; strides; during race, 1st 3M w CD*; goal pace to finish; 1M cool down; stretching

 

* Cutdowns: mile 1 paced :30 slower than half-marathon goal pace; mile 2 paced :20 slower than goal pace; mile 3 paced :10 slower than goal pace.

 

(Marathon & Beyond, 2005, Vol. 9, No. 6,  pp. 54-72)

 

 

(RUNNING & FITNEWS® January/February 2006 • Volume 24, Number 1)





Latest News
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done

Aug 02 1:02 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success
Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success

Jun 04 12:26 p.m.

Article by: Rick Ganzi, M.D.

Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running
Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running

May 15 3:03 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Catch Them If You Can
Catch Them If You Can

Apr 08 7:22 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

New Roles of Sports Chiropractic
New Roles of Sports Chiropractic

Feb 21 11:15 a.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables