Beginner Half Marathon Training Plans

Beginner's Half marathon training plan

A couple of my friends are running their first half marathons this Spring, and asked me to help them write a training plan for them. This plan is based on the marathon training plans that have worked well for me, including a speed workout, a tempo run and a long run. I’m not so great at doing training runs more than 3 days a week without injury, so have created this plan to reflect that. I know a lot of other people find it tough to fit in more than three runs a week with work and other commitments, or like me, are a little injury prone so I hope it works for some of you too (or your friends/family/colleagues tackling spring halfs).

Although it’s a beginner plan, I wouldn’t recommend it for total running newbies – if you’ve been running for a while and are stepping up to half marathon distance, if you’ve run a half before and want to run faster, or if you’re pretty fit anyway and are tackling your first half marathon, then you might like this plan!

You can also make it easier by subbing out the tempo workout and just using the right mileage for that day, for example when it says ‘1 mile warm up, 1 mile fast, 1 mile cool down’ you can just run 3 miles at average pace.

Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan 

Training Plan

Here’s a link to a downloadable version of the 3 day a week half marathon training plan.

Beginner's half marathon training plan

Speed Workouts 

I’ve included speed workouts for Tuesdays, however you could swap in one of these treadmill workouts  or take a HIIT workout class, such as Barry’s Bootcamp, 1Rebel Reshape, Project Fit, or any other cardio and weights combo class you like.

Strides – Strides are medium paced sprints lasting for 20-30 seconds or 60-100m as part of your normal paced run. Focus on pumping your arms and legs more quickly than your usual pace. 

400m – Run your 400m as fast as you can, with a 3-5min recovery between each.

800m – Run 800m at 5K pace, with the same amount of recovery time as running time. For example, if your 800m took 3.45 mins, then rest for 3.45mins between sets.

Mile repeats – Run your fastest pace mile, take a 5 min break, then repeat.

Garmin half marathon training

Tempo Workouts 

A tempo workout is a ‘comfortably hard’ paced workout, i.e. quicker than your average pace, but slower than a speed workout. These can be workouts where just a few of the miles are at a faster pace than normal, or where you increase your pace with each mile throughout your run, or run a faster, short run.

Long Runs

You’ll be doing these at a slowish comfortable pace. It should be a pace that you could chat at, and continue for an indefinite amount of time. Listening to audiobooks or podcasts are a great way of keeping your pace even during these runs.

Half marathon training plans

I’ve included yoga and strength workouts are included in the plan for balance, and to help prevent injury. You can include your own favourites for these, adding more yoga sessions if you want, or swapping them for Pilates.

The rest days are really important, don’t skip them!

I’ll be following a plan with a very similar structure to the one above for my own half marathon, with slightly different speed and tempo workouts which I’ll be posting on the blog and on social media as I train.

Half marathon training plan

Good Luck with your training!!

Photos taken by Lydia Hudgens. I am not a training coach and wrote this plan based on personal experience, please see a doctor before starting a new training regime, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits! Running should be fun, and not (too) painful!

8 Comments

  1. 3rd January 2016 / 7:20 pm

    Fantastic plan – thank you for sharing. Not quite as scared about my half now!

    • charlotte
      3rd January 2016 / 8:05 pm

      So glad, hope you like the plan and let me know how you get on!

  2. 4th January 2016 / 8:17 am

    What a FAB plan! Thank you for sharing, will come in ever so handy for mine in April! 🙂

  3. Carla
    4th January 2016 / 1:41 pm

    This plan looks great as I can only run three times a week – would it be OK the shift the days slightly as I run Mon/wed/sat?

    • charlotte
      4th January 2016 / 9:36 pm

      Yes of course, I want to make this work for you!!

  4. Carla
    5th January 2016 / 8:18 am

    Great thanks. My HM isn’t until Sept, need to plan for my 10K in May now 🙂

  5. Mandy
    5th January 2016 / 1:59 pm

    Hi Charlotte, love your plan, do you have a similar one for 10k? x

  6. Gemma
    23rd January 2016 / 11:19 am

    Hi Charlotte, I’ve noticed the longest run is 11 miles….I’m train for my first HM in Feb, is it best not to run the full distance until the actual event?