How to Design a Half Marathon Training Schedule
Want to run a half marathon but not sure how to structure your training plan? Well keep reading and we'll tell you what key pieces of a Half Marathon Training plan are.
A Half Marathon training plan can be broken down into 6 key components.
- Length of Schedule
- Long Runs
- Medium Long Runs
- Short Intervals
- Tempo Runs
Half Marathon Training Component #1: Length of Schedule
How much time do you have to train? For a half marathon, give yourself a minimum of 10 weeks, but this number will vary based on your experience. For someone who has been running for years, they may just need a few weeks of longer runs and tempo runs to get themselves ready. The newer you are to running, the more weeks of training you will need. 10 weeks is a good starting point, but if you are new to running, you'll want to spend a month or two building up some base mileage first before you tackle a training regime.
Half Marathon Training Component #2: Long Runs
Just like when training for a marathon, when training for a half marathon, the key component is going to be the long run. The long run should start out at a manageable distance at week one and build up so that by week 7 you've peeked at between 12-14 miles. Experienced runners who are racing the half marathon will likely run even run longer. For beginner to intermediate runners, this run is for building endurance, increasing the number and size of mitochondria and increasing aerobic efficiency.
Half Marathon Training Component #3: Medium Long Runs
I first read about medium long runs in a book called Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzenger and Scott Douglas. While their book is aimed at marathoners, I believe the medium long run can be incorporated into the half marathon training plan as well. The length of the medium long run should be about 65-75% of the distance of your long run, so for example, if your long run is 12 miles, plan on a medium long run of about 8-9 miles. This run should be completed mid week at a brisk pace, so not as fast as a tempo and not as slow as a long run.
Half Marathon Training Component #4: Short Intervals
Short intervals are often performed at a track and consist of repetitions such as 800 to 1000 meters interspersed with rest periods. This type of workout is going to develop some leg speed and make the pace of your other runs feel easier.
Half Marathon Training Component #5: Tempo Runs
The tempo run should be executed at a pace that you can run for about an hour. This will probably be a bit slower than your half marathon pace. Each week the length of the tempo run will build up until it gets to about 6 miles. The tempo run will make you stronger and build confidence that you can hold a strong pace for the half marathon.
Half Marathon Training Component #6: Taper
With 2 to 3 weeks remaining in the training plan, you want to start the taper. This is where you start cutting back the mileage and let your legs and body begin to recover until finally they are ready to be unleashed on race day!
FINAL STEP: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Take a look at this sample beginner half marathon plan, it will give you an idea of what yours might look like. Adjust it to your current fitness and experience level.
After The Half Marathon
Congrats, you did it! Want to continue staying motivated after the half marathon? Join Fun Run Box and get monthly running challenges, gear and goodies every month!