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Half Marathon Training Plan for Beginners (Professional Guide)

By Alex Bakhovsky
July 11, 2023
7 minutes

How do you know when you hit mile 10 of a half marathon? When your feet feel like they’ve been replaced by cement blocks! (joke)


marathon 1 Half marathon racing is growing in popularity each year, and lots of athletes now look up to become professional runners as their career path. We believe anyone can accomplish this goal when they are properly guided along the way with a well-structured training plan. This article will be your guide to the best half marathon training plan for beginners, which has been proven effective by some of the world’s best athletes. Every beginner should check out this official guide before they make any attempt at their long-distance running goals, so let’s get started!

According to statistics, it is estimated that around 30 million participants take part in jogging or running events every year. That includes organized races as well as fun runs. Additionally, an incredible 541,000 people ran a half marathon last year alone! With those impressive stats, we can see why more and more people are looking to set goals and become full-time runners themselves.

Whether you’re just starting with your athletic journey or you’re intending on taking your motivation to another level – this article will provide useful advice on how you may achieve success with a positive outlook and consistency along the way. Let’s be honest with ourselves, no matter how small or big our goals are, life will sometimes get in the way.

Therefore, you need a reliable training plan that can be your best friend when you experience any bumps along the road – and this is what we are here to provide. So if you’re looking for some lighthearted jokes along the way and helpful tips on building up your running stamina count, then say no more!

What is a Half Marathon?

marathon 2 A half marathon is defined as a race that covers 13.1 miles which is equivalent to 21 kilometers. It’s an incredibly popular distance event among athletes since it involves shorter distances with a lower impact on your body compared to running full marathons (26.2 miles/ 42.2 km). Unlike sprint races, you are given enough time to prepare mentally and physically for the challenge ahead – ensuring your success in completing the race within its duration.

The average pace of 15 minutes 30 seconds per mile or 9 minutes 44 seconds for each kilometer can be considered a safe bet when participating in a half marathon and should increase gradually as your skill level progresses and ability advances over time to achieve faster times!

If you’re looking into getting serious about running half marathons, check out running clubs in your area as they often host practice sessions according to their schedules conveniently near where you live -with teammates who can encourage and motivate you along the way!

Importance of a Training Plan

marathon 3 Having a proper and well-structured training plan beforehand is essential for any successful athletic endeavor, and this also applies to running half marathons in particular. Your training plan should be tailored to suit your current skill level and fitness goals whilst incorporating enough rest days so that you don’t succumb to fatigue. This is important because it increases your chances of avoiding injury which can easily happen during high-intensity workouts.

In addition, a training plan will allow you to track progress from the initial stages up until race day – providing valuable feedback on how well you are doing over time and where improvements can be made!

But it’s not just about numbers when it comes to training plans – having an emotional attachment toward movement helps too! Think back to why you started running in the first place. Was it because you wanted to get fit or challenge yourself with a new hobby? Connecting with our emotions can help keep us motivated for longer periods than if we relied solely on physicality every day – feeling refreshed and happy each time we go out running!

Basic Principles of a Half Marathon Training Plan

marathon 4 Before delving into any training plan, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics of the sport and understand what physical transformation must take place as you approach each session or the race itself.

First and foremost running is an endurance sport – so building up your aerobic capacity by incorporating cardiovascular workouts over time is key! You should begin with shorter distances (e.g., 3 miles) and then increase gradually.

Secondly, when you’re still a beginner, it may pay off to stick to more low-impact exercises like swimming and cycling which can help ease potential joint pains that might occur due to high-mileage run days. It takes time for your body to get used to any given exercise routine so never rush into anything – practice patience here!

Lastly, make sure that there are ample rest periods between sessions, or else running might become tedious instead of enjoyable. This can be done through scheduled “active recovery” such as yoga or gentle walks on non-running days.

Week-by-week Training Plan

  • Week 1

Start by running 3-4 days a week, with one day of rest in between. Aim to run for 30-40 minutes total in each session. During this time, it is important to run at a comfortable pace as you work up your baseline fitness level.

Start with shorter distances and gradually build up the distance each day or session, if you feel comfortable doing so. Additionally, add intermediate walking sessions (15-20 minutes) at a moderate intensity one to two times a week.

marathon 5

  • Week 2

Continue running for 30-40 minutes three to four times per week at a comfortable pace while slowly increasing the distance if it feels comfortable and appropriate. If you are feeling energized and want to push yourself further, add an extra 5-10 minute running/walking session throughout the week as well as stretching or foam rolling afterward for recovery purposes.

  • Week 3

At this point, begin building up your weekly mileage by adding more walk/run combination sessions that are 45-60 minutes long twice a week.

Always make sure to warm up properly before starting an activity and cool down exercises afterward with stretching or easy jogging for 5-10 minutes every time you finish your running/walking session!

High knees and butt kicks can be good additions that help build strength, power, and overall fitness levels as you progress through your training plan.

  • Week 4

Continue increasing weekly mileage by adding a one-speed interval workout at least once a week (tempo run workouts will do just fine!). Break the workout into different lengths such as 8 min jog + 1 min high intensity + 4 min jog + 30 sec fast sprints… etc).

Remember to start easy on each interval, control your breathing during the intense portion of intervals and move back down slowly before changing into another type of exercise (this can help avoid any potential injuries). After completing these challenging workouts make sure to treat yourself with some stretching/foam rolling afterwards!

  • Week 5

Gradually increase the length of each tempo run or speed interval workout throughout the next weeks until you reach a length of 60 min which should be done twice per week depending on each individual’s current fitness level – still focusing on proper warmups/cool downs throughout all workouts!

Additionally, it is important to take special care of recovery by eating healthy meals after each exercise session + using massage guns or foam rollers whenever needed to prevent any injuries from occurring along your way!

marathon 6

  • Week 6-7

Increase weekly mileage from previous weeks aiming for 7-10 km per longer run once per week while following the same principle of proper warming up & cooling down before & after every single activity done throughout both these weeks!

Also, introduce more cross-training activities like swimming, Bikram yoga, or pilates into an existing routine – they all provide great mental relief that everyone should consider taking from time to time given how physical & tough all marathon training plans can get on our minds & spirits!!

  • Week 8-9

Begin adding hill repeats into an existing routine – this type of exercise allows runners to strengthen their bodies while preparing for specific terrain encountered along race routes… try maybe 3x 40-second uphill runs followed by 1min40sec rest in between sets – this way our legs will get used not only flat sections but also steeper trails that we might encounter during particular races!

  • Week 10-11-12

Start tapering off – decrease both weekly mileage & intensity levels accordingly – try going out for some relaxed runs while listening to favorite tunes + reading inspirational books about running & motivate yourself towards your biggest accomplishment yet !! Towards the end goal reward yourself with some massage therapies & make sure you remain motivated during the final stretch leading up to the race date!

Tips for Race Day

marathon 7 After all the hours, days, and weeks you have put into this training plan, you are now ready to take on race day! So let’s finish off with some helpful tips on how to make sure that you get the most out of your race:

  • Firstly remember that any half marathon is an individual experience! Everyone will feel differently throughout the journey and rely on personal performance both physically and mentally – it’s ok not to be perfect or cross the finishing line as fast as other peers. However – enjoy every moment of it because if you truly focus on gaining sheer satisfaction from within then there is no way that outside influences can stop what works best just for YOU!

  • Additionally, during the actual event, try focusing on short-term milestones rather than thinking about beating an opponent – every runner is unique, so aim here instead! As they say “Never compare your half marathon time against another runner’s because everyone has their limits” – which is exactly why staying true to yourself within each session or race is important here!

  • Finally do away with negative thoughts by maintaining a positive attitude towards it all. This could potentially help decrease stress levels before embarking on any sort of goal no matter how small/ big they may seem.


marathon 8 This article has guided beginners on the best tips and tricks when undertaking half-marathon training plans! We’ve discussed basic principles for any preparation period and advice to ensure success later down the road.

We have intended to provide helpful insight into the overall process of readying oneself with a customized routine as you build up towards achieving your own goals along the way – whilst having a bit of fun added in too!

There is no doubt that running half marathons can be a very daunting task, but don’t forget that you aren’t alone – others understand your struggles which is why it pays dividends when joining peer groups or running clubs together. They can even become lifetime friends due to building such unforgettable shared experiences.

So if you believe yourself able to take on this challenge then here’s wishing everybody ‘Happy Running!’

Alex Bakhovsky
Greetings, I am Alex Bakhovsky, a fervent health and fitness enthusiast with a profound ardor for enhancing the overall well-being of both ordinary individuals and elite athletes. My ultimate goal is to disseminate this passion and knowledge to a wider audience, including yourself. With over five years of experience as a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, I have acquired a wealth of practical knowledge and skills that enable me to provide comprehensive guidance and support to my clients in achieving their fitness and wellness goals.
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