I am running my second half marathon in just under seven weeks. It’s about that time to start training for it, no?
The first time I started training for a half marathon, I documented the entire process with a ten-week plan, followed by a check-in of how every run went along with what I learned that week.
You can view all of my training week recaps under the Half Marathon Training section on the Fitness page. (Please excuse the weird fonts and formats in the early weeks, as they are back from when I used Blogger!)
This time, I am sharing my own six-week plan along with a weekly check-in.
What made me go from ten down to six weeks of training?
After I crossed the finish line of my first long distance race, I knew I wanted to complete more of them. I kept a mental note in the back of my mind that there would be a time I would need to train again, and the last thing I wanted to do was start from square one.
Over the past two and a half years, I have kept up the habit of being able to run a 10K (or 6.2 miles) without struggle. For those of you who aren’t familiar with races, that is half the distance of a half marathon. So, as long as I feel good about running six miles, I feel confident in starting a little before the halfway mark of last time.
Before any length of half-marathon training, however, it is important to pre-train. Go on a few weeks worth of leisure runs where you aren’t necessarily watching your pace or distance, but get in the habit of running for at least thirty minutes at a time without stopping. Once you complete a couple of runs this way, you are ready to start training!
Before I trained for any race, I could barely run for thirty minutes at a time. Slowly, I built that up to four miles, then five, and now I can run seven or eight if I have my head in the right place without training whatsoever. Running really has become a sport I have learned to love and wouldn’t be so determined to race if I didn’t!
Without dragging my explanations on further, below you will see how I plan to train for my half coming up in mid-October. Here we go!
Six Week Half-Marathon Training Plan (Intermediate)
• Strength Training can be anything that involves lifting weights to circuit workouts like HIIT or Fitness Pilates. Some weeks will include more cross training or bodyweight workouts barre or cardio (other than running) and core circuits, and others will take me back to the weight room. It all just depends on how my body is feeling!
• Tempo Runs are “comfortably hard” runs, according to Runner’s World.
They always include a 10-15 minute warm-up, a steady and challenging pace at an assigned mileage in the middle, followed by a 10-15 minute cool-down. While some plans suggest certain paces and longer distances for race training, I am going to take it easier and start with what I charted.
• Easy Pace runs mean I will go for the distance but keep a slower pace I could easily hold a conversation at. I will go faster than a jog, but won’t even look at my pace. They are mainly there to log in the miles.
• REST days are meant for muscle recovery and are important to prevent injuries. On rest days, I make sure to complete an extra long stretch or even take a yoga class to help me from soreness. Also, foam rolling will most likely take place here as well as after all of the longer weekend runs!
*Please keep in mind that this is what I plan to do for my personal training. I consider myself to be a pretty decent runner and if I couldn’t run the distance I can now, I would start right back where I did last time with a longer training plan.
If you are looking to train for your very first race, there are plenty of beginner training plans out there to guide you along the way. I would recommend starting small with a 5K (3.1 miles) and even go for a 10K to get you in the groove before going for a half distance, but the choice is completely up to you.
Here are a handful of half plans that look great:
• Half Marathon Training for Beginners via MarathonRookie.com
(What I used the first time around.)
• Half Marathon Training for Beginners via Runner’s World
• Step-By-Step Half-Marathon Training Schedule via Shape.com
• 4 Month Beginner Half Marathon Training Schedule via FitSugar
I plan to get in a couple of runs this week, but won’t start my official training until next Monday.
I am looking forward to sharing my progress with you!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever trained for a long distance race?
• What is one race you have yet to complete on your bucket list?
Long-time reader commenting for the first time! Looks like a great plan – and I think it seems very reasonable given the amount of running you already do.
I’ve run several 5Ks, a couple of 10Ks, and one half marathon (the Chicago Half Marathon in 2013). Right now I’m building my base again before training over the winter for Run the Bluegrass Half in Lexington, KY.
I hope we’ll see more of your music playlists (which I love for treadmill time) and strength training workouts over the next few weeks!
Hi Jess, thanks for reading! The Chicago Half is one I am eyeballing for the future. Congrats on all of your races! I generally roll out new playlists with each season, so since Fall is on the horizon, I will be sure to share one soon! Also, I’ll make a note to do more strength training workouts. Thank you!
Yay, glad to hear that about playlists and strength training 🙂 One thing about the Chicago Half (the one in early September) is that it was really disorganized the year I ran it and not very scenic (started + ended on the South Side and we ran up/down Lake Shore Drive, which I found out is a highway). Hoping they change up the course in case you end up running it in the future!
Woo hoo! And thanks for the tip. That’s a bit disappointing, but I would still love to race in CHI! 🙂
Sam @ PancakeWarriors
I’ve been thinking about doing a half marathon again this December (in Kiawah, SC). I did this race last year and really just started logging the miles pretty easily (once I put my mind to it!). I’m worried that it won’t be as easy this year so I may take your advice and do a few leisure runs and just see how it feels to go 5-6 miles. Good luck training!
It’s amazing how easy you can log miles in if you’ve done it before. I’m not saying this training will be a breeze for me… but I do have more confidence about accomplishing my goals since I have previously hit them!
Hi Heather! Happy running. I love that you have strength training in there, which is so important to do while running to keep your body ready for anything. Four runs a week is pretty heavy, so some foam rolling, massaging, stretching and yoga would be ideal to keep injury free during this shorter plan. Best of luck with it!
Thanks, Ashley! I definitely think it’s important to incorporate at least some form of strength training while training for a race. Hopefully I can stick to it! And don’t you worry – I will be foam rolling, stretching and massaging quite often!
Hannah@ Sprints & Scones
Looks awesome!! Good luck 🙂 I’m training for my third marathon- also mid October, but I’ve only done one half. You’re ,among me wanna do another!
Thanks so much! Yowza, congrats on the marathons! You should totally do more halfs – I bet they are a walk in the park for you! 😉
I want to run a half marathon!! I’m doing research to run one! I’ve been running for fun for more than a year, and while I’ve only done short distances I know I can start training for a half!!
If you can run three miles, you can train to run a half! You can do it! 🙂
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This looks like a good 6 week training plan!!! I definitely need to train for my next one!
I’ve signed up for my 2nd 10k race in november. I plan to run a half next year but I try to take it easy and to not stress myself. Further I will move to another city around april next year because my studies are over and I’m not sure where I will go, it depends on in which area I will find a job. If there is a half close to my house then I will try one!
Chrissy @ Pink Polish and Running Shoes
I’d love to do a 10K, but haven’t found one near me that has worked out timing wise.
Jen Rawson, RD (@PrettyLilGrub)
Good luck with your training! Excited to see how it goes for you.
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
Good luck with training! I have only done a 5K but I would love to try a Neon Dash or the Color Race. I used to think I wanted to do a Warrior Dash, but I’m afraid of getting tripped up on barbed wire. 🙂
Thank you! The Neon Dash was so fun! I’m still on the hunt for a Color Run. You should definitely check them out! 🙂
Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness
I have been running for some time now. Nothing too serious or strict. I really enjoy it and I am able to run 9 miles without any training in mind! So I think it is time to take it to the next level..you think?
Good luck on your training and I am looking forward to reading your updates!!! 🙂
That’s awesome! Good for you for keeping your mileage up!
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Em @ Love A Latte
So, there is a half marathon by me in 5 weeks and I came across your plan. I think I’m going to give it a try. I haven’t been running much but I really want to do a fall race. Thanks for posting it!
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Woo hoo! Go for it girlie. Best of luck in training, and please feel free to modify as needed!
Thank you! This looks like a great schedule. I’m getting ready to run one in 6 weeks, and I’m excited to follow this.
Your post gave me a lot of motivation. Thanks to you I started a healthy mode of life. 🙂
I was searching the web for a 6 week plan and yours was the first I found. Followed it and was able to time at 1:46 in a rainy day. Averaged 5:01 min/km on race day even though I never went under 5:15 in the long runs. Thanks a bunch, it worked perfectly.
Hi Dan! That’s so awesome to hear – amazing time!! Best of luck to you and your future running endeavors!
Just finished my first half marathon today and I never thought I would be able to run that far! I followed your 6 week training schedule exactly and I felt so prepared and finished the race in less than 2 hours! Thank you so much for this!!
Thanks! I will definitely try this plan out. I’ve got 3 half marathons behind my back, last one was for 01h:53m in April. So I feel that I need to shorten up my training period, because there is no need to prepare 16 weeks anymore. I would just add a mile or two to the long runs, but the plan seems great and the mileage per week isn’t too much.
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Hey Heather! 🙂
I just found your blog on the list of top10 blogs on other site and you are doing really great job.
now I’m at work so probably at home I will read more 🙂
Six Week Half-Marathon Training Plan. Realy useful for me i am going to try this plan .Thank you for your sharing
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