Half marathon training plans for every runner - Women's Running

Half marathon training plans for every runner

Author: Kate Sellers

Read Time:   |  May 28, 2022

Thinking about running your first half marathon? Trying to get faster on your next half? We've got half marathon training plans for everyone...

A half marathon is a great distance to train for. It’s long enough to give you a new challenge if you’ve mastered the 10K, but still manageable enough to do alongside a busy lifestyle.

We also know that anything with the word ‘marathon’ in it can be daunting: the step up from 10K to half marathon can be a big one, and if you’ve already made it, knowing what to do to improve your time can be even harder.

Luckily, we’ve got the answers. Our free half marathon training plans have been created by experts to help you achieve your half marathon goals, whatever those may be. Scroll down for our beginner, PB and 10K to half marathon training plans .

Before you start, it’s a good idea to have a 10K under your belt already – if it’s been a while, try our quick-start plan below, or if you’d like to go back and rebuild that strength then check out our 10K training plans.

Training explained

Here’s some of the key info you need to know whichever plan you’re following:

What is an easy run?

Easy runs provide additional miles in your week, adding to your aerobic fitness. When you get your easy pace right (as much as one minute or more slower than your goal pace), easy runs can help revive your legs between the harder sessions of the week. Chill out and enjoy this run, either solo or with friends.

What is interval training?

Shorter, faster intervals of running can not only help you become fitter and faster, but offer an opportunity to work on your running form. The mental strength you’ll build to get through each rep will help in the final miles of your race.

What is a tempo run?

These plans include two types of tempo run that will see you running at either half marathon goal pace (HMP) or your 10K pace. The half marathon paced runs will train you to run more efficiently at your goal pace and help you judge your pace. The 10K paced tempo sessions will work you slightly harder to help you become faster and stronger.

What is a long run?

The obvious component of any half-marathon or marathon plan, your long runs will train your body to withstand the demands of running a longer distance, improve your endurance and build confidence.

What is cross training?

Aerobic cross training, such as swimming, cycling and rowing can help build aerobic fitness while, hopefully, avoiding overuse injuries. Perfect if you’re one of the many people now commuting to work by bike.

What do the different training paces mean?

  • Easy = an enjoyable pace (50-60% effort)
  • Fast = not sprinting, but around 80% effort
  • 5K / 10K pace = your 5K / 10K pace from a recent race
  • HMP = half-marathon pace
  • Recovery = the rest period between each effort. Keep moving but at an easy jog or walk

Preparing to run

How do I warm up for a run?

Taking time to do a good warm-up is the part of training that many runners skip. Warming up prepares your body for exercise and can reduce the risk of injury. So before you start running, find yourself aflat stretch of ground, around 50m long. Go up and down performing some slow jogging, skipping, high knees and bum kicks for starters.

It’s particularly important to warm up before your faster sessions. The interval sessions and tempo runs in your training plan will also include 10 mins or 1 mile of easy running before the faster running begins. Take this nice and easy and gradually increase your speed.

How do I cool down from a run?

Spending a few minutes cooling down is an important part of your training. See it as part of the session rather than an add-on. Gradually decrease your speed for the last 5-10 mins of your run, then do some light stretching targeting all the key running muscles: calf, hamstrings, glutes and quads. If you’ve been given any specific exercises or stretches to do by a physio, now is a good time to do them.

Your first half marathon 10-week plan

This plan is designed for first-timers, or those with less time to train.

Check out this preview, or enter your email below for the link to the full version that can be easily printed. By entering your email, you’ll be joining our weekly Edit newsletter list to help support you with your training, as well as the odd promotional message, that you can unsubscribe from at any time.

first half marathon training plan

Would you like to receive third party emails from our favourite running brands?

10K to half marathon training plan

This plan is for runners who can currently run 10K in around 60 minutes. Stepping up from running a 10K to doing a half marathon might seem like a leap at first, but, with the right preparation, it’s a goal that’s well within reach. While a half marathon will see you running more than twice the distance of a 10K (it will take 13.1 miles of 21.1.K to earn that half marathon medal), 10 weeks will give you ample time to prepare.

Check out this preview, or enter your email below to download the full version that can be easily printed. By entering your email, you’ll be joining our weekly Edit newsletter list to help support you with your training, as well as the odd promotional message, that you can unsubscribe from at any time.

10K to half marathon training plan

Would you like to receive third party emails from our favourite running brands?

Your PB half-marathon training plan

Fancy tearing up the streets on your next half? It going to take more than plodding the paths in training to get a Personal Best in the bag. This plan will help you to get focussed on how you’re going to shave off those vital minutes.

Check out this preview, or enter your email below to download the full version that can be easily printed. By entering your email, you’ll be joining our weekly Edit newsletter list to help support you with your training, as well as the odd promotional message, that you can unsubscribe from at any time.

PB half marathon training plan

Would you like to receive third party emails from our favourite running brands?

Your quick-start 10K training plan

For those who have run a 10K in the past, but who have fallen out of the habit of running regularly for one reason or another, we’ve created a kickstart plan to get you back on track. Just four weeks of regular running will put you in a good position to start your half marathon plan.

Check out this preview, or enter your email below to download the full version that can be easily printed. By entering your email, you’ll be joining our weekly Edit newsletter list to help support you with your training, as well as the odd promotional message, that you can unsubscribe from at any time.

Quick-start 10K training plan

Would you like to receive third party emails from our favourite running brands?

For loads more training, gear and health advice, sign up to the Women’s Running Plus membership, starting from just £2.99 per month.

Choose from print + digital or digital only and get extra benefits such as free access to the library of digital back issues, extra content, training plans all in one place, and valuable discounts from our partners.

Join us today.

Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Kate is our Senior Digital Executive and a keen runner. She's also a qualified Personal Trainer and yoga teacher, so she knows her stuff about workouts, cross-training and stretching. She loves to combine running and exploring, so you'll often find her testing out the latest kit in exciting locations across the UK and beyond. Kate champions exercising for enjoyment. "Most of the year, you'll find me running for fun and wellbeing," she says. "That being said, I do still love the thrill of training for a race from time to time!"

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on womensrunning.co.uk. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it