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

Half marathon training plans for every runner

Read Time:   |  May 20, 2021

Thinking about running your first half marathon? Trying to get faster on your next half? There's a plan here 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 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:

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.

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.

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.

Long runs
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.

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.

Training paces

  • 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

Warming up
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.

Cooling down
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 to receive the full version that can be easily printed.

Download and print off your 10-week half marathon training plan

Enter your details below and we'll send you your free printable training plan

By giving us your email address you are agreeing to receive the training plan PDF. You will also receive the weekly Edit newsletter and the occasional offer from Women’s Running. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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 receive the full version that can be easily printed.

Download and print off your 10-week half marathon training plan

Enter your details below and we'll send you your free printable training plan

By giving us your email address you are agreeing to receive the training plan PDF. You will also receive the weekly Edit newsletter and the occasional offer from Women’s Running. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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 receive the full version that can be easily printed.

Download and print off your 10-week half marathon training plan

Enter your details below and we'll send you your free printable training plan

By giving us your email address you are agreeing to receive the training plan PDF. You will also receive the weekly Edit newsletter and the occasional offer from Women’s Running. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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 receive the full version that can be easily printed.

Download and print off your 4-week 10K kickstarter training plan

Enter your details below and we'll send you your free printable training plan

By giving us your email address you are agreeing to receive the training plan PDF. You will also receive the weekly Edit newsletter and the occasional offer from Women’s Running. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Loves a muddy trail run with her dog in tow

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