Are you dreaming of running a half marathon but don’t know where to start? Do you want to challenge yourself and achieve a new level of fitness and endurance? If so, this guide is for you.

Running a half marathon (13.1 miles) is a rewarding and exhilarating experience that can boost your confidence, health, and happiness. However, it’s not something you can do overnight. It requires proper training, preparation, and dedication.

That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive 6-month half marathon training plan for beginners. This plan will help you gradually build up your running ability, stamina, and speed while avoiding injury and burnout.

Whether you’re a complete novice or a casual runner, this plan will guide you through every step of your half marathon journey. 

Why Choose a 6-Month Half Marathon Training Plan?

You may be wondering why you need six months to train for a half marathon. After all, there are plenty of shorter plans out there that promise to get you ready in 12 weeks or less.

However, if you’re new to running or have limited experience, a 6-month plan has several advantages over a shorter one:

Is this Training Plan for You?

This training plan is designed for beginners who want to run their first half marathon. By beginners, we mean people who:

If this sounds like you, then congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards your half marathon goal. This plan will help you get there safely and enjoyably.

The Commitment Required: Time and Days per Week

half marathon runner

Running a half marathon is not easy. It takes time, effort, and dedication. You need to be willing to commit to a regular training schedule that will challenge you physically and mentally.

This plan requires you to run four times per week for the first 14 weeks, and five times per week for the last 12 weeks. 

You’ll also need to do some cross-training (such as cycling, swimming, or yoga) once or twice per week to improve your overall fitness and prevent injuries. The duration of each run will vary depending on the type and purpose of the run. 

Generally speaking, you’ll start with short runs (15-20 minutes) and gradually increase them to longer runs (up to 2 hours). You’ll also do some speed work (such as intervals and tempo runs) to improve your pace and endurance.

The total weekly mileage will range from 10 miles in the first week to 30 miles in the peak week (week 23). You’ll also have some recovery weeks where you’ll reduce your mileage and intensity to allow your body to adapt and heal.

The plan also includes one rest day per week where you’ll do no running or cross-training. This is important for your recovery and well-being. You can use this day to relax, stretch, massage, or do some light activity (such as walking or gardening).

The 6-Month Half Marathon Training Schedule

Here is an overview of the 6-month half-marathon training schedule:

1RestEasy Run 15 minRecovery Run 15 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 20 minLong Run 30 min10 mi
2RestEasy Run 20 minRecovery Run 15 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 25 minLong Run 35 min12 mi
3RestEasy Run 25 minRecovery Run 20 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 30 minLong Run 40 min15 mi
4RestEasy Run 30 minRecovery Run 25 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 35 minLong Run 45 min18 mi
5RestEasy Run 35 minRecovery Run 30 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 40 minLong Run 50 min20 mi
6RestEasy Run 40 minRecovery Run 35 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 45 minLong Run 55 min22 mi
7RestEasy Run 45 minRecovery Run 40 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 50 minLong Run 60 min24 mi
8RestEasy Run 50 minRecovery Run 45 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 55 minLong Run 65 min26 mi
9RestEasy Run 55 minRecovery Run 50 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 60 minLong Run 70 min28 mi
10RestEasy Run 60 minRecovery Run 55 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 65 minLong Run 75 min30 mi
11RestEasy Run 60 minRecovery Run 55 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 65 minLong Run 75 min30 mi
12RestEasy Run 60 minRecovery Run 55 minCross-train 30 minRestTempo Run 65 minLong Run 75 min30 mi
13RestEasy Run 30 minRecovery Run 25 minCross-train 30 minRestInterval Run 35 minLong Run 45 min20 mi
14RestEasy Run 60 minRecovery Run 55 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 30 minInterval Run 65 minLong Run 75 min30 mi
15RestEasy Run 65 minRecovery Run 60 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 35 minInterval Run 70 minLong Run 80 min32 mi
16RestEasy Run 70 minRecovery Run 65 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 40 minInterval Run 75 minLong Run 85 min34 mi
17RestEasy Run 75 minRecovery Run 70 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 45 minInterval Run 80 minLong Run 90 min36 mi
18RestEasy Run 80 minRecovery Run 75 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 50 minInterval Run 85 minLong Run 95 min38 mi
19RestEasy Run 85 minRecovery Run 80 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 55 minInterval Run 90 minLong Run 100 min40 mi
20RestEasy Run 90 minRecovery Run 85 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 60 minInterval Run 95 minLong Run 105 min42 mi
21RestEasy Run 95 minRecovery Run 90 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 65 minInterval Run 100 minLong Run 110 min44 mi
22RestEasy Run 100 minRecovery Run 95 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 70 minInterval Run 105 minLong Run 115 min46 mi
23RestEasy Run 105 minRecovery Run 100 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 75 minInterval Run 110 minLong Run 120 min48 mi
24RestEasy Run 50 minRecovery Run 45 minCross-train 30 minTempo Run 40 minInterval Run 55 minLong Run 65 min28 mi
25RestEasy Run 20 minRestEasy Run 20 minRestRace DayRestHalf Marathon (13.1 mi)

Please remember that this is a guide and should be adjusted according to individual pace and capacity. Always listen to your body during training. Happy running!

Understanding the Training Runs

The schedule includes different types of runs, each with a specific purpose and intensity. Here is a brief explanation of each type of run:

Easy Run

This is your bread-and-butter run. You’ll do most of your runs at an easy pace, which means you can comfortably hold a conversation while running. 

This pace will vary depending on your fitness level, but it should feel relaxed and enjoyable. The purpose of easy runs is to build your aerobic base, improve your blood flow, and strengthen your muscles, tendons, and bones.

Long Run

This is your longest run of the week, usually done on weekends. You’ll start with a short long run (20 minutes) and gradually increase it to a long, long run (2 hours) by the end of the plan. 

You’ll do your long runs at an easy pace, slightly slower than your easy runs. The purpose of long runs is to increase your endurance, teach your body to burn fat as fuel and boost your confidence.

Interval Run

This is a type of speed work where you alternate between fast and slow segments. For example, you might run for one minute at a hard pace (where you can barely speak), followed by one minute at an easy pace (where you can recover). 

You’ll repeat this cycle for a certain number of times or minutes. The purpose of interval runs is to improve your speed, power, and VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use).

Tempo Run

This is another type of speed work where you run at a steady pace that is faster than your easy pace but slower than your interval pace. 

For example, you might run for 20 minutes at a moderate pace (where you can speak in short sentences). The purpose of tempo runs is to improve your lactate threshold (the point where your muscles start to fatigue) and your running economy (how efficiently you use oxygen).

Recovery Run

This is a short and easy run that you do after a hard workout (such as an interval or tempo run) or a long run. The purpose of recovery runs is to flush out the lactic acid and waste products from your muscles, reduce soreness, and speed up healing.

Long Run Training: The Backbone of Your Plan

The long run is the most important part of your half marathon training. It’s the run that will prepare you for the distance and the duration of the race. It’s also the run that will challenge you mentally and emotionally.

Here are some tips to make the most of your long runs:

1. Plan Ahead

Choose a route that is safe, scenic, and suitable for your distance. You can use an app or a website to map out your route and measure the distance. You can also join a running group or find a buddy to run with.

2. Hydrate and Fuel

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your long run. Carry a water bottle when exercising. You may also need to eat some carbs during your long run, especially if it’s longer than an hour. You can use energy gels, chews, bars, or fruits to replenish your glycogen stores.

3. Pace Yourself

Start your long run at an easy pace and gradually increase it as you go along. Don’t start too fast or you’ll burn out before the end. Aim to finish strong, but not exhausted. You can use a watch, an app, or a heart rate monitor to track your pace and effort.

4. Enjoy Yourself

Don’t stress too much about your long run. It’s supposed to be fun and rewarding. Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks to keep yourself entertained. Appreciate the scenery and the fresh air. Celebrate your achievements and reward yourself with something nice.

The Importance of Cross Training

Cross training is any activity that differs from running but still benefits your fitness and performance. Examples of cross training include cycling, swimming, yoga, strength training, and hiking.

Cross training is a secret weapon for half marathon runners because it can:

Learn how to cross-train for a marathon using our detailed guide.

Essential Tools for a Successful 6-Month Half Marathon Training

running tools

To make your 6-month half marathon training plan more effective and enjoyable, you’ll need some essential tools that will help you track your progress, stay motivated, and prevent injuries. 

Here are some of the tools we recommend:

1. Running Shoes 

A good pair of running shoes is crucial for your comfort, performance, and injury prevention. You should choose a pair that fits well, suits your foot type and running style, and provides enough cushioning and support. You should also replace your shoes every 300-500 miles or when they show signs of wear and tear.

2. Running Clothes

A suitable set of running clothes is important for your comfort, safety, and enjoyment. You should choose clothes that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and fit well. 

You should also dress according to the weather and season, wearing layers in cold or windy conditions and sunscreen and sunglasses in hot or sunny conditions.

3. Running Watch 

A good running watch is useful for measuring your time, distance, pace, heart rate, and other metrics. 

You can use a watch to track your progress, set goals, and follow your training plan. You can also sync your watch with an app or a website to analyze your data and share your achievements.

4. Running App

A good running app is helpful for planning your routes, logging your runs, getting feedback, and joining a community. 

With an app, you can easily map out your running routes, measure the distance and elevation, and discover new running locations. You can also use an app to connect with other runners, join challenges, and get support.

5. Foam Roller

A good foam roller is beneficial for easing muscle soreness, improving blood flow, and increasing range of motion. You can use a foam roller to massage your muscles before or after your runs or on your rest days. You can also use a foam roller to target specific areas that are tight or painful.

Final Thoughts

Running a half marathon is an amazing achievement that requires dedication, discipline, and determination. By following this 6-month half marathon training plan for beginners, you’ll be able to train smartly, safely, and successfully for your big day.

Remember to listen to your body, rest when needed, and enjoy the process.