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16-Week Training Plan for the First Half Marathon [FREE]

16-Week Training Plan for the First Half Marathon [FREE]

This half marathon training plan is intended for beginners who want to run their first half marathon. In this article, you can also download a PDF training plan for the first half marathon for FREE.

In order to be able to follow this training plan, you need to be able to run 2 miles continuously, without stopping.

The training plan includes 16 weeks of training, with 3 training sessions per week. For better clarity, it is divided into four phases:

  • 1-4 – Base – strength and endurance development
  • 5-8 – Introductory – preparation for more intensive workouts
  • 9-14 – Specific – intensive and specific workouts
  • 15-16 – Taper – lower-volume training before the race

Every fourth week is easier and serves to recover and adapt your body to stress.

training plan

Train Smarter, Run Faster!

Let me show you how to train efficiently, without accumulating unnecessary miles.

Tip

If you can run 3 miles continuously, without stopping, feel free to skip the basic part of the training plan. Start from week 5, which will mean that in 12 weeks of training you will be ready for your first half marathon.

If this half marathon training plan seems too easy for you, click here for a training plan for intermediate runners.

Half Marathon Training Plan for Beginners

Every runner is an individual for themself and each of us knows our body best. Therefore, adjust the training plan to your capabilities. If you feel tired, rest that day. However, don’t let a lack of discipline and motivation stop you from sticking to the plan and achieving your goal.

Example

You can run long runs on Saturday instead of Sunday. It is only important to make sure that you have at least 1 day of rest between two training sessions.

Below is a 16-week half marathon training plan for beginners (in miles).

MONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
WEEK 1RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 5 x (3′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10 x (1′ run -1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
2mi
WEEK 2RESTRUN/WALK 45′
 10′ + 5 x (4′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 15 x (1′ run -1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 2,5mi
WEEK 3RESTRUN/WALK 50′
 10′ + 5 x (5′ run / 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 10 x (2′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
3mi
WEEK 4RESTRUN/WALK 43′
 10′ + 4 x (5′ run -2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 37′
 10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ of running with 1′ of walking in between + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
2mi
WEEK 5RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 30′
10′ + 10′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
3mi
WEEK 6RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 35′
10′ + 15′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
4mi
WEEK 7RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 40′
10′ + 20′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 5mi
WEEK 8RESTEASY RUN
4 km
RESTFARTLEK 35′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ of light jogging in between + 8′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
3mi
WEEK 9RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
3 x 1200m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 6mi
WEEK 10RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
 8 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 7mi
WEEK 11RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
4 x 1000m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
8mi
WEEK 12RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi
RESTFARTLEK 40′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ of light jogging in between + 8′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
5mi
WEEK 13RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
8 x 500m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 10mi
WEEK 14RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
5 x 1000m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 7mi
WEEK 15RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
6 x 500m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 5mi
WEEK 16RESTEASY RUN
2,5mi
RESTINTERVALS
3 x 1000m at race pace, P 2′
RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RACE

Below is a 16-week half marathon training plan for beginners (in kilometers).

MONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
WEEK 1RESTRUN/WALK 40′
10′ + 5 x (3′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 35′
10′ + 10 x (1′ run -1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
3 km
WEEK 2RESTRUN/WALK 45′
 10′ + 5 x (4′ run – 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 15 x (1′ run -1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 4 km
WEEK 3RESTRUN/WALK 50′
 10′ + 5 x (5′ run / 2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 45′
10′ + 10 x (2′ run – 1′ walk) + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
5 km
WEEK 4RESTRUN/WALK 43′
 10′ + 4 x (5′ run -2′ walk) + 5′
RESTRUN/WALK 37′
 10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ of running with 1′ of walking in between + 5′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
3 km
WEEK 5RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 30′
10′ + 10′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
5 km
WEEK 6RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 35′
10′ + 15′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
6 km
WEEK 7RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTFARTLEK 40′
10′ + 20′ (1′-1′) + 10′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 8 km
WEEK 8RESTEASY RUN
4 km
RESTFARTLEK 35′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ of light jogging in between + 8′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 5 km
WEEK 9RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
3 x 1200m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 10 km
WEEK 10RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
 8 x 400m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 12 km
WEEK 11RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
4 x 1000m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 14 km
WEEK 12RESTEASY RUN
4 km
RESTFARTLEK 40′
10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ with 1′ of light jogging in between + 8′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 8 km
WEEK 13RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
8 x 500m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 16 km
WEEK 14RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
5 x 1000m, P 2′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 12 km
WEEK 15RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RESTINTERVALS
6 x 500m, P 1′
RESTRESTLONG RUN
 8 km
WEEK 16RESTEASY RUN
4 km
RESTINTERVALS
3 x 1000m at race pace, P 2′
RESTEASY RUN
4 km + 3 x 100m strides
RACE

Structured training plan for the first half marathon

The training plan for the first half marathon includes a combination of different types of training: run/walk workout, easy run, fartlek, intervals, and strength training.

RUNNING/WALKING

Goal: adapt your body to the stress of running, improve endurance

Warm-up: 10 minutes of walking, mobility and dynamic stretching exercises

Cooldown: 5 minutes of walking, static stretching exercises

Pace: parts of the run are run by feel, at a completely low pace

Example: RUNNING/WALKING 37′ = 10′ + 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ of running with 1′ of walking in between + 5′

  • 37′ – total duration of running/walking workout is 37 minutes
  • 10′ – 10 minutes of walking (warm-up)
  • 1′-2′-3′-4′-3′-2′-1′ of running with 1′ of walking in between – 1 minute of running, followed by 1 minute of walking, then 2 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking, and so on until the end of the set number
  • 5′ – 5 minutes of walking (cooldown)

EASY RUN

Goal: it serves as a warm-up before a particular workout, as a cooldown after training, or for recovery, as a separate workout

Warm-up: if you are doing an easy run as a separate workout, for warm-up do mobility and dynamic stretching exercises

Cooldown: if you are doing an easy run as a separate workout, for cooldown do static stretching exercises

Pace: run by feel at a light intensity, you should feel comfortable and relaxed while running

Tip

You can’t run too slow when you jog, just too fast. A common mistake runners make is running too fast on days when they should be doing low-intensity workouts.

FARTLEK

Goal: improves speed and endurance, makes it easier to overcome the changes in pace during the race

Warm-up: 10 minutes of light, continuous running, without stopping, moving on to the main part of training

Cooldown: 10 minutes of light jogging, static stretching exercises

Pace: run by feel, without tracking your pace. Listen to your body. The pace varies from slow running up to 70% of your maximum speed. Run fast sections at a faster but controlled pace, at about 70% of your maximum, and run slow sections at an easy pace to recover and prepare yourself for a faster section.

Example: FARTLEK 30′ = 10′ + 10′ (1′-1′) + 10′

  • 30′ – total duration of fartlek is 30 minutes
  • 10′ – 10 minutes of warm-up running at a light intensity
  • 10′ (1′-1′) – 10 minutes are the part in which you alternate between fast and slow sections, that is, 1 minute of faster running followed by 1 minute of slower running, which means that there are 5x faster and 5x slower sections in total
  • 10′ – 10 minutes of very light jogging (cooldown)

Read more: What is Fartlek? (12 Creative Fartlek Training Examples)

INTERVALS

Goal: improve endurance and speed endurance, running economy, the body’s ability to break down lactic acid (increase the lactate threshold), develop a sense of pace

Warm-up: 10 minutes of light jogging, mobility and dynamic stretching exercises, running drills – 2 x 40m (ankling and high knees), 3 x 60m strides

Cooldown: 10 minutes of very light jogging, static stretching exercises

Pace: run the shorter intervals (400m, 500m) at a 5K race pace, and the longer intervals (1000m, 1200m) at a 10K race pace.

Example: INTERVALS 4 x 1000 m, P 2′

  • Warm up as directed. Rest. Then run a total of 4 intervals of 1000m. After each interval, there is a break of 2 minutes of standing still. After you finish the main part of the workout, continue jogging (cool down according to the instructions).

LONG RUN

Goal: improves endurance, teaches the body to use fat as a fuel source, not glycogen or stored sugar, which results in a longer duration of glycogen stores and helps you avoid “hitting the wall”, builds your self-confidence and mental strength, enables you to test your equipment and try out refreshments to avoid possible inconveniences on race day

Warm-up: mobility and dynamic stretching exercises

Cooldown: static stretching exercises

Pace: conversational pace, a pace at which you feel comfortable and are able to talk

Read more: What is Considered a Long Run? (5 Long Run Examples)

STRIDES

Strides are gradual accelerations over distances between 60 and 100 meters. In this training plan, you will do them after light jogging or as a part of the warm-up before interval training.

Goal: developing speed and improving your running technique

Pace: they are performed at a pace that ranges from very light to 90% of your maximum speed

Read more: What Are Running Strides And How To Do Them?

STRENGTH TRAINING

In addition to running, add strength training. By strengthening the entire body, you will reduce your risk of injury, improve strength and stability, correct muscle imbalances, and become faster.

Do strength training at least twice a week on days that suit you best.

Research has shown that it is optimal to do strength training 2 to 3 times a week over the course of 8 to 12 weeks, in order to improve the running capabilities of more advanced middle- and long-distance runners.

During the last two weeks of training (weeks 15 and 16), avoid strength training so that you are rested before the start of the half marathon

See strength training with all exercises in the article Strength Training for Runners (Top 19 Workout Exercises).

REST DAY

For progress, in addition to diversity, rest is also important. Don’t neglect your rest days, no matter how good you feel.

Tip

Adequate recovery is just as important as training. More training does not mean faster progress but, on the contrary, a greater risk of injury and overtraining.

matea-matosevic-running

Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m an Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…