Any internet search can find a wealth of training plans that run for 8, 12, 16 weeks, etc., and whilst some are vaguely targeted at beginners or intermediate levels these are no real help if you are looking to improve from one level to the next or are trying to achieve a specific time.
Before starting on a Half Marathon training plan, here’s some things to consider:
Build Up to the Distance
No matter what your level of fitness one of the quickest ways of getting injured is to up your mileage over a short space of time. Assuming a nice rhythmic cadence of 180 steps per minute, a 90 minute half marathon runner would hit the ground 16,200 times during the race. That’s 8,100 times through each leg where some studies suggest up to nine times your body weight is going through your joints and tendons. That’s a lot for your body to take.
If you are used to training for a 5k, where a typical 20 minute runner would run for 1,600 strides total, then it’s important to build up to the longer distance so your body has the time to adjust to the new stresses of your training. With time, bones will harden and become more resilient.
Half Marathon Training Uses Different Energy Systems
The most efficient energy source for the body to use is glycogen, and if you have been following one of our 5k training plans or 10k training plans then this is the energy well that you’ve been largely relying on. Glycogen energy stores last for about an hour, after which, the body looks around for a replacement and starts to burn fat. Unfortunately the body doesn’t convert fat to energy very efficiently, so paying attention to what you eat and drink during your training plan cycles is crucially important.
Before embarking on any of the training plans on this site please read our FAQs.
Unsure About Which Plan to Start?
If you have never followed a half marathon before and you are not sure which plan you should start with, the easiest way is to take your 10k PB and multiply by two and add a bit. While this isn’t an exact science, it’ll give you a good indication as to where to start. So if your 10k PB is 40 minutes then a good starting point would be the 1:30 half marathon training plan.
The half marathon training plans assume that you are able to complete the half marathon distance. If you have not run a half marathon before then take a look at the generic 8 week half marathon training plan which will take you from the 5k distance gradually up to a half marathon over the course of a couple of months. So if you are ready to start a half marathon training plan have a bash at one of the plans below: