Training plan to finish your first half marathon

This training plan is a continuation of the plan we published to run an hour without stopping.

Ideally, you can already run 10 kilometers in an hour, or at least you are close. You already have a base of 20 weeks running (around 5 months), so to consider running a half marathon within 3-4 months should not scare you.

Now, many people want to run a marathon as soon as possible, many even in their first year running. Let’s be clear about one thinga marathon is not a half marathon.

Preparing for a marathon is very hard, you have to do many strengthening sessions, long runs, set days, 5-7 workouts per week… also, you have to have a good base of kilometers behind you to avoid injury. So if you plan to prepare for a marathon before you finish your first 365 days running, we advise against it.

A half marathon is different. You need to strengthen, yes, you need a good mileage to attack the 21,097 meters, but it is a good goal to be marked within this first year running. If you have been running for longer but you never dared to run more than 10-15 kilometers, this plan is also for you.

This plan will be a little longer than the previous ones (we will take 10 to 15 weeks) and we will add one more day per week. Whoever wants something, something costs, and we have to start thinking about adding this fourth day. Does that mean that you cannot run a half if you run 2 or 3 days a week? Not at all, but it is not recommended because you may lack some preparation.

Three tips before you start

Let’s start with two classics and add one more:

  • Don’t give up. . We say it again. Like when you started running, you probably see the target as very far and 21 kilometers seem like a mockery. It can take you more or less, but it comes with perseverance and for that you only have to do one thing: don’t give up.
  • Don’t do anything stupid. Most importantly, do not try to do things faster than you should. The best way to progress is not to injure yourself. Now the training will be a little longer and the volume of kilometers per week higher, so it is important to warm up, stretch and even go to the physiotherapist every 2 or 3 weeks, if you can afford it.
  • Strengthen. If you run occasionally 2 or 3 times a week, it does not take much strengthening, but if you put more kilometers per week and you are running 2 hours, you need to adapt your basic muscles, as the ramps will not appear on the day of the race. In addition, strengthening the entire body (not just the lower body) prevents injuries, so strength sessions will be as important as race sessions.

What do I need to start?

Be able to run non-stop for one hour at a rate of approximately 6:00 – 6:30 / km.

How long to finish the half marathon?

A barrier that many of those who want to finish for the first time are fixed is that of 2 hours. This means going at a rate of 5: 41 / km. It is a good starting point, but perhaps somewhat demanding for some people.

You can think about finishing it at 6: 00 / km (2h06: 35) or, if you do not mind the time (the best in this case) think of 2h30 (7: 06 / km), which is usually the closing time of many races. We will improve the time later.

Week 1

  • Day 1: 50′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 5 x 1000 meters, rec 5′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 15′ SP + 30′ MP + 5′ SP + 20′ MP + 5′ SP (total: 75′ running)
  • Day 4: 65′ SP + strengthening

SP: slow pace. You can have a conversation while you run.

MP: medium pace. A little more alive than the slow pace. It’s hard to talk while you run, especially at the end of training.

FP: fast pace. You are not sprinting, but you feel alive, fast. You cannot keep this pace for more than 10 minutes.

5 x 1000 rec 5′ = 5 series of 1000 meters with recovery of 5 minutes. The series are performed by running 1000 meters and then resting for 5 minutes. Try not to stop suddenly but jog a little during recovery. The time of the series has to be the same at about 5 minutes. If you are left wanting more when you have finished the last one, adjust series that you do for the next day. At the end you will know what your rhythm is for a day of series.

Strengthening: we propose you do three strengthening routines from foroatletismo.com. Vary them. They are very simple, all of them for beginners and do not require external material (except the TRX, which is very cheap and can be done at home).

Week 2

  • Day 1: 60′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 3 x 2000 meters, rec 5′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 70′ SP
  • Day 4: 15′ SP + 20′ MP + 5′ FP + 20′ MP + 15′ SP (total: 75′)

Week 3

  • Day 1: 70′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 8 x 500 meters, rec 3′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 80′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 25′ MP + 5′ FP + 25′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 75′)

Week 4

  • Day 1: 60′ SP
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 5 x 1000 meters, rec 5′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 70′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 40′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 60′)

Week 5

  • Day 1: 75′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 3 x 3000 meters, rec 6′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 90′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 30′ MP + 5′ FP + 30′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 85′)

Week 6

  • Day 1: 80′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 10 x 500 meters, rec 3′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 100′ SP
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 50′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 70′)

Week 7

  • Day 1: 90′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 8 x 1000 meters, rec 4′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 90′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 15′ SP + 30′ MP + 5′ FP + 30′ MP + 15′ SP (total: 95′)

Week 8

  • Day 1: 75′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 3 x 2000 meters, rec 5′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 90′ SP
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 50′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 70′)

Week 9

  • Day 1: 80′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 4 x 3000 meters, rec 6′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 110′ SP
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 30′ MP + 10′ FP + 30′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 90′)

Week 10

  • Day 1: 90′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 10 x 500 meters, rec 2’30″+ 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 100′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 20′ SP + 60′ MP + 20′ SP (total: 100′)

Week 11

  • Day 1: 100′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 3 x 4000 meters, rec 6′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 100′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 20′ SP + 30′ MP + 10′ SP (yes, SP, no FP) + 30′ MP + 20′ SP (total: 110′)

Week 12

  • Day 1: 60′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 10 x 800 meters, rec 3′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 90′ SP
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 60′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 80′)

Week 13

  • Day 1: 105′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 8 x 1000 meters, rec 4′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 120′ SP
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 30′ MP + 5′ SP + 10′ FP + 5′ SP + 30′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 100′)

Week 14

  • Day 1: 120′ SP
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 5 x 2000 meters, rec 4′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 105′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 4: 10′ SP + 75′ MP + 10′ SP (total: 95′)

Week 15

  • Day 1: 75′ SP + strengthening
  • Day 2: 15′ SP + 10 x 500 meters, rec 3′ + 10′ SP
  • Day 3: 60′ SP
  • Day 4: Finish a half marathon

The plan may be more or less suitable for some people, it is only a guide for you to see how the progress is week by week.

Final recommendations and frequently asked questions

  • What exactly is SP, MP and FP? It’s slow pace, medium pace and fast pace. We have already defined them before, but we go over them again:

Slow pace is basically as slow as you can run without being uncomfortable. You can have a conversation with another person when you start running at this pace. Maybe at the beginning after 15 minutes at this pace you cannot. If you use heart rate monitor, around 65-75% of your maximum frequency.

– Medium pace is a pace that takes a little more, that is demanding, that the first times you try it you will think “I cannot reach the minutes marked by the plan”, but it is achieved. 75-85% of your maximum heart rate.

Fast pace we will use it little, but it is a fast pace for you, in which you feel fast and you will not be able to keep it for long. In the plan, the maximum time that is used is 10 minutes. You can put yourself at 85-95% of your maximum frequency.

  • You have to devote 5 minutes to warm up, at least. Warm up means running a little, letting go of the legs, very light leg stretches (without forcing a minimum), about 10 star jumps, 2 minutes at a very slow pace and some joint mobility (ankle movements, knee movements, of hips, arms …). The warm-up is especially important on the day of series, that’s why we also put 15 minutes at a slow pace.
  • Stretches play an important role. Dedicate 10 minutes after what you finish to stretch. If you do not even know what they are, this article and video from foroatletismo can be a good start. If you do not feel like doing them after running (you never really want to …), do them during the rest of the day. But do them. This point is very important.
  • It is a good time to get a medical checkup if you have not already done it. In some workouts we will put the heart to work a little more and we must be aware that not everyone can run. Do a stress test to see if you are able to run 2 hours continuously.
  • Do not injure yourself. I will not tire of saying it, but it is the most important thing. We continue to progress only by going out running and with a little strengthening, and for that you have to be able and not be injured. Take the appropriate measures: do the stretches, train slowly, do not over-exert, let your body adapt and choose the right shoes.
  • Choose some shoes that are right for you.
  • A suitable footwear will help us to progress and, above all, avoid injuries. In Runnics we have created Perfect Match™ to help any runner find the best shoes for their characteristics. Just try it, it will take you less than a minute to find out which are the best running sneakers for you.

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