Looking for a half marathon training plan for a beginning runner? I was too. I searched online and found what seemed to be some great training plans. The one everyone seemed to prefer was Jeff Galloway’s half marathon training plan, but even that advanced too fast for me.
NOTE: If you’re an experienced runner, you can stop reading! Seriously. I’m a wannabe runner and doing what works for me, but if you have constructive tips to share, I’d love you to leave them in the comments. I’m open to all information that can make my training easier.
When I say beginner, I mean it. I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I’ve always hated running. I was the kid in Jr. High PE walking at the back of the pack saying, “I just can’t run.”
What’s ironic is that I come from a family of runners. My dad has run over 25 marathons. My siblings all run, my sister-in-law runs, my mom has even run a few races in her time. I have always been the one on the sideline cheering everyone else on. But secretly, I’ve been envious and always wished I could participate. Twelve years ago, I started running. I ran in my first 5K and then found out I was pregnant with baby #4 and I quit. Just like that. I decided running wasn’t for me.
But then I started losing weight and my sister-in-law asked me if I’d train to run a half marathon with her this coming July. Because I’m actively working on my own health and fitness, I was excited and enthusiastically agreed.
We both decided to use the Couch to 10K Pink app to start training. It seemed okay in the beginning. It starts out with 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. I wasn’t fast, but I could do that. By week 3 it had moved up to 90 seconds of walking and 90 seconds of jogging. This was a little more difficult, but I could still complete it. By the end of that week I was supposed to walk for 90 seconds and jog for 3 minutes. This was difficult. I could finish as long as I ran. really. slow. Week 4 jumped up to running 5 minutes at a time. That’s where I stopped. Keep in mind I’m still over 200 pounds, so running that much was more than I could handle and my body was telling me to stop.
I didn’t want to give up on my plan to run the July half marathon though, so I set out to design my own training plan. I just finished week 4 and it’s going well. I’m actually enjoying it and look forward to my running days. It’s even a little addicting. Who knew? Maybe I am a runner.
My half marathon training plan weeks 1-4
- For each day alternate between running and walking for the number of minutes on the calendar. It is very important that you walk and run at YOUR pace. As an example only (and remember I’m a beginner) I walk between 3.0 & 3.5 and I run between 4.0 & 5.0.
- Use week one to find your own comfortable walking and running speeds to use as a baseline.
- In week 2, the walking time decreases. Stay at the same speeds you used in week 1.
- In weeks 3 & 4 on Tuesday focus on increasing your speed. You can slightly increase your walking and running speed, but pick a pace you can maintain throughout the workout. It’s okay to alternate up and down within a range such as 4.0 to 5.0.
- In weeks 3 & 4 on Thursday walk and run at an easy pace. This is your easy run for the week. You don’t want to overdo this run so your body is prepared for your long run on Saturday.
- On Saturday for your long run, walk at a comfortable pace, and run at a medium pace pushing yourself a little, but not as fast as your speed day.
- On Monday and Wednesday, I alternate upper body and lower body strength training. This is completely optional.
NOTE: This is a six month training plan. Mileage and speed will continue to build slowly. Weeks 5-8 will be posted in 4 weeks when I’ve completed them. Because I’m creating this as I go and doing the plan myself, I can’t guarantee results. I can only share what is working for me.
Join the Conversation
How do you feel about running? Have you ever considered running a half marathon? Or are you an experienced runner that has some advice to share? I’d love to hear about your running experiences in the comments below.