Get ready for your first half marathon!

By: Anna D'Anna

Hitting the pavement for your very first half marathon? Or just looking for a solid training plan to prep you for your latest race? This schedule works well for all skill levels.

This plan calls for 3 days of running, 2 days of cross training (“CT”) and 2 days of strength training (“ST”) each week. Here’s the schedule, with more tips and details below:

Week

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

1

CT/ST

2 miles

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

 3 miles

2

CT/ST

3 miles

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

3 miles

3

CT/ST

3 miles

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

4 miles

4

CT/ST

3 miles

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

4 miles

5

CT/ST

3 miles hills

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

5 miles

6

CT/ST

3 miles hills

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

6 miles

7

CT/ST

3 miles hills

off

3 miles

ST/CT

OFF

6 miles

8

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

4 miles

ST/CT

OFF

8 miles

9

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

4 miles

ST/CT

OFF

9 miles

10

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

4 miles

ST/CT

OFF

10 miles

11

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

4 miles

ST/CT

OFF

6 miles

12

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

5 miles

ST/CT

OFF

10 miles

13

CT/ST

3 miles hills

off

5 miles

ST/CT

OFF

11 miles

14

CT/ST

3 miles hills

off

5 miles

ST/CT

OFF

12 miles

15

CT/ST

4 miles hills

off

5 miles

ST/CT

OFF

6 miles

16

CT

2 miles hills

off

    2 miles

CT

OFF

RACE

Download the Half Marathon Training Schedule

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Training Tips:

  • Always complete a 5-7 minute active warm up before training. This can include moves like pulling knees to chest, side lunges, straight leg kicks, etc.
  • Always stretch after your workout. Here are some of my favorite stretches.
  • You can rearrange this plan to fit your schedule and needs. Maybe doing long runs on Wednesdays works better for you, or maybe you need to swap a running day with a cross-training day. Do whatever makes the training fit best in your daily life. One tip: Try to always take your rest day on the day before your long run.
  • Cross training means a 35-45 minute workout engaging different muscles. This can include swimming, cycling, a boot camp class, etc.
  • Strength training is a whole-body work out, with an emphasis on core/glute work. Strength train at least twice a week. Keep in mind that as your running mileage gets higher, you may want use lighter weights in your strength training sessions, with more repetitions for your legs. There are lots of good strength training guides available online or through your gym. 
  • “OFF” means a rest day. Take at least one day off a week—that means do absolutely nothing! Take two rest days each week if you need it, depending on your level of fitness coming into the training plan. You can also use your rest day as a yoga/stretch day.
  • If you’d like to try a run/walk training program instead of strictly running, refer to jeffgalloway.com for guidance.
  • As you get stronger, you can incorporate interval training into your running routine. That means adding quick, short bursts of speed (only do intervals on running days when you’re not doing hill work). Throughout your run, do 8-10 sprints at 30-60 seconds each. As you build your endurance, increase the intensity by making the intervals longer or by doing more of them. Do not start these intervals at the same time as your hill workouts. Do 2 weeks of hill training before you start any type of speed work.
  • Everyone’s feet are not the same. Invest in a good pair of sneakers and a few pairs of socks. For your first pair, go to a running store to be fitted for sneakers. Don’t just buy off the shelf!
  • Everyone, regardless of fitness level, should be doing hill work. You can approach it two ways. The first is hill repeats: run up a hill that is 2-3 minutes long, then walk down to recover (or use the treadmill with inclines of 3%+). The second is continuous hill work: find a hilly loop that allows for flat road in between to recover.

Here are a couple sample hill workouts:

Hill work, outdoors

  1. Warm up
  2. 0.5-mile flat road run
  3. 4X 3-minute hills, using downhill to recover

Each week, add more repeats up the hill

Hill work, treadmill

  1. Warm up
  2. 0.5-mile flat road run
  3. 2-3 minutes at 3% incline
    (If you’re new to hill work, stop the routine here and recover after 3% for the first few weeks of training. Once you’ve worked up to it, proceed with the rest of this schedule.)
  4. 1 minute at 4% incline
  5. 30 seconds at 5% incline
  6. Flat to recover
  7. Repeat 

 

Medical Disclaimer:
Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program. The contents in this guide are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to diagnose any medical condition, replace the advice of a healthcare professional, or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Anna D'Anna photo & logo
Anna D’Anna is a personal trainer who takes a personal interest in the success others pursue toward athletic goals. Twenty-four years ago she left a successful career on Wall Street to pursue her true passion – and she’s never looked back. She readily shares her knowledge and experience to inspire others – whether they are seeking a more active lifestyle, or training competitively.
She began teaching Spin classes (and quickly gained a following of cyclists) nearly 20 years ago after being certified by Johnny G’s premier Master Presenter Josh Taylor.  As a personal trainer and group fitness professional, she is certified by ACE and AFAA – nationally accredited certifying agencies committed to delivering science-based health and fitness instruction. Anna is also certified Heart Zones Level III instructor. Beneficial to both those who seek her out in fitness classes and those she trains individually, Anna is also certified in Watts training, TRX, and CPR. Additionally, Anna is a USAT certified triathlon coach and race director.  Anna has been quoted in Runner's World magazine and referenced in “Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise.”  In 2007 Anna co-founded a regional women’s training community that emphasizes shared experiences and fosters a culture of camaraderie and support.
In her personal time, Anna is an avid road cyclist and has recently challenged herself to mountain biking. Anna has completed five marathons (three in NYC, her hometown) and hopes to qualify to run the Boston Marathon one day. She volunteers her time and energy for numerous community organizations and enjoys cheering others on at races, rides, and triathlons. She resides in NJ with husband, Todd, and their rescue-lab, Jax.