Advanced Half Marathon Training Schedule

So you’re an experienced runner and you’re hoping to take your half marathon (13.1 miles) training to the next level. Use this 12-week training schedule (see table below) to help you run a personal record (PR) in your next half marathon.To start this plan, you should already be running about five days a week and can run up to 8 miles comfortably.

Notes about the schedule:

Crossing-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break, while still working on your cardio. When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 45 to 60 minutes. You’ll also benefit from doing 15 minutes of strength-training 2x a week.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for faster racing. For a 40-minute tempo run, for example, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at about 10 seconds slower than your 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you’re not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels “comfortably hard.”

Interval workouts (IW): After a warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) hard, then recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. For example, 3 x 400 would be three hard 400s, with a 400 m recovery in between. For the 800 meter intervals, run 800 meters (two laps around most tracks) at your 5K race pace and then recover for 800 meters in between intervals.

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don’t ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. Fridays are a good day for rest, as you’ll have run on Thursday and will have your longest run of the week on Saturday.

Saturday long runs: After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage. Make sure you cool down and stretch after your run. If most of your runs are on the road, and you’re not sure how far you run, you can figure out the mileage by using resources such as MapMyRun.com. Or, you can always drive your route in your car ahead of time and measure the mileage using your car odometer.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles and get your body and mind used to running on tired legs.

Tune-up Race: This schedule recommends a 10K tune-up race at Week 8 so you can practice racing and get a sense of your fitness level. If you can’t find a 10K race that weekend, you can do a shorter distance race, or do it during Week 9 or 10.

Note: 
You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. If you’re busy one day, it’s fine to swap a rest day for a run day.

Half-Marathon Training Schedule for Advanced Runners

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT 35 min tempo Rest 5 mi Rest 7 mi 3 mi EZ
2 CT 6 x 400 IW Rest or CT 35 min tempo Rest or CT 9 mi 3 mi EZ
3 CT 35 min tempo Rest or CT 5 mi Rest 10 mi 3 mi EZ
4 CT 4 x 800 IW Rest or CT 40 min tempo Rest 8 mi 3.5 mi EZ
5 CT hill repeats CT 35 min tempo Rest 9 mi 3.5 mi EZ
6 CT hill repeats CT 40 mi tempo run Rest 11 mi 3 miles EZ
7 CT 8 x 400 IW Rest or CT 40 min tempo Rest 13 mi (last 3 at race pace) 4 mi EZ
8 CT 5 x 800 IW Rest or CT 35 min tempo run 3 miles EZ Rest 10K race
9 CT 8 hill repeats Rest or CT 45 min tempo Rest 10 mi 4 mi EZ
10 CT 7 x 400 IW Rest or CT 35 min tempo Rest 14 mi (last 4 at race pace) 4 mi EZ
11 CT 40 min tempo Rest 4 mi race pace Rest 5 mi 3 mi EZ
12 Rest 4 mi 30 minutes 10K pace 3 mi Rest 20 minutes Race Day!
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