Half Marathon Training Guide

I just ran my sixth half marathon and earned a PR (personal record) at 1:45:49 (8:04 pace).

I haven’t always been a runner, but I’ve spent the last six years working hard, testing out different training plans and improving. Someone asked me how to train for a  half marathon without letting it take over your life and I am here to tell you you CAN!

After last year’s half marathon (also a PR for me), I wrote a post on how to get into running no matter what level you are. This year, I’m going to share with you how I trained.

Pre-race photo with my bff/running buddy!

If you google “how to train for a half marathon” you will likely find a running schedule that has you running 4 days a week and steadily increasing mileage. I agree that you need to steadily increase mileage, but I only run TWO days a week because there are other fitness goals I have and other things I like to do.

You can check out my workout schedule, but I’ll break it down in an easy way for you.

  1. I always run 6 miles on the treadmill once a week. This goes for whether I’m training or not. Keeping this consistent run allows me to stay in “running shape” all year and actually makes training easier since I’m not starting from scratch every time.
  2. When I’m in training season (starts about 12 weeks before the race), I also add a long run on the weekend. I also always run this one outside to get my body used to controlling pace, the weather, pavement, etc.

Using the Aramco Half Marathon in Houston as an example, I would start training with those long weekend runs in September. Keep in mind it is still VERY HOT and humid in Texas at that time of year, so even though I can run 6 miles comfortably on the treadmill, I will start my outdoor runs at about 4 miles. I do this so I can get used to the heat and increase steadily. My long runs follow this schedule:

Week 1: 4 miles
Week 2: 5 miles
Week 3: 6 miles
Week 4: 7 miles
Week 5: 7.5 miles
Week 6: 8 miles
Week 7: 8.5 miles
Week 8: 9 miles
Week 9: 9 miles
Week 10: 10 miles
Week 11: 11 miles
Week 12: 8 miles

You can also see that I spend a lot of time in the 7-9 mile mark (6 weeks). This is a huge hump for most people – tiptoeing from regular runs to a pretty hefty distance so I like to hang out here for a while to really get my body accustomed to it.

This is just my way of training – do what works for you and don’t be afraid to customize. Let me know if you have any questions or any tips that have worked well for you. I’m always learning 🙂 .

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