My Half Marathon Training Plan

(I’m doing quite a bit of blog tweaking, especially on the main index page of Excuse the dust, and click through if you’d like to see some of the changes in action! I’m trying to create a better experience for someone who is just coming to my website, so they’re not overwhelmed by three years of posts on multiple topics!)


This time around, I want to try and stick with as much cross-training as I can while I prepare for my April half marathon. Running for me will never be as fun as going to Dance Trance or lifting weights, and I don’t want to get emotionally burned out.

So, I’ve devised a training plan that allows for quick but consistent runs during the work week, with long runs on Sunday. I’ll still go to Dance Trance several times a week (although I would also like to add cycling to the calendar so I may do a run-bike brick once a week, or just add cycling to one of the other workouts).

My goals for this race:

  • No walking breaks (except for water stations, if need be)
  • A strong finish
  • Enjoy the course
  • No injuries

My planned training calendar (click image below to view larger or here for the .pdf version):

I’m a bit concerned that I only have one double-digit run on the schedule before race day, so I may try and increase my mileage a bit toward the end of training. I’m also not planning on doing a lot of speedwork (because I hate it) but I do want to keep those sprints in so I push my limits.

What do you think — am I crazy to take on such a light running schedule? Should I try and get a few more miles in during the week?

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  1. joe says

    Hello Katy! You definitely need to run a few more double digits. Maybe go more 6s and 8s during the week. That will make it easy for you!

    • says

      Thanks, Swimmer Joe! I can probably manage at least a few 6s. Ugh. BTW, I am still thinking of doing a spring tri, so perhaps I’ll be doing a few bricks in there…

  2. says

    Your training plan looks a lot like mine.

    I only have 1 double digit run and it’s actually a mile less than yours. Two weeks out maybe?

    For me it was very important to keep twice week Zumba in the plan since I feel like it keeps my sanity. I love weights and running but I dunno it’s not the same fun as Zumba is. I’m sure you could agree.

    If there is one thing I’ve noticed, is that I can’t lift 3 days anymore as my mileage is beginning to increase. It’s really affecting my running. Mainly in that my legs are super tired. Or maybe that just means I need to lay off leg work! I’m trying to alternate 2 to 3 strength workouts now ever other week.

    This is a setback week so I plan on 3 strength workouts but next week will probably drop down to 2.

  3. says

    I think your plan looks great and is great– because it’s what will work for YOU. I like that you have lower mileage but still will be workin on your fitness all week long. For my first half marathon, unexpected circumstances lead to me only being able to run a 9 miler as the longest run before the race, and I still finished strong with no walking! Do what’s best for you, and have fun!

    Also, what’s Dance Trance? I want to try it!

    • says

      You’re right — now that I think back, I only did two double-digit runs before my half marathons last year.

      Dance Trance is an AMAZING hip hop dance class — workout (I burn 700 calories in 90 minutes) that is becoming pretty big across the country.

  4. Carolyn says

    Hi Katy! Can’t believe it has been a year since we ran Disney together. I’m training for a half again and it’s funny because I have decided to add cross training into my training schedule for the first time! I’ve taken up spinning and I can already tell it’s making a difference in my runs. I’m aiming to finish the Cleveland Half in under 2 hours. Schedule looks great – maybe one more long run before race day. I’ll be following your blog as always. Good luck!

    • says

      Under 2 hours — gulp! I still can’t believe you did a full marathon.

      I think I’m going to keep the last few weeks flexible and add a longer run or two if I can.

      I LOVE spinning. Get some squishy butt shorts if you don’t already have them. And cycling shoes if you can.

  5. says

    I am a newbie runner, having started last Spring and running my first half this March. I am trainging with Team IN Training and self training and it seems like you might want to add a few more distance runs especially if your goal is to run the entire race with no stops. Or maybe like have a 2 6-8 mile runs in a week leading closer to the race.

  6. says

    Hey Katy I recommend seeing if you can throw in a few longer runs during the week, a couple of five to seven milers. I know you’re tight on time, but I think the extra time on your feet will help you on race day. Maybe bump a few of your 40 minute runs up to 50 to 60 minutes runs. Just a suggestion!

  7. says

    Hi Katy! Amazing how much opinions differ when it comes to training schedules! Your schedule looks a lot like mine – my longest “long” run is usually in the 10-11 mile range for a half marathon. And I also only run 3 days a week, with my weekday runs topping out at 4+ miles. My schedule just doesn’t allow runs that are over about an hour during the week. But since I get a lot of cross training in – swimming, cycling – I’ve had pretty good results. I even PR’d by 6 min at my last half!

    Running isn’t my favorite sport, so I admittedly stick to a bare-bones running schedule.. I’d rather focus my efforts on the activities I really LOVE to do, and let the running fall where it may – I’m racing for fun, not for winning.

    Which half are you training for? I know you’ve probably posted, but I can’t remember!

  8. says

    A plan can also change right? So just go ahead with what you have, and see how much more you can add in (without pressure of course!) Miss you honey.

    • says

      Errr…I’ve never followed a plan. Just ran 3-4 days a week, as long as my schedule allowed.

      I’ll check out RW (which I should have done first, durrrrrr).

  9. says

    I only had two double digit long runs before my Disney half. I originally had two 10.0, two 11.0, and one 12.0, but I got injured and had to take two weeks off. The highest training run I did was 10.0 miles. I was scared at Disney that I would not be able to run 13.1 miles, but not only did I finish, I ran it in under 2 hours, and the only time I stopped/walked was during a restroom break (gah!) and water stations. I felt extremely strong throughout the race.

    Everyone’s training plan is going to be different. I think your plan works for you, but may not work for someone else. It’s a matter of your personal feelings! 😀 I can’t wait for IronGirl! 😀

    • says

      I was scared at my first half, too, because I’d only done 10 miles. I wondered what would happen at 10.1!

      Under 2 hours is amazing. I did mine in 2:11 and 2:12. You are awesome!

  10. gina (fitnessista) says

    hi friend :)
    i think your schedule looks GREAT. for my first half, i only did one run a week (a long run) since i was teaching the rest of the week (spin, step, zumba and weights) and rocked out my half. you’ll be totally fine!

  11. says

    I think this plan looks good – especially if you don’t have a specific time goal. (If you did, I might suggest more miles + speedwork). If you’ve run a half in the past, your muscles should “remember” how to do it to a certain extent. I also think it’s important to do what you love and make sure the training plan will be a good one for your mentally!

    • says

      I did my past two half marathons in 2:11 and 2:12 and while I would love to PR…I’d rather get one solid race under my belt this spring before worrying about time.

      Thanks so much for the support!

  12. says

    I just finished my first half on Saturday, so I’m no expert on halfs. But personally, I’d do a few more longer runs. No need to run the full 13.1 until race day, but I’d do at least another 9 miler and another 10 miler. I did talk to a few people who said their longest run before the half was 8 miles, but I worry too much to trust myself to run 5 more than my longest run. I only ran 3-4 times a week… one 5kish run, one 10kish run, and one long run. The other days, I did strength training (arms), yoga, and the occasional workout/boot camp class.

    I’d also do my first double-digit run more than 2 weeks before the half.


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