Half Marathon Training: Training Schedule | Anchors Aweigh

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Half Marathon Training: Training Schedule

When my twin sister, Danielle and I decided to run a half marathon, we knew we wanted to train for it. I really believe that anyone in half-decent shape can run a half marathon. It may take you 7 hours and you may have to walk the entire thing, but you could wake up and do it if you really wanted to. In our minds though, training was part of the process. We started out with one goal: to run the whole thing. We came up with a 16-week training schedule to get us in half-marathon shape just in time for the big race.


I consider this a training schedule for beginners. I wasn't a very consistent runner before this training process, and the most I had ever run was about 3.5 miles. We took it slowly and built up the distance gradually. If you are a runner, you can probably eliminate weeks 1-4 and be fine. The great thing about this training schedule is it prevented us from having to run every day. Running 3 days a week is totally manageable, and it gave us rest days in between each run. We would run the same distance Monday and Wednesday and then double that distance for Friday's run. This also allowed us to only have to run one long run a week and then rest for the weekend. 
Since Danielle and I live hours apart, we ran separately, with the exception of the 6 mile run over Christmas. I highly recommend training with a buddy. Danielle knew exactly what I was going through because she was going through it too. Being able to talk each run through with her and motivate/receive motivation made the whole thing doable.
If you are planning on training for a half marathon, and I mean seriously training for it and not just running once a week, 16 weeks is plenty. By about week 14, we were starting to get burned out and just wanted to get to race day. If I ever decide to do this again, I will definitely condense the training to 12 weeks. For a beginner though, 16 weeks is a good time frame. I ran on my lunch breaks so I could have the evenings off. Everyone will have different availability, but lunch runs were perfect for me.

The farther we got through the training process, the easier it became. I know it's hard to believe, but one of my hardest runs was the 2 mile in week 2. I remember coming home out of breath and telling Parker there was no way I could ever add 11 miles to that. I found that as I continued to train and build up distance, my pace actually got faster. 


The 7 miler was the slowest run I had with a 10:40 pace, and I actually remember that run. It was super windy and really not enjoyable, but it felt so good to finish it. The fastest pace I ever ran was with the 9 miler, and the 10 miler wasn't too far behind. The training works. If there is one thing I learned throughout the experience, it is to trust the process. Some runs were so hard they made me want to give up altogether, and some runs gave me an adrenaline rush that made me want to keep going. Regardless, every single one of them was worth it.

Training for a half marathon was physically exhausting, obviously. My legs were sore for the better part of 4 months. One thing Danielle and I weren't ready for was how mentally exhausting training was. We felt like it was our life- we ate, slept, and breathed training. Meals were centered around runs, social functions were centered around runs, and really just life in general was centered around runs. It was a good thing, though. We wanted to train for this half marathon all-in. We wanted to give it everything we had, and we did. Looking back at my run times and the training process, I have no regrets. I pushed my body farther than I ever have before, and I accomplished my goal through hard work and dedication. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

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15 comments :

Breanna said...

Did you finally run the race? I give you mad props girl, I tried training for a half marathon and gave up at 4 miles.

www.goingupupandaway.blogspot.com

After Eleven Blog said...

so what kind of advice would you give to someone starting out? still do the 15 mile in 1 day? is it okay to jog/walk/run mix that 1.5 mile up as you're working your way up? nice job by the way!

Ashley - Married to the Game said...

That chart scares me! I used to run long distance, but now the most that I will run is 3 miles. I'm all about the sprint intervals and HIIT runs.

Melissa said...

This is SO helpful, Chelsea! I've been training and running, but I've also been guessing a lot, too. I think this might help me get an idea of what I need to run to accomplish a half! :)

Ashley said...

I think I would have needed a few pre-weeks training to start off running 1.5 miles. But I can say that seeing how far you've come is such a great feeling. Do you plan on running just for fun now that you've finished the half marathon?

Blogger Ash said...

Good for you girl! Get it!

~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

Jen said...

Great training plan, I haven't followed one for any of my races. So far so good haha.

Ali said...

Did you really run some of those long runs on a track? I think I would have died of boredom! Good for you! I would add that doing some runs that incorporate hills and some with sprints will help you become a stronger runner and help shave some time off your pace. Pace isn't so important when you're just starting out, but hills make you stronger!

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

This is a great training plan. Most try to cram in so much in a week my knee starts to hurt. This seems more manageable. Thanks for linking up!

Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April said...

Chelsea! I definitely admire you! For me, it's just getting started. I did my first 5k and that was an accomplishment for me. it pumped me up to do something bigger. My goal is still the half marathon! Thank you for the schedule! I think I might try it :) And by the way GREAT JOB!!!

Jessa @ Life of A Sports Wife said...

I love this post! I need to get back into running. I think if I find a race near by I will be able to do it.

Janna Renee said...

I started running last year and went from zero to six miles DAILY. Baaaad idea. I learned the hard way that you really do have to train your body!

Dolce Vita said...

That's so amazing, I'm really motivated by how much progress you made :) I've been wanting to do a race for a while now, but I think I'll start with a 5k. If only spring would come quicker so I could actually train outside!

xo
Dolce
www.mydailysweet.com
Check out my blog for a huge $500 giveaway!

Hana R said...

Yay for half marathon training!!! You'll be running a marathon in no time, and be addicted to them! haha!

Brenda Venn said...

I have only 12 weeks to train. You mentioned the schedule could be condensed to accommodate that. How would you recommend condensing it? I have been running for years, but usually only 5k's. Thank you.

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