HALF MARATHON TRAINING PLAN: 
Schedule and motivation

 
 
 

A half marathon is 13.1 miles — half the distance of a marathon. Half marathons are a popular race distance for those looking to take on an endurance event, but who may not want to spend the time it takes to train for a full marathon.

Use our half marathon training plan to prepare for your race, and if you need some motivation, take some pointers from our list of tips.

 

Half marathon training schedule: 12 WEEKS

 
 
St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend participant
 

Overview

Our plan has your long run on Saturdays, but you can do your long run any day of the week that works best for you, as long as you're consistent. Long runs build the physical and mental stamina to cover the miles on race day.

Your midweek runs should be done at a pace that feels easy to you (a pace at which you can carry on a conversation). Easy runs burn calories and build mileage but should not put cardio stress on the body.

Rest days means rest. Recovery time is vital to increasing your strength and stamina.

Cross-training can be any low-impact, non-running activity (weight training, swimming, cycling, walking, etc.). If you need an extra rest day, use your cross-training day to recover.

 
 

Run the mileage at your pace for each day leading up to the race.

Week(s) until race Mon.  Tues.  Wed.  Thurs.  Fri.  Sat.  Sun. Total weekly mileage
12 rest
4 miles 3 miles 5 miles cross-training 3 miles 5 miles 20 miles
11 rest 4 3 5 cross-training 3 6 21
10 rest 4 5 5 cross-training 6 4 24
9 rest 4 5 6 cross-training 7 4 26
8 rest 4 5 6 cross-training 8 5K or 10K race 26
7 rest 5 6 7 cross-training 9 5 32
6 rest 5 6 7 cross-training 10 4 32
5 rest 5 6 7 cross-training 13 4 35
4 rest 6 6 7 cross-training 15 4 38
3 rest 6 7 8 cross-training 13 3 37
2 rest 6
7 7
cross-training 9 3 32
1 rest 5 rest 3 rest 13.1 - RACE DAY
rest 21

Download This Training Plan

For more advanced half marathon training

If this isn't your first half marathon and you're looking to improve your performance, add a 6-week training build before starting our 12-week plan.

Week(s) until race Mon.  Tues.  Wed.  Thurs.  Fri.  Sat.  Sun. Total weekly mileage
18 cross-training
3 miles
2 miles 4 miles cross-training 5 miles
rest 14 miles
17 cross-training 3 2 4 cross-training 5 rest 14
16 cross-training 4 2 4 cross-training 6 rest 16
15 cross-training 4 3 4 cross-training 6 rest 17
14 cross-training 4 3 5 cross-training 7 rest 19
13 cross-training 4 3 6 cross-training 8 rest 21

Are you in the Memphis area? Join Breakaway Running on Saturday mornings for group long runs. Check their Facebook training group page for the start time, location and distance each week. Water will be provided along the course.

 

HALF MARATHON MOTIVATION

 
 

1

 

Know your plan. Training for a half marathon takes time. It’s easy for life to throw distractions your way, so make sure your training runs are built into your schedule. Use a daily planner or your smartphone to block off the time you need and keep your training plan a priority in your busy life. Schedule your run in your day like it’s a meeting you just can’t miss.

 
 

2

 

Be consistent. When something comes up that can’t wait, know that missing a training run or two won’t derail you. But stay committed to your race-day goal. When the runs get long or the weather gets hot or cold, don’t stop. It’s the difficult runs during training that will strengthen you the most for your race.

 
 

3

 

Run with a friend. Some people thrive on running alone, but for others, solitude can be discouraging during a tough run. You may not have a friend who can run with you the whole way, but asking someone to start off with you or join in for the last few miles can help break up a challenging run.

 
 

4

 

Befriend your local running store. Your local running store is a great place to ask about group runs and to find like-minded (and like-paced) running buddies. It’s also the best place to get fitted for proper footwear. Running shoes should be bought based on the support your foot needs, not on the color or style of the shoe, and running in worn-out shoes can increase your risk of injury. The running community loves runners of all shapes, sizes and speeds, so take advantage of their knowledge!

 
 

5

 

Mix it up. Use your long runs as a chance to explore! Map out nearby parks, trails, forests or areas of town you want to discover, and watch the miles fly by.

 
 
 
 
St. Jude Thaddaeus campus statue

Register for the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, and support St. Jude 

Use your half marathon race to benefit children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Your participation can help ensure no family pays for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. 

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