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Super Simple Half Marathon Training Plan (9-12 Weeks)

Are you looking for a half marathon training plan that doesn’t have you glued to a spreadsheet and calculations more than you’re actually running?

I was, too. Luckily, you can complete this 5k to half marathon training plan in 9-12 weeks, plenty of enough time before race day. In fact, I used this plan for my first half marathon, and it is still my PR for the distance.

When one of my Twitter friends told me about their half marathon training schedule, and when I saw how simple it was, I jumped at it. And so should you.

This is definitely too simple for really experienced runners, but if you’re a 5k-er or 10k-er who wants some good running workouts, give this a shot. It’s definitely the half marathon training plan for beginners I needed before my first race.

The Simple Free Half Marathon Training Plan (9 Weeks):

You will spend 3-4 days each week training, doing 1 long run and 2-3 short runs. I found out that I personally loved 3 short runs and a long run, but it’s okay if you do just 2. As long as you get the long run in. It’s the most important part.

Each week, add 0.5 mile to short runs and 1 mile to the long runs. When you can run 10 miles on your long run, you’re ready for the half marathon.

So if you’re starting from a base of being able to run a 5k, your first bit of weekly training would look like this:

  • First Week: 3-mile long run, 1.5 mile short runs.
  • Second Week: 4-mile long run, 2-mile short runs.
  • Third Week: 5-mile long run, 2.5 mile short runs.

And so on. By the end of my first time using this plan, my half marathon training was this:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10k (6.2 miles)
  • Saturday: long run of 12+ miles

The really important thing that you can’t forget is the long run. It did take me a little longer than 9 weeks to get through it, though. Because of my asthma.

I had to spend a couple of weeks getting myself trained to run in the summer humidity we get here in Alabama before I could start training for longer distances. I had to let my heart rate adjust and do a little more interval training than I had intended.

But it worked. It was worth it. I ran my first half marathon with this plan. And it was simple, easy, and fun.

It was easy enough to remember that I didn’t need a spreadsheet. In the end, I finished my half in under 2 hours, and it was a glorious experience.

I should note that this doesn’t account for cross training or any other kind of strength training. The focus here is long runs, but if you want to maximize your potential for race day, you will want to look at doing more than just running.

Good luck out there, y’all!

Have you trained for a half-marathon? Any tips for all the 13.1 newbies out there?

 

 

 

I also have a Substack that you would enjoy!

 

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Hey there!
    Not sure if you remember me. I used to be a WoW blogger, Larisa at The Pink Pigtail Inn. Nowadays I’m blogging about movies, though I occasionally check out what my old favourite bloggers are up to. And that’s how I ended up here. I think your geek fitness project is pretty awesome.
    I’ve recently started my own since I got hooked on the app Zombies, Run!
    I bet you’ve already heard about it and for some reason decided not to use it. For me it’s perfect, almost addicting, in a good way. When I go to bed I look forward to waking up the next morning, so I can have a run before breakfast and see what will come up next with the zombie story… I can’t remember EVER looking forward to running in my entire life. It’s supposed to be painful and dull… and now it isn’t. It’s playful and fun.
    This app also comes in a beginner’s version where the goal is to run 5k after eight weeks of training. It’s perfect for gamers who haven’t exercised for years. For my own part I stick to the version for runners, but I think it’s pretty wonderful that this version exists for the people who most of all need it.

    Oh, and I also have a Nike fuelband, which also speaks to an old gamer. I haven’t missed my daily goal once since I bought it and it has truly changed my lifestyle in a good way.

    Exercising geeks today certainly have access to a lot of great tools to help them out!

    Anyway: cheers for your progress and best of luck with your half marathon training!

    Reply
    • Sohei

      and Boom, just like that, nostalgia 🙂 The PPI, oh, yes, those were the days :D, back when I was a Holy Pally, Blogger (Non-Squishy Heals) and very much NOT a runner. Or a walker. I got my exercise pushing my luck and jumping to conclusions 😀

      The Blogging community really is a tight-knit one, especially in WoW circles!

      Ugh, and I am sooo slack in posting anything running related. Must remedy that!

      Reply
    • B.J. Keeton

      Of course I remember you! I’m glad to see that you haven’t given up on blogging altogether, though. Personally, I’m glad to find a smaller niche I really care about. I think my gaming blogs were too unfocused (because my tastes are so eclectic) to work out. Geek Fitness, though? I heart it.

      I want to love Zombies, Run! but I have a hard time. I did the first mission and loved it, but I can’t play music through it because my playlists are on Spotify instead of being stored on my phone. So it won’t silence the music in order to continue the ZR story. It sucks, but if they ever fix that, I’ll definitely be using it to prep myself.

      So I take it you like the fuelband? I’ve looked at them a lot and for the price, I really do like what’s there. Part of me wants it more than the upcoming Fitbit wristband because of it having a clock/display on the device itself. I’m not a big fan of the Fuelpoints (in theory), but I can see how gameifying it can really help people like us a long.

      Have you tried out Fitocracy? I use it constantly, and I did a write-up on it a while back at https://www.geekfitness.net/fitocracy –If you’re a fan of the Fuelband and how it motivates you, try a RL fitness RPG. You’ll get hooked! 😉

      Reply
      • Jessica

        I’ve never heard of Fitocracy before, but it might be something I liked. I really enjoy gamification of fitness activities, though I don’t feel any urge whatsoever to share my progress in social media. I’ve turned off all auto-reporting to twitter from Fuelband as well as Zombies Run.

        Re: Zombies Run, I don’t even listen to music. I’m such a podcast junkie that I need to find time to listen to them, so I do that while exercising, either it’s by running outdoors, walking or on a treadmill. So I listen to my podcasts and then, when the voice from the app breaks in, I just use the switch on the earbuds to quickly turn off the podcast until they’ve said their thing, and then I put it on again once it’s time for “music”. It works as a charm to me.
        Then again: I know others are more dependent on music for their running. To each one their own. Just wanted to point out the possibility of easy manual switching.

        The Fuelband has been an excellent motivator for me. Having that goal and a bar that needs to be filled is strangely motivating, just like when you’re grinding in a game. I’ve taken lunch walks in heavy rain, just to get the points I need for the day! Crazy, I know, but so what as long as it works? 🙂

        Reply
  2. Mags

    I like the Hal Higdon training plans – free on the Internet- he’s got plans for different distances and skill levels. Good luck with your training!

    Reply
    • B.J. Keeton

      I’ve glanced at the Higdon ones, but they’re so often referred to, I guess I should probably give them more than a glance.

      Also, thanks for the CommentLuv link to the sports bra blog. My wife’s been obsessing over getting a couple new ones lately, so I sent her your way. 😀

      Reply
  3. P.J. Murphy

    I second the Hal Higdon online training programs – especially for your first half marathon. They’re relatively easy to follow and there is a bit of flexibility built into them. The Novice programs are perfect for beginners – I used them for my first couple of half marathons. Lately I’ve been creating my own hybrid training programs, but a lot of what I do is based on Hal’s programs.

    The other option is to join a training group. If there’s one fail safe way to keep you honest about your weekly mileage goals, it’s when a dozen or so other runners are asking you about it.

    Reply
    • B.J. Keeton

      The training group is actually a great idea, which is kind of why I do this blog. It keeps me honest and motivated. I have enough people who read and interact on Twitter that if I don’t push myself, they’re asking me why not. It’s a great feeling. And as egocentric as I am, it’s a nice jolt to the ego that I can do that.

      There might be smaller local runners groups, but because I’m so rural, there’s not a running shop closer than an hour away. I’m hoping within the next year, though, to move closer and get more locally involved at that point.

      Reply
  4. Ashley @ Workout to Wineglass

    Great post! Yes, for my first I did a half marathon plan I found online. I’ve got some other races on the schedule but I really want to run a PR at Rock and Roll Savannah this November. So I signed up for a custom plan by Jason at strengthrunning.com. Plan starts June 24, but I have already been getting used to the pre-/post-run regimens, etc. I think his site might have some posts of interest to you. No affiliation; just trying to point out somewhere that’s helped me focus when I’ve gotten overwhelmed by so many other sources out there 😉

    Reply
  5. George

    Great article, you do really need a interesting plan that is put together by a professional. Links on my site to some great info by Canadian pro Yuri Elkaim trust it helps you

    Reply
  6. Holly Martin

    Nice post Keeton! I liked the way you bifurcated the entire half marathon training plan into which exercises one needs to do on each individual day. I think this will help the readers in preparing a daily plan that is easy to follow. Thanks for sharing this article!

    Reply
  7. Nicole Rice

    I got the best inspiration from this article. After reading this article, I also inspired myself for my marathon training. As a athletes, I followed your all instructions regarding this marathon training which you mentioned in your blog that’s really helpful for me. Thanks!

    Reply

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