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The Half Marathon Training Schedule

"Wonder How the Half Marathon Differ from the Marathon?"

half marathon training scheduleTraining for a half marathon takes a thought through plan and good running schedules. Just consider the words. Half - Marathon. Half of the big boss - the challenge itself; the marathon.

A half marathon training schedule is usually part of a larger plan, leading up to the marathon.

They should take this into consideration when runners are training for it.

On this page you'll find some of the core important factors when planning your half marathon training schedule.

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The last few years, more and more half marathons are staged. Not only at top level (where the top guns are hitting low 58 minutes - an incredible time..) but also for the masses.

Just look at the main marathons in the world :

New York has its New York half marathon in the summer, Chicago marathon with the Chicago half marathon in August and Berlin marathon with its Berlin half marathon.

Yes, the half marathon "boom" is coming as well as the marathon boom we have seen the last few years.

Now, lets get to it.

To Run a Fast/Finish/do Well in the Half Marathon You'll Need to Understand

  • The specifics of the half marathon training schedule
  • The training demands
  • The pacing strategies
  • The periodization

First up is finding out what type of runner you are.

And finiding out/deciding what your aim is for the half marathon training plan.

Are You a 5 or 10k Type Runner ?....

..or are you just using the half for a full marathon ?

For 5k and 10k lovers, the half marathon running can be added in there.

Without much extra training. As a stepping stone towards running a full marathon. And maybe finally being a marathoner.

For marathon runners, the half marathon is a great.

Both as an indication of marathon time. And because the "diet" challenge (not hitting the wall) does not have to be a top priority.

Which means you can do a half marathon more often. On a regular basis. Without the risk of overtraining.

A general rule for the marathon is that, if you go above 3 marathons yearly you have to be careful with overtraining/excessive stress on the system. Having said that, this applies the most to the top runners - sub 2.30 more so than the average marathon enthusiast.

But point is - you have to be much more careful in the marathon as compared to the half marathon.

Half Marathon Training is Not as Challenging as Marathon Training.

Building a half marathon training schedule is not as challenging as building one for the marathon.

These are the main things to be aware of when building a half marathon plan :

The 5k / 10k Times are Really Good Indications of your Half Marathon Potential at the Moment.

Even more so than the marathon.

Especially the 10k.

So what do you do ?

It is obvious ; you train for the 10k. And spice it up with some half marathon training.

This is a key to understanding the dynamics of the half marathon. The reality is : the demands of the half marathon is much close to the 10k than the marathon.

Fact is : a top notch marathon runner can have a relatively poor half marathon time because of his/her extreme ability to deal with the specifics of the marathon distance. That is the marathon demands from 30k/20 miles onwards.

Fact is : a top notch 10k runner will always have a good half marathon in him.

Yepp, focus on that 5/10k training - to push the half marathon times.

Therefore, the real key is to use a training model that allows you to...

Improve your 5k/10k Time - Without too much Speed Work in it. And as a Result Improve your Time for even Longer Distances.

What I'm saying here is : if your main wish is a faster half marathon time - to run a number of very long ,marathon type sessions may not be ideal.

Of course, this is different if you only throw in there a half marathon race as part of a marathon training plan.

It can be done quite easily. And with less speed work you also run less risk of injuries. You can read more about 5k and 10k training in the specific sections you find on this site (check out the navigation bar to the left )

In my own training as a 5k specialist I took this approach with very good results.

And that was even for pure 5k training. For the half marathon, this kind of approach is even more effective.

Therefore, it is important not to dig yourself into the "speed-oriented-hole" if you want to run your best half marathon.

The higher end endurance training made wonders for the results as oppose to a more speed-oriented training regime.

Learn to Float at Sub-Maximal Pace.

With sub-maximal pace, I mean an intensity area called the anaerobic threshold.

This is (very roughly!, not deep-digging into technical terms ;) ) just above the limits when you "feel" tired, you cannot talk comfortably while running.

  • Your anaerobic threshold is about 25 beats below your maximum heart rate.

Want to learn more about this ?

You can read more about maximum heart rate and anaerobic threshold training in the heart rate training part of this web page.

Remind yourself in your half marathon training :

"The challenge in the longer distances is to keep going, floating, comfortable gliding along at a sub maximal pace"

Again and again and again...

And you are probably just around that anaerobic threshold. This feels comfortable while at the same time you feel the workout in the legs. At the end of anaerobic threshold work you'll feel "tired but fresh" in your legs. Which is simply ideal to improve the general runninng fitness.

The half marathon is over 95 % aerobic (=with "enough" oxygen avaliable) in terms of energy systems- which means below or at the anaerobic threshold. Which again means that hard, pushing speedwork is not the way to go.

A very endurance oriented mind is therefore important, even for improving the 5k/10k - to get faster in the half marathon.

Pay Attention to the Half Marathon Training Periodization

Periodization is simply another name for variation.

Both within a week, which means you run at different intensities different days of the week, and within a larger weekly plan.

With a good periodization plan, you run less risk of injuries. It is easier to stay motivated. And the training results are much better compared to regular "just go out for a run" type training.

All of this is explained in the articles you will find below.

But enough rambling. Below I have added some more specific articles on building a half marathon training schedule to start with right below.


marathon training

New : If you want all these principles outlined in a complete plan check out the full 100 day Marathon plan...

FULL marathon training schedules "The 100 Day Marathon Training !"



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