8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

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So you want to run a half marathon? Running 13.1 miles is a huge accomplishment, but unlike a full marathon, the training doesn't have to take over your life. In fact, you can do it in only two months if you follow this 8-week half marathon training plan.

This training plan is based on four days of running, two days of cross-training, and one day of rest each week. Your runs will include speed workouts so you can get used to race pace, as well as longer, slow-paced runs to help you build endurance. When it comes to cross-training, aerobic activities are best, so think swimming, cycling, or the elliptical.

This schedule is flexible. If you'd rather run five days a week, replace one of the cross-training days with an easy run. Likewise, if you're feeling wiped out, replace one of the cross-training days with another rest day. Make sure to always keep at least one rest day a week. You need a break both physically and mentally. You can also shift the schedule so that your rest or cross-training is on days that work better for you.

Ready to get started? Check out the half marathon training plan below.

8-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

Here are some key terms to understand before starting your plan:

  • Easy pace: This means a conversational pace. You should be able to talk to your running partner comfortably the entire time.
  • Goal race pace: Not sure what your goal race pace should be? Think comfortably hard. Keep in mind that it’s a goal, so it might not be easy or comfortable from day one and that’s okay! Your half marathon pacing strategy may change throughout your training plan.
  • Hills: If the plan says to run 60-second hills, you’ll need to find a hill that takes about 60 seconds to run up at a comfortably hard pace. Then you’ll jog back down and go again.
  • Cut-down run: The goal here is to hit negative splits, or increasingly faster paces. After your warm-up mile, start running at a pace that's 20 to 30 seconds slower than race pace, then increase your pace by 10 to 15 seconds per mile until you’re running a bit faster than your 10k pace.
  • Cross-training: This could be anything from swimming or biking to strength training. High mileage can lead to overuse injuries, which is why it is important to work on building muscle throughout your training.

Week 1

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1-2 mile warm-up, 2 miles at goal race pace*, 1-2 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 2-3 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 6 miles, easy

Special instructions: Not sure what your goal race pace is? Think "comfortably hard."

Week 2

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1-2 mile warm-up, 60-second hills*, 1-2 mile cool down
  • Thursday: 4-5 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 7 miles, easy

Special instructions: Find a hill that takes about 60 seconds to run up at a comfortably hard pace and then jog back down. Repeat 4-6 times.

Week 3

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1-2 mile warm-up, 4 miles at goal race pace, 1-2 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 4-5 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 8 miles, easy

Week 4

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1 mile warm-up, 5 miles at goal race pace, 1 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 4-6 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 9 miles, easy

Week 5

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1 mile warm-up, 4 mile cut-down run*, 1 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 4-6 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 10 miles, easy

Special instructions: Today you’ll do a cut-down run. After your warm-up mile, pick up the pace 10-15 seconds per mile for each of the next four.

Week 6

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1 mile warm-up, 6 miles at goal race pace, 1 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 12 miles, easy

Week 7

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1-2 mile warm-up, 4 miles at goal race pace, 1-2 mile cool-down
  • Thursday: 4-6 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Sunday: 9 miles, easy*

Special instructions: This will be your last long run since you’ll now start cutting back on mileage in order to rest up for race day.

Week 8

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Wednesday: 1-2 mile warm-up, 2 miles at goal race pace, 1-2 mile cool down
  • Thursday: 3-4 miles, easy
  • Friday: 30-45 minutes, cross-training
  • Saturday: 2-3 miles, easy
  • Sunday: Race day! Go run an awesome 13.1 miles!

Sticking to this training plan can help you make it to the start line without injury, and with the confidence that you’re ready to run your best race. Be sure to invest in comfortable running shoes as well to keep you pain-free.

Half Marathon Training FAQs


How soon after a half marathon can I run another?

Generally, it is advised to “rest” one day for each mile run. That doesn’t necessarily mean no activity, in fact, it is important to jog, walk, or bike a few days after a half marathon to flush out your legs. So, by this logic, about two weeks would be enough time between half marathons.

How much faster is half marathon pace compared to marathon pace?

An intermediate runner can expect their marathon pace to be about 55 seconds slower per mile than their half marathon pace.

Is 10 miles enough before a half marathon?

Yes! You don’t have to run 13.1 miles in training for a half marathon. In fact, few 8-week plans have 13 miles programmed. 10 miles is enough to indicate that you can get through the full 13.1 miles on race day.

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