12 Week Novice Half-Marathon Plan

The following plan is for first time half-marathoners.  Prior to training for a half-marathon, you should be able to successfully run a 5k and have been running for at least 6 months.

The program gradually increases the mileage, as well as incorporating cross training.  If the daily workouts do not fit your schedule you can easily move around some of the workouts and rest day. Most races are held on Sundays, some on Saturdays, so that is why the longer distances are on Sundays.

You will notice that there is only one day of rest provided.  If you feel that you need more rest during the week, that is okay.  This plan consists of a run on Monday after the long run.  The reason for that is to flush out built up lactic acid after the long run.  It is meant to be an easy recovery jog.

Cross training can be any type of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up.  Examples of great cross training are bicycling (indoor or outdoor), swimming, ellipticals, Stair Master, kick boxing, rowing, tennis, hiking, and brisk walking.

A tempo run consists of holding the same tempo throughout the whole run.  For example, 4 mile run would take 36 minutes to complete if each mile was 9 minutes.  Tempo runs are easiest done on the treadmill because you can set the pace.  Tempo runs can be done outside, but you must be diligent in keeping the same pace throughout.

You can find the Hill Workout HERE!

If you do not have a treadmill, or your treadmill does not incline, just plan your route around hills. The hill workout is 20 minutes, so if you would like to run outside just aim for a 20 minute run/jog that has hills.


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Questions about this plan? Leave me a comment!

4 thoughts on “12 Week Novice Half-Marathon Plan

  1. I am planning on doing a half marathon in November, and I was wondering if you do any strength training on days that you run? Or do you only strength train on cross train days?

    • I do strength training on both days. I do lower body on MWF, and upper body on TTh. However, you can certainly arrange it however you like. Just make sure to give your muscles 48 hours in between strength training sessions. You could do lower and upper body all at once; I just split it up for time reasons. I have been doing core work MWF along with lower body, but that too could be done any day- just allow one day in between. I hope this helps! And good luck with half marathon training! 🙂

  2. How do I pick the pace for my tempo run? Also what pace should I be aiming for on Saturdays? Is it a bad idea to only strength train on cross training days? I feel like I can’t get a good workout in strength wise after I’ve been running. Sorry for the question overload.

    • I love questions- so no worries 🙂

      As for your tempo pace, you should set that to what a goal pace would be for you for your half marathon. For example, for my next marathon my goal is to run 7:50 minute miles so that is my tempo pace for training. All other runs are slightly above 8 minute miles.

      As for Saturday- those are easy runs. You should not be trying too hard on those runs, and should be able to have a conversation with someone throughout the run.

      You can strength training anyway that works for you. Just make sure to wait 48 in between to allow your muscles to rest and repair themselves.

      I hope this helps!

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