Advanced Half Marathon Training Schedule

12-Week Plan to Run Your Best Half Marathon

Couple running in urban park
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So you're an experienced runner and you're hoping to take your half marathon (13.1 miles) training to the next level. Use this 12-week training schedule to help you run a personal record (PR) in your next half marathon.

Is This Half Marathon Training Plan Right for You?

To start this plan, you should already be running about five days a week and can run up to 8 miles comfortably. If you're not up to that, you may want to try the Intermediate Half-Marathon Schedule.

Half-Marathon Training Schedule for Advanced Runners

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1CT35 min tempoRest5 miRest7 mi3 mi EZ
2CT6 x 400 IWRest or CT35 min tempoRest or CT9 mi3 mi EZ
3CT35 min tempoRest or CT5 miRest10 mi3 mi EZ
4CT4 x 800 IWRest or CT40 min tempoRest8 mi3.5 mi EZ
5CT6 hill repeats CT35 min tempoRest9 mi3.5 mi EZ
6CT7 hill repeatsCT40 mi tempo runRest11 mi3 miles EZ
7CT8 x 400 IWRest or CT40 min tempoRest13 mi (last 3 at race pace)4 mi EZ
8CT5 x 800 IWRest or CT35 min tempo run3 miles EZRest10K race
9CT8 hill repeatsRest or CT45 min tempoRest10 mi4 mi EZ
10CT7 x 400 IWRest or CT35 min tempoRest14 mi (last 4 at race pace)4 mi EZ
11CT40 min tempoRest4 mi race paceRest5 mi3 mi EZ
12Rest4 mi30 minutes 10K pace3 miRest20 minutesRace Day!

Details of the Half Marathon Training Schedule:

Crossing-training (CT): Cross-training activities allow you to give your joints and running muscles a break while still working on your cardio.

When the schedule calls for CT, do a cardio activity other than running (biking, swimming, elliptical trainer) at moderate effort for 45 to 60 minutes. You'll also benefit from doing 15 minutes of strength-training two times each week.

Tempo Run: Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for faster racing.

For a 40-minute tempo run, for example, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at a pace of about 10 seconds slower than your 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard."

Interval workouts (IW): After a warm-up, run 400 meters (one lap around most tracks) hard, then recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. For example, 3 x 400 would be three hard 400s, with a 400 m recovery in between. For the 800 meter intervals, run 800 meters (two laps around most tracks) at your 5K race pace and then recover for 800 meters in between intervals.

Rest: Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts, so don't ignore rest days. Your muscles actually build and repair themselves during your rest days. Fridays are a good day for rest, as you'll have run on Thursday and will have your longest run of the week on Saturday.

Saturday long runs: After you warm up, run at a comfortable pace for the designated mileage.

Make sure you cool down and stretch after your run. If most of your runs are on the road, and you're not sure how far you run, you can figure out the mileage by using resources such as MapMyRun.com. Or, you can always drive your route in your car ahead of time and measure the mileage using your car odometer.

Sundays: This is an active recovery day. Your run should be at an easy (EZ), comfortable pace, which helps loosen up your muscles and get your body and mind used to running on tired legs.

Tune-up Race: This schedule recommends a 10K tune-up race at Week 8 so you can practice racing and get a sense of your fitness level. If you can't find a 10K race that weekend, you can do a shorter distance race, or do it during Week 9 or 10.

Switching Days: You can switch days to accommodate your schedule. If you're busy one day, it's fine to swap a rest day for a run day.

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