My First Half Marathon Training Plan!

Hey everyone :)

I’ve finally put together what I think will be a solid training plan for my first half marathon coming up in June!


The training plan is a bit unusual because my friend Ashley and I just did the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler two weeks ago, so we won’t be starting from scratch… more just continuing what we were doing and slightly increasing mileage!


So if you are starting from scratch, please don’t follow this plan — you should build up much more slowly!

Here’s the plan by month (I shaded out the days up until tomorrow):



In many ways, this training plan is very similar to our 10 miler training plan:

  1. We are still only going to run 3 days a week — this just works best for me in terms of avoiding overuse injuries. We’ll have one long run, one hilly run, and one speed work run, which will usually be done on the treadmill (or a track) alternating sprints and jogging.
  2. We’ll still be doing strength and cross training on our days off, including yoga.
  3. We still have one scheduled rest day a week.

The main differences between this plan and our 10 miler training plan are:

  • On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll be doing kickboxing with LA Boxing instead of cross/strength training on my own, which usually consisted of 30 to 40 minutes on the elliptical and various strength moves with free weights or weight machines. If I feel like this is too much and I need another rest or yoga day (especially the day after some of those long runs), I’ll take it!
  • I have all our long runs in the plan on Sundays, but that’s not set in stone. Do you rest the day before or after a long run? I’ve been experimenting with which I like better.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish out this training and half marathon without any knee trouble. Training for the Cherry Blossom went really well, but as you’ll remember I had some knee trouble while training for the Army Ten Miler in the fall.


I think the biggest things that helped me stay (knock on wood) injury free so far this spring are:

  • More strength training — my legs are much stronger than they were in the fall, as I spent a lot of time this winter strengthening them before I began training again.
  • Icing after EVERY. SINGLE. RUN. — no matter how short!
  • Foam rolling. Feels so good on sore legs!

Have you ever been injured from running? How did you deal with it? Are you able to run pain free now?

And — what do you think of the training plan? Any comments/suggestions?


  1. 1

    Looks like a really solid plan! I’m finally seeing the point of less is more in terms of running for training. My next event, I will probably arrange more cross training (I’m running 5 days per week now). As the runs have gotten longer and longer in marathon training, I’ve found that I like taking the day before off FOR SURE and then just take a long walk or easy elliptical the day after to get the muscles warm and stretch again. Taking the day off before the long run helps my legs to be really fresh and ready to go. I’ve had many injuries to my knees before and it has always been from overtraining- too much, too soon! When I started marathon training I made sure to stick to my plan even though my runs felt soooo short at first. I have remained injury free so far (cross my fingers!). I think that some leg strength training for 6 weeks before that really helped too. Sorry, kind of a long response, I love seeing other people’s plans!

  2. 2

    I think your plan looks great!! I really like how you have such short runs during the week (2-5 milers), but long runs on the weekends. I’m currently injured and have been battling a knee injury for a year. I’m trying to come back slowly, and know I’ll never be able to whip out 8-10 milers during the week and long ones on the weekend. I’ll have to stick to only 3 days a week, and not overdoing it. Icing is HUGE!! And I’ve just recently started foam rolling and I think that is making so much of a difference. Did you ever discover the cause of your knee pain? Was it hip strengthening by any chance?

    • 3

      Yeah I could definitely not do super long runs during the week – they make me SO tired!

      I’m still not really sure what was the cause of the knee pain – I think it was just a typical over-use type thing due to my leg being weak and my knee taking too much of the stress. I lost a lot of my strength when I was in Prague since I didn’t do any strength training there really (dumb), so I think it just took awhile to build it back up!

  3. 4

    Very impressed! Being such a novice “runner” I don’t have any helpful tips – but good luck! I’m sure you’ll rock it. :)

  4. 5

    That looks like a good training plan for me. I made the mistake of not adding enough cross training – but hopefully over winter I can focus on that some more.

  5. 6

    I think your training plan looks great – after enduring a stress fracture while training for a half last year, I will NOT let myself run two days back to back. I think that yoga and other cross training (I love spinning and the elliptical) are great! Plus it’ll prevent burnout! I think I ended up making my 12 miler a 12.5 just for mental reasons, but my plans that have worked well look a lot like yours. Have fun!!

  6. 7

    Your training plan looks great. I am always at a loss for cross training activities (biking and the elliptical bore me) but kickboxing is so fun! I have never had any serious injuries (knock on wood!) and I think that is because I take days off when I feel too sore, not just “normal” sore but “this could be an injury” sore.

  7. 8

    Great plan! I’m just about ready to run my first half. I always took the day before my long run as a rest day and I did easy cross-training (long walks, yoga, etc.) on the day after my long run. I like that your weekday runs are short enough to manage after a workday. I only realized during the end of training that I didn’t need to run soo much during the week. Good luck with the race!

  8. 9

    I’ve found speedwork to be very effective in preparing for races, especially if you’re ready to take your training to the level. I might look into incorporating tempo runs too, if you can’t make it to the track some days.

    I’m already pumped for our run in Austin! :D

  9. 10

    This looks like a great plan. I usually do a rest the day before and the day after a long run. I think it’s really vital for my muscles to have time to prepare and to have time to recover.

    Sometimes, I think the hardest part about training is actually figuring out the training plan! :) LoL

    Good luck Anne, you will do awesome! :)

  10. 11

    WOOHOO! I’m excited for you! I rest before and after long runs. I like 2 days of rest. Keeps me fresh!

  11. 12

    Sounds like you have a great plan. I am trying to increase my distance and fear an injury so thanks for the tips. I really want a foam roller.

  12. 13

    This looks great! I love that you’re sticking with your 3-days-a-week of running because it works for YOU – a lot of people told me, for marathon training, that 5d/wk would be better than my usual 4, and I never changed it ;)

    I have always rested the day after an LR – the only other thing I’d recommend if a “rest” day doesn’t work, is an EASY recovery run (slow ~3 mi) or some Easy cross training. I liked doing LRs on Saturday so I had Sunday (more weekend) to relax :)

    If you need a buddy for any of those runs, you know where to find me! heh

  13. 14

    awesome plan anne. i also believe in running 3 times a week and it will help you so much! i did get injured twice while training for the 10 miler, so hopefully i will be okay from here on out! planning on the Baltimore 10 miler June 19 ( you should come) and also the Philly Half Sept 19 (come too :) )

  14. 15

    Good ideas as I press insanely towards a July marathon in San Francisco. Preferred icing technique? Just one of those bags you use when you’re sick or cold paks?

  15. 19

    Your planning/organization skills prove that you’re more of a woman after my own heart than I thought! ;) I think it’s great that you’ve made such a detailed plan – it’ll make the entire process much more manageable and likely to happen. You’re going to kick butt in that half marathon, fo’sho!

  16. 20

    Ohh! Just yesterday I was searching for a half marathon in DC this summer and had no luck. Annapolis is a great idea! I think I will look into this :)

  17. 21

    I love that your long runs are on Sundays! Mine too! Sounds silly, but I find so few other people who do their long runs on Sundays, it made me excited! That was my one thing about TNT – the Sat am LRs! GO YOU!

  18. 22

    i think the plan looks and sounds great…and i think it’s wonderful that you’re going to stick with 3 days a week. over-training is NO BUENO and it sounds like you are in tune with what’s best for your body!

  19. 23

    Looks like a good plan, though you might consider lengthening your runs on weekdays. Increasing your overall mileage will really help. But all gradually, as injuries often result from running hard without warming up or significantly increasing mileage. The cross-training will help avoid injuries, I’d think. In sum, take a look at slightly greater overall mileage, as that will pay dividends! Good luck!

    • 24

      Yeah, I thought about doing that, but the problem is we only have just over a month to train for this and that’s not enough time to increase during the week runs without increasing overall weekly mileage too much! I’m really wary of doing that anyway considering I’ve had knee issues before… so for now, I’m just going to stick with what works :)

  20. 25

    I didn’t have a very good training plan for my first half other that “Just go for it!”. I injured my knee about 2 months prior and had to take 3 weeks off. Then I got new shoes that gave me killer blisters so I ended up taking the last 2 weeks before the race of to let them heal. It was quite the debacle, but I finished my half none-the-less!

  21. 26

    I have to get in gear and map out my Half training plan. I did NOT do enough cross training last time and paid for it dearly, so this time I will stick to running only 3 days and hitting other activities on the other days. I find it makes running way more enjoyable when I add in other activities, instead of dreading the run, i kind of miss it and look forward to it.
    Well, except when it’s hills. I hate hills.

  22. 27

    I’ve been thinking about doing a half marathon and stumbled upon this blog. Truly inspirational to read all your comments. I have book marked your site Anne, so will check in every now and then for some tips and advice and of course YUMMY recipes. x

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