Half Marathon Training Plan for Beginners

Half Marathon Training Plan for Beginners

January 12, 2019 8 By Ciara Groesbeck

Running can be one of the most liberating activities. While far from being an expert runner, I have developed some strategies to ease the pains of running! I commonly get inspiration through books, my boyfriend (who is simply an amazing runner) and all the other kick-ass athletes I have met throughout the running community.

I usually have two adorable dogs attached to me so my warm-ups are almost non-existent, there are frequent stops for pee breaks and sudden bursts of sprinting towards a squirrel or sometimes just a leaf. There are two things I want to share with you today then. 1. How to train with your best bud and still be successful and 2. How to train if you are flying solo, and when you may want to choose flying solo even if you do have a wagging tail hitting you as you lace up your shoes.

The challenge is exciting, therefore running is exciting. Your running goals can and will be constantly changing, evolving and growing. Your goal right now is to complete the half-marathon, a distance of 13.1 miles– and oh, how achievable that is!

You’re here because you are preparing for a half-marathon– either now or in the future. I hope to inspire you to get out for a jog, trail run or hill sprints…take your pick, but at some point you should be doing all three!

Let’s jog right into this plan!

12 Week Training Plan

Life can get hectic, and running every single day may not be feasible, so this plan will be perfect for you. You will be running 3-4 times per week, strength training and cross-training the other few, and always plenty of time to relax and restore your muscles before the big race day!

Terms to remember while looking at calendar:

    • XT: Cross Training– exercise that is not running, but will help strengthen your run through cardio, weight lifting, stretching
    • LR: Long Run– This will be your pace for your long mile days (1 a week)
    • R/W: Run/Walk
    • S&C: Strength and Conditioning– Weight Training
    • T: Tempo– where you are working hard, have labored breathing, but can hold pace for a while.
    • E: Easy– You should be able to carry on a conversation, with no labored breathing
1Rest3mi (E)
XT 30 min2mi (E)RestS&C3mi (LR) Compete in 5K!
2Rest2mi (E)
XT 30 min3mi (E)RestS&C4mi (LR)
3Rest3mi (E)
XT 40 min3mi (E)RestS&C5mi (LR)
4Rest3mi (E)
XT 40 min3mi (E)RestR/W 3mi6mi (LR)
5Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (E)RestR/W 3mi7mi (LR)
6Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (T)RestR/W 3mi8mi (LR)
7Rest4mi (E)
XT 45 min4mi (T)S&C or RestR/W 4mi9mi (LR)
8Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (T)S&C or RestR/W 3mi10mi (LR)
9Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (T)S&C or RestR/W 3mi10mi (LR)
10Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (T)RestR/W 3mi11mi (LR)
11Rest4mi (E)
XT 40 min4mi (E)RestR/W 3mi6mi (E)
12Rest4mi (E)Rest3mi (E)Rest2mi (E)Race Day: 13.1mi ***

Run a Few Races Throughout Training

Alright, so you’ve got 12 weeks to prepare for your half-marathon and I couldn’t think of a better way to get into the ‘spirit’ of racing than to throw 2 races into the mix! A 5k (3.1 miles) and a 10k (6.2 miles) which will also cover two of your long runs, so you won’t need to switch around your schedule at all!

Turkey Trot 5K with Erik & My Mama

If there are not races near you, then do your own race! You can have fun with this– dress in the outfit you wish to wear for the actual race day!

Stretching is the Secret Ingredient to Success (and longevity)!

Stretching is the key to the lock, the missing puzzle piece, the secret ingredient for a successful ‘running career’. I have often overlooked stretching and found myself with aches and pains, and sometimes (unfortunately) injury. To avoid and/or minimize injury, never skip stretching!

(Do what works best for you!)

Warm Up: Loosen up with static stretching, warm up with dynamic stretching, walk for at least 0.25 mi to get everything ready!

Cool Down: Focused breathing with static stretching

Foam Roll, Lacrosse Ball Roll: At least once a week (I try to do this every other day)

CBD Oil Cream/Salve for Aches & Pains: Rub on legs, or areas of achiness AM and/or PM.

How To Train With & Without Your Pups

Training has been way more exciting with my dogs–it also has interrupted my flow more times than not, but that is quite alright with me. I am the type of person that has their dogs with them everywhere, and training doesn’t change that. While you must turn your patience meter up to high, there are ways to get your dog out with you and still be successful.

Have a Warm-up Walk— if your dog hasn’t been outside to do their duties, I would suggest just walking them for at least a half mile before starting your run.

Have a hands-free leash system— you don’t want to disturb your gait and form, so having a waist worn leash system is ideal. I personally use the Ruffwear waist belt as it is wide and padded and has extra compartments for personal items (and Snacks!)

Ruffwear Trail Running Belt, making runs fun!

Have a good leash— one that absorbs shock and they won’t trip on either. Here are two of my favorites:

Proper Harness for RunningNonstop Dog Wear makes a great harness for dog running. It is comfortable for the dogs and won’t cause chafing.

If your dog is conditioned for running/physical activity then you will be able to train with them throughout this entire schedule.

If your dog is a bit more of a novice, then I would take them out on the lighter, easier days so you are not pushing them too hard.

Winter Trail Running, training never stops!

Either way, you know your dogs better than anyone and can tell if they will have the attention span and the physical capability to train with you. With that said, you can help them get better by taking them more often. Maybe dedicate your shorter runs to improving your dogs’ running ability and save the long runs for yourself.

13.1, Every Step of the Way

When you have a goal in mind, it is sometimes easy to get lost in the howhow to achieve that goal in x amount of time, how am I going to get there when I am only here. I encourage you to take this 1 day at a time, relish in the fact that you are doing something so healthy for you body and mind, and embrace every high and every low.

Enjoy Every Moment

I hope you find progress as exciting as I do, reward yourself often (massage?), and simply love the experience of it all.

Remember, one step at a time you will get to that finish line. Good luck out there!

Happy Running,

Ciara (Boone & Crockett)