Thinking of taking the 13.1-mile plunge but not sure where to start? This half marathon plan will carry you from the sofa to the start line—and across the finish too.

You’re sitting on the couch watching television when inspiration strikes. You hear a woman on the news recount her story of going from feeling unhealthy and sluggish to running a half marathon. You see the glow on her face and the energy in her body and suddenly you realize: This is it. This is my next goal. I want to run a half marathon.

Then reality strikes. You haven’t worked out in months and maybe you’ve never run before in your life. How can you run a half marathon when you can’t even run to the end of your block?

Good question, and here’s a simple answer: You start from where you are, build up slowly so you enjoy the journey, and practice patience along the way. Here’s how you’re going to make it 13.1 miles.

Make It Yours

The Couch to Half Marathon Plan is all about flexibility. At first glance, you’ll notice that the schedule uses run-walk intervals. Although this plan lists specific intervals, feel free to adjust it to make it fit for you.

You may be able to follow this plan as it stands, or it may feel too aggressive. If this is the case, simply adjust the intervals to include less running and more walking. Perform only the intervals that feel comfortable for your body so that you’re able to cover the distance more safely and reach race day without injury.

Understanding the Half Marathon Training Plan

The run-walk workouts start with a walking warm-up (not listed in the chart), then alternate time running with time walking and finish with a walking cool-down. For instance in the first workout in week one, you run at a comfortable effort (just a bit quicker than your fastest walking speed) for one minute and then follow with two minutes of brisk walking and repeat that a total of 10 times. As the program builds, so does your running time.

Once a week, you will do a long workout. You’ll start out with 3 miles and build from there. Every few weeks this distance will drop to allow your body time to recover. The long workout will be vital to teaching your body how to spend time on your feet, utilize fat as an energy source, and simulate the half-marathon distance.

This half marathon training plan builds to running two 10-mile runs to prepare you for the 13.1-mile distance on the day. Why not go the whole way in training? Because when you push to run longer miles too quickly, your risk for injury skyrockets. Ten miles is plenty to prepare you well for a half-marathon race.

Click here to download and print the half marathon training plan.

Tune In

It’s crucial to listen to your body during this process. If you’re struggling to finish a workout or have aches or pains, it means your body isn’t recovering properly. If that is the case, repeat the week you’re currently on, or keep the distance the same as stated in the half marathon training plan, but do more walking and less running.

Whether you develop your own run-walk interval of choice or follow the schedule as is, by the end of this plan, you’ll be able to decide for yourself to run the whole way on race day or to use run-walk intervals to cover the distance. Both are great ways of racing, and it’s best to go with what your body allows.

Always remember to have fun and keep smiling. You’ve got this!

Added

Cross-training is also another important piece to your pace and endurance. It allows you to train more muscles in order to ger across the finish line. This will also give you the conditioning you need for the running program. 

Strength training is a great way to get an edge on your running and make it up those hills that are sometimes in 5Ks

Rest days are also incredibly important as it will allow you

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
130 min10xRun 1 min + Walk 2 min Cross-Training 30 min30 min10x Run 1 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min3 miles Run 1 min + Walk 2 minRest
230 min10xRun 1 min + Walk 2 min Cross-Training 30 min28 min7xRun 2 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min3 miles Run 1 min + Walk 2 minRest
328 min7x Run 2 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min28 min7x Run 2 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min4 miles Run 2 min + Walk 2 minRest
428 min7x Run 2 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min30 min6xRun 3 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min4 miles Run 2 min + Walk 2 minRest
530 min6xRun 3 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min30 min6xRun 3 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min4 miles Run 2 min + Walk 2 minRest
630 min6xRun 3 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min30 min5xRun 4 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min5 milesRun 3 min + Walk 2 minRest
730 min5x Run 4 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min30 min5x Run 4 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min5 milesRun 3 min + Walk 2 minRest
830 min5x Run 4 min + Walk 2 minCross-Training 30 min30 min5x Run 4 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min6 miles Run 4 min + Walk 2 minRest
930 min6xRun 5 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min30 min5x Run 4 min + Walk 2 minRestCross-Training 30 min6 miles Run 4 min + Walk 2 minRest
1030 min6xRun 5 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min36 min6x Run 5 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min4 milesRun 4 min + Walk 1 minRest
1136 min6xRun 5 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min36 min6xRun 5 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min7 milesRun 4 min + Walk 1 minRest
1230 min6xRun 5 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min35 min5xRun 6 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min8 miles Run 4 min + Walk 1 minRest
1335 min5xRun 6 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min35 min5xRun 6 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min5 miles Run 5 min + Walk 1 minRest
1435 min5xRun 6 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min40 min5xRun 7 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min9 milesRun 5 min + Walk 1 minRest
1540 min5x Run 7 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min40 min5xRun 7 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min6 milesRun 6 min + Walk 1 minRest
1640 min5x Run 7 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min36 min 4x Run 8 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min10 milesRun 6 min + Walk 1 minRest
1745 min5x Run 8 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min45 min5xRun 8 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min7 milesRun 7 min + Walk 1 minRest
1845 min5x Run 8 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min44 min 4xRun 10 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min10 milesRun 7 min + Walk 1 minRest
1944 min 4xRun 10 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min44 min 4xRun 10 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 min6 miles Run 8 min + Walk 1 minRest
2044 min 4xRun 10 min + Walk 1 minCross-Training 30 min44 min 4xRun 10 min + Walk 1 minRestCross-Training 30 minRestHalf Marathon

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