Running half a marathon is a serious challenge, not only for your physical endurance, but for your mind as well.

Deciding to take part in such an event requires ambition and a strong mentality, so if you had decided to try, you probably already have what it takes to get there.

How long is a half marathon

The race is 21.1 kilometers long (13.1 miles), and it is a hard task for nearly every runner, especially for beginners.

For males, the average half marathon finish time is 1:55:26, while for females, it is 2:11:57.

How to prepare for a half marathon

To consider preparing for a half marathon, you must have been running for at least 10 weeks and have a base mileage of 12-15 kilometers per week.

The preparation time depends on your fitness level and running experience.

Still, if you are a beginner, who runs less than 12 kilometers per week, you can expect to devote 12 to 16 weeks to get ready for your first half marathon.

During those weeks, you must focus and dedicated to your training plan to succeed in your first half marathon.

The highest mileage weeks of your marathon plan will be five, four, and three weeks before the race.

The last two weeks before the half-marathon should be your tapering phase, where you decrease mileage, to give your body and mind a chance to recover properly before the race.

5 Tips to Staying Injury-Free While Crushing Your Marathon Training Goals

8 weeks half marathon training plan

The first eight weeks are probably the hardest because you do not only train harder than before; you are also building the habit of staying consistent with a plan.

For beginners, these two months are crucial, as, during this time, they find out whether they want to take part in such a long race.

In case you are looking for a sample plan to kick-start your marathon journey, consider following the training plan below.

Feel free to modify it and adjust it to your abilities.

During your preparation, you should have 4 different types of workouts.

Incorporating different styles in your training plan would help you build endurance most efficiently.

1.   HIIT (High-intensity interval training) with working intervals of sprints. Many research studies prove the effects of HIIT on improving VO2 max, and even though it is not long-distance run, HIIT could be the secret weapon that helps you develop tremendous endurance.

2.   Moderate pace run (slightly faster than your long-distance pace). On these workouts, you should focus on running less miles than on your long-distance run, but at a faster pace.

3.   Long-distance run. This part is where you test your abilities to run for a long time at a steady, slow pace. Use your breathing as an indicator for your tempo – you should be able to breathe easily during the entire run.

4.   Whole-body strength training. On these workouts, you must do exercises that help you build aerobic and muscular endurance, make you more powerful and explosive. *you can link internal links to the other articles here, where I talked more about such exercises*

Week 1 and 2

Monday: Moderate pace run

Tuesday: HIIT

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Whole body strength training

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Long distance run

Sunday: Rest

Week 3,4 and 5

Monday: Moderate pace run

Tuesday: Moderate pace run

Wednesday: HIIT

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Whole body strength training

Saturday: Long distance run

Sunday: Rest

Week 6,7 and 8

Monday: Moderate pace run

Tuesday: Moderate pace run

Wednesday: HIIT

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Long distance run

Saturday: Moderate pace run

Sunday: Rest or whole-body strength training. It is essential these days to listen to your body. If you feel tired, use some rest, or lower the volume and the intensity of your workout.

After completing these two months, it would be time to increase the intensity and/or the frequency of the workouts for a few weeks.

It might sound exhausting, but after these 8 weeks, you would already be “in the zone,” so putting a bit more effort should not be a challenge.

Remember to taper two weeks before the race and give your well-deserved body rest.

Breathing Training for a Half Marathon

While training your cardiovascular and muscular systems for the rigours of a half marathon is essential, don’t forget that these systems can’t perform at their best if you are not taking up enough oxygen to fuel them!

Many athletes are starting to take advantage of respiratory muscle training to strengthen and build the endurance of the breathing muscles. These muscles can be trained like any other to become stronger and more resistant to fatigue, allowing them to continue to saturate the blood with oxygen during a long distance event like a half marathon.

Take advantage of a inspiratory muscle assistive device like the Airofit to add this extra edge to your six week training plan! The Airofit only requires up to ten extra minutes of training onto your regimen to achieve the desired benefits.

Expert advice: The recovery during your preparation is just as important as your workouts!

Recovery includes getting enough high-quality sleep every night, consuming nutrition-dense meals every day, and doing stretching and mobility exercises at least on every rest day.

It would be even better if you take some time for stretching and mobility exercises every day and have longer sessions on your rest days.

We all know why healthy food and sleep are essential for proper recovery, but why is stretching so important?

Research studies reveal that stretching muscles regularly increases muscle elasticity and joint mobility, activates some muscular groups that tend to shorten their length in case of a long-term effort, and reduces muscle tension after the activity.

Furthermore, cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that flexibility is related to performance in many sports, suggesting that using stretching to enhance flexibility leads to improved performance.

Stay committed to your training plan and goal, but make sure you stay committed to your recovery time as well.

A well-rested body performs better than a stressed and exhausted one, so always seek a balance between efficient training and adequate rest.

Have you participated in any races before? How did you decide to take part in a half marathon?

Share your experience and ask your questions in the comments below! We would love to help you bring the fittest version of you!