Skip to Content

Intermediate half marathon training plan: Week by week plan + printable

Share

If you’re looking to run a great first half marathon or simply looking to improve your existing half marathon time, then this training plan will help you run a faster half marathon.

Training for a half marathon can be gruelling, but with the right support and mindset, it is achievable.

The intermediate half marathon training plan is this guide is designed to get you running a faster half marathon by the end of the 12 weeks.

It will also help you become a healthier and stronger runner.

According to a 2020 study, preparing for a half marathon with a high volume of training and long endurance runs associates with faster finish times.

So what’s the best way to train for a half marathon?

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • How long is a half marathon?
  • Am I ready to run a half marathon in 12 weeks?
  • Is 12 weeks enough time to train for a half marathon?
  • What’s included in the intermediate half marathon training plan?
  • 4 tips for half marathon training
  • 12 week intermediate half marathon training plan: Week by week plan
  • Half marathon training plan PDF

Ready?

Let’s get going!

intermediate half marathon training plan

How long is a half marathon?

A half marathon is 13.1 miles.

It is half the distance of a full marathon which is 26.2 miles.

Related: How to run a 2 hour half marathon

Am I ready to run a half marathon in 12 weeks?

Yes! Training for a half marathon in 12 weeks is completely doable with the right mindset and training plan.

The intermediate half marathon training plan in this guide is for you if:

  • You have a very good base level of fitness and you’re comfortable with running a minimum of three 3-6 mile runs per week and one long run per week.
  • You’ve run a half marathon before and you want to improve your half marathon finish time.
  • You have time in your week to do the weekly runs. Training for a half marathon can be gruelling, especially during the winter months, but with the right mindset you’ll get there.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions above, then you may not be ready to complete an intermediate half marathon training plan.

Check out our beginner half marathon training plan instead.

intermediate half marathon training plan

Is 12 weeks enough time to train for a half marathon?

Yes! 12 weeks is more than enough to train for a half marathon. The intermediate half marathon training plan in this guide is split into 12 weeks.

There are longer training plans on the market that are split across 14 or 16 weeks, but 12 weeks is the ideal amount of time to train for a half marathon.

The training plan can be adapted if you need to repeat a week or miss a week due to illness or vacation.

Related: How long is a half marathon? Training plan + 7 tips for race success

What’s included in the intermediate half marathon training plan?

The aim of this training plan is to get you running a faster half marathon by the end of the 12 weeks.

If you’ve already completed a half marathon, you may know that you have to be doing more than just long runs to increase your speed.

The truth is, in order to run a faster half marathon, you need to be build your strength and speed as well as your endurance and stamina.

This training plan includes the following runs and workouts each week:

  • 3 easy runs
  • 1 long run
  • 1 speed training session (e.g. interval training and tempo running)
  • 1 cross training or strength training session
  • 1 rest day

Here is a breakdown of each:

Easy run

An ‘easy’ run is designed to be just that – easy!

You should run at a conversational pace on an easy run, in other words you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation while you run without getting out of breath.

80% of your training plan will be easy runs – as such they are the mainstay of any training plan.

Long run

The key to any half marathon training plan is the long run.

The long run will get progressively longer during the training plan, going from 5 miles in week 1 to 12 miles in week 11 before you complete your half marathon race in week 12.

Aim to do your long run on a Sunday and run your long runs at an easy pace.

Pace run

A ‘pace’ run is a run at the pace that you expect to run the half marathon – in other words your race pace.

Pace runs are designed to be challenging to get you used to running at a certain pace, so you will feel like you’re being pushed out of your comfort zone on these runs.

Cross training

Cross training is considered ‘dynamic rest’ and can include any aerobic activity such as swimming, cycling, walking, yoga – you get the picture!

However, be careful not to over-exert yourself when doing cross training.

In the plan, you can choose to do either cross training or strength training on the Monday – more on strength training below.

Strength training

Strength training has many benefits for runners, including better running form and reduced risk of injury.

If you’re new to strength training, then read my strength training guide for runners for tips and advice.

Runners benefit from focussing on bodyweight exercises first, with the addition of light free weights and a high number of repetitions to begin with.

Speed training

Speed training is another essential ingredient in an intermediate half marathon training plan.

You’ll be doing two forms of speed training: interval training and tempo running.

Interval training is short bursts of running separated intermixed with jogging or walking, whilst tempo running is a continuous run with a buildup of speed in the middle to near 10k race pace.

Rest day

Rest days are just as important as runs, so make sure you take them.

You will be a much stronger and healthier runner by ensuring you take the rest days when specified. Rest days also help to reduce the risk of injury.

Make sure you listen to your body and take an extra rest day if needed.

Race test

You will see that there are three races included in the plan during weeks 3, 6 and 9 ranging from 5k to 15k.

Race tests are good to test your fitness levels and predict your half marathon finish time.

You do not necessarily have to sign up for a race to do a race test, just ensure you have the means to run these distances on these days.

Stretching and foam rolling

While not included in the plan, it is recommended you stretch and foam roll throughout the duration of the plan to improve your flexibility and mobility and reduce the risk of muscle soreness.

Training for a half marathon may feel like a battle sometimes, so by doing a gentle stretching routine every day, you will be giving your body that added TLC.

Foam rolling is also a great way to stay strong and healthy as a runner.

Related: What do I need on race day? The ultimate running race day checklist

4 tips for half marathon training

Before you start your week by week plan, here are some tips for half marathon training:

#1 Warm up

A warm up is essential before any run, especially if you’re expecting to run at a challenging pace in a speed training session or pace run.

Aim to include a light jog along with some dynamic stretches. You may also want to include some running drills in your warm up if you want to improve your running form.

#2 Run slow

Your easy runs and long runs (which make up 80% of the training plan) should be run at a comfortable, steady pace.

Ideally, they should be run at a pace that is 30-90 seconds slower than your half marathon race pace.

It is essential you stick to this pace during your training plan to avoid burnout, injury and overtraining.

#3 Take walking breaks

Whilst the training plan does not prescribe walking breaks, this doesn’t mean you cannot take them.

The key to any training plan is to listen to your body – if you feel a niggle or pain then take that as a sign to slow down or stop running completely.

Training for a half marathon can be gruelling, so make sure you take each week as it comes and don’t be tempted to skip rest days.

#4 Fuel your body

Over the course of the 12 weeks, your body will go through a lot, so it’s important you fuel your body in the right way and stay hydrated.

Aim to consume a good mixture of carbohydrates, protein and fats in your diet. Carb loading is also a well-known race strategy performed by many runners before race day.

Related: First half marathon tips

intermediate half marathon training plan

Intermediate half marathon training plan: Week by week plan

Week 1:

  • Monday: 30 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 3 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 5 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 3 mile easy run
  • Sunday: 5 mile long run

Week 2:

  • Monday: 30 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 3 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 30 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 3 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 6 mile long run

Week 3:

  • Monday: 40 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 3.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 6 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 5k race

Week 4:

  • Monday: 40 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 3.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 35 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 3 mile easy run
  • Sunday: 7 mile long run

Week 5:

  • Monday: 40 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 4 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 7 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 3 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 8 mile long run

Week 6:

  • Monday: 50 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 4 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 40 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 10k race

Week 7:

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 4.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 8 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 4 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 9 mile long run

Week 8:

  • Monday: 50 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 4.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 40 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 5 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 10 mile long run

Week 9:

  • Monday: 60 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 9 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 15k race

Week 10:

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 45 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 5 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 11 mile long run

Week 11:

  • Monday: 60 minute cross training or strength training
  • Tuesday: 5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 10 x 400m intervals at your 5k pace
  • Thursday: 3 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 3 mile pace run
  • Sunday: 12 mile long run

Week 12:

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 4 mile easy run
  • Wednesday: 30 minute tempo run
  • Thursday: 2 mile easy run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: Race day!

Half marathon training plan PDF

Share