Half Marathon Beginner Run/Walk Training Schedule

Want to know how to train for a marathon? Learn how to get ready for a 21k run through an effective training schedule to get you to your goal.

If fitness is high on your list of priorities, you may be wondering if you are able to run a half-marathon. Having a fitness goal to work towards creates more motivation and encourages you to devise a plan and stick to it.

It’s really important that you consistently train for a marathon, or you will find you’re unable to complete it. So, where do you start? 

Be Prepared 

Getting prepared is the first step to training the mind and body  for a marathon. Why is this important?  Many people underestimate the distance involved in a half-marathon. That little word ‘half’ doesn’t give the full story.

A half-marathon is actually 13.1 miles, which is pretty long when running. Respecting the distance will help you take training seriously and ensure you are fully ready before attempting it.

Running without completing proper training can result in injury, which will then interrupt your running journey. 

As a basic schedule, you should be training for at least 12 weeks. You should also already have been walking/running for a few months and be able to cover around 9 or 10 miles (ca. 16 km) each week.

As a beginner, you should commit to a walk/run schedule to build you up gently. You don’t need to stick to exact days, and it’s crucial you don’t run every day.

Long runs can be reserved for weekends when you have more time. In addition, mixing up the training with some rest periods and cross-training will benefit your body and ensure you have an overall workout that is essential for building strong muscles. 

How Will I Know When I’m Ready ?

Consistent running without stopping is key and when you can do this effectively you will be ready for the big one. Initially, you should concentrate on running for at least 90 minutes.

Ignore the distance to start with. Moreover, even if you struggle to run for 90 minutes at first, you should keep moving so your body adapts to movement without stopping. The aim is to gradually decrease the walking part and increase the running. 

This should feel comfortable and not too strenuous. Once you can complete the long run  you have nailed it. Longer periods of running helps the body to start burning fat as fuel as it stores glycogen. 

By running consistently, you will enable your body to achieve more and more each time. Missing a run occasionally won’t make a massive impact but don’t do it too often as you will undo the work you’ve done.

Having said that, over training can be counterproductive, and you may experience burnout or injury. It’s crucial you listen to your body and if you feel anything uncomfortable that may be a result of running, be sure to take a day or 2 of rest to recover. 

Where Should I Run?

The great thing about running is its accessibility to all. Running anywhere is going to benefit your fitness, however it is useful to run on different terrain, especially if the specific marathon you are training for is a cross country marathon.

Many people start their running journey on a treadmill, which isn’t a fair representation of outside surfaces. At least once a week, run on a different trail and roads to get used to it. 

Schedule

When preparing your training schedule, remember it isn’t set in stone and can be adapted depending on what’s working and what is not.

The following is a sample schedule for a complete beginner if you are already able to run 2 or 3 miles without stopping, then reduce or eliminate the walking part and only focus on running. 

The plan includes cross-training which enables you to mix it up a bit and use different muscle types.

Half maratho

Week 1 

Day 1 – Walk and run at intervals 2/1 1.5-2 miles
Day 2 – Cross training or a rest day 
Day 3 – Run and walk interval. 2/1 2.5 miles 
Day 4 – Cross training 930 mins) or rest 
Day 5 – Rest
Day 6 – Long run (3 miles)2/1 walk/run intervals 
Day 7 – Walk (recovery) 2  – 2.5 miles 

Week 2 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 2/1 (2 miles) 
Day 2 – Rest or cross-training (30 mins) 
Day 3 – Walk and run intervals 2/1(3 miles) 
Day 4 – Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5 –  Rest
Day 6 –  Walk and run intervals 2/1(4 miles, long run) 
Day 7 – Recovery walk ( 2.5-3 miles) 

Week 3 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 2/1 (2.5 miles) 
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 2/1 (3 miles) 
Day 4- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walking 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals, 2/1(5 miles, long run) 
Day 7: Gentle recovery walk (2 miles) 

Week 4 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals  3/1 (2.5 miles) 
Day 2 – Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3 – Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 4 – Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5 – Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6 – Walk and run intervals 3/1 ( 6 miles, long run) 
Day 7 – Gentle recovery walk (2 miles) 

Week 5 

Day 1 – Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 2: Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3: Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles)
Day 4: Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5: Rest orgenetle walk 
Day 6: Walk and run intervals 3/1 (7 miles, long run) 
Day 7: Gentle recovery walk (3 miles) 

Week 6 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (4 miles) 
Day 4-Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (8 miles, long run) 
Day 7- Gentle recovery walk (3 miles)

Week7 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles)
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (4 miles) 
Day 4- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (9 miles, long run) 
Day 7- Gentle recovery walk (3 miles) 

Week 8

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 94 miles)
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 4- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (10 miles, long run) 
Day 7- Gentle recovery walk (3 miles) 

Week 9

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (4 miles) 
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles)
Day 4- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (11 miles, long run) 
Day 7- Gentle recovery walk (3 miles)

Week 10 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (4 miles) 
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 4- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (12 miles, long run)
Day 7- Gentle recovery walk (3 miles) 

Week 11

Day 1- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 2- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles) 
Day 3- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 4- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (3 miles)
Day 5- Rest or gentle walk
Day 6- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (5 miles, long run) 
Day 7- 2.5 miles (recovery walk)

Week 12 

Day 1- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (2 miles) 
Day 2- Cross training or rest (30 mins) 
Day 3- Rest or gentle walk 
Day 4- Walk and run intervals 3/1 (20 minutes) 
Day 5- Rest or gentle walking
Day 6- 20-minute walk before race day. 
Day 7- MARATHON!

If you follow the above schedule, you will be suitably prepared for your first marathon. Be sure to wear good running shoes, hydrate properly and never give up. You’ll be proud of yourself for your great achievement. 

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