16-Week Half-Marathon Walk Training Schedule

Half Marathon Finishers
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The 13.1-mile or 21-kilometer half-marathon distance is a good challenge for walkers and is very popular with those who do a run/walk technique. Training for a half-marathon walk should be done by steadily building up your walking distance over a period of three to four months. Here is a training schedule to use to get ready to go the distance.

Choose a Half-Marathon to Walk

Your first step is to find a walker-friendly half-marathon where you will be well-supported at a slower pace than that of the runners. Look for one that will take place four months or more in the future so you can begin training well in advance.

The half-marathon should have a cutoff time of over 3.5 hours in order to be walkable. As you progress through your training, you will have a better idea of what your finish time will be and you will be able to use methods to predict your finish time. Give this pace calculator a try to see what your race pace and finish time could be.

Prerequisites for Training

If you are a beginner, or you've been inactive for a couple of months (such as over the winter), you should start by building up your base mileage to the point where you can walk 4 miles comfortably every-other day. If you aren't already walking 4 miles comfortably, you'll need to add a few more weeks to the schedule so you are at that level before you begin half-marathon training.

Before you start this schedule, you need to meet these requirements:

  • You must be able to walk comfortably for 4 miles on your long day and for 3 miles three days a week.
  • You must be able to commit to one long day per week, from 2 to 5 hours.

Half-Marathon Training Schedule

This half-marathon training schedule steadily increases the long distance walk each week. This longer walk builds endurance and the blood supply and energy systems for your muscles.

You also need a long distance walk each week to toughen your feet to prevent blisters and to give you experience in practicing proper hydration and energy snacking during a long walk. It will also develop the mental stamina you will need for an endurance walk.

Weekly Walking Mileage
Week Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat. Week Total
1 4 miles Off 3 miles Off 3 miles Off 3 miles 13 miles
2 5 Off 3 Off 3 Off 3 14
3 6 Off 3 Off 3 Off 3 15
4 7 Off 3 Off 3 Off 4 17
5 7 Off 3 Off 4 Off 4 18
6 7 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 19
7 8 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 20
8 9 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 21
9 6 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 18
10 8 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 20
11 12 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 24
12 8 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 20
13 14 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 26
14 6 Off 4 Off 4 Off 4 18
15 6 Off 3 Off 3 Off 3 15
16 Race Day!
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: walk 3 to 4 miles. You can mix up the kind of walk you enjoy to build both speed and endurance on these walks. Use suggested walking workouts for these purposes.
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Days off. You can enjoy easy strolls or other fitness activities.
  • Sunday: Mileage building day with a long slow distance walk. This is a key part of the training plan as you will be giving your body the distance challenge it needs.
  • You may vary the exact days of the week you do each type of workout, but make sure you allow rest days by either taking a day off or doing an easy walk.
  • Your longest training day should be two weeks before the half-marathon, then you begin to taper mileage. Tapering gives your body time to fully rest and recover from training, get stronger, and rebuild energy stores so you are at your best on race day.
  • If you are already walking longer walks, you can jump into the schedule at the point that matches your long mileage day.

Training Tips

You should also try to walk the long training day at the time of day the half-marathon race will be held. This way, you are used to how your body feels and how you need to eat and drink in preparation for the starting time. It will make a big difference if you always train in the afternoon or evening but the race is in the morning.

Also, on your long walks, you should wear the shoes, socks, and clothing you plan to wear during the half-marathon. This will show you whether these items perform well at high mileage. Remember the golden rule of "nothing new on race day." Give it all a shakedown during your training and allow enough time to switch to different gear if what you chose is not working well for you.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hoffman MD. Etiological foundation for practical strategies to prevent exercise-related foot blisters. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2016;15(5):330-335. doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000297

  2. Burke LM, Jeukendrup AE, Jones AM, Mooses M. Contemporary nutrition strategies to optimize performance in distance runners and race walkers. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019;29(2):117–129. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2019-0004

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.