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.

Find a Walker-Friendly Half-Marathon and Set the Date

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.

Build Your Base Mileage First

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.

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.

Prerequisites for the Half-Marathon Mileage-Building Schedule

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.

Weekly Schedule for Half-Marathon Walk Training

  • 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 you should take a day off between each walking day, or take just an easy walk on an "off" day.
  • Your longest training day should be three weeks before the half-marathon, then you begin to taper mileage. Tapering gives your body time to fully develop new muscle and have full energy stores for your half marathon.
  • If you are already walking longer walks, you can jump into the schedule at the point that matches your long mileage day.

Half Marathon Training Chart - Miles

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

Off3Off3Off3

14

3

6Off

3

Off

3

Off

3

15

4

7Off3Off3Off417

5

7Off3Off

4

Off

4

18

6

7

Off

4

Off

4

Off

4

19

7

8

Off4Off4Off

4

20

89Off4Off4Off

4

21

9

10Off4Off4Off422

10

8Off4Off4Off420

11

12Off4Off4Off424

12

8Off4Off

4

Off

4

20

13

14Off

4

Off

4

Off

4

26
146Off

4

Off

4

Off

4

18
156Off4Off4Off

4

18
1613.1 miles (race day)

Time of Day for Training

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 morning but the race is in the afternoon or evening.

Train With Your Shoes and Gear

In the final six weeks leading up to your half-marathon, 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.

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