How Long Does It Take to Train for a Half Marathon?

Some runners set their sights on a half marathon race but aren't sure if they have enough time to get ready for it. For many people, even beginner runners, three months of training should be enough time to be ready for a half marathon. But the time required to train for a half really depends on your current fitness level, your running experience, and your goals for the race.

Experienced runners who have already run a half marathon may be able to get race-ready in as little as 6 weeks.

If they're hoping to beat a personal record, they may need a few more weeks of serious training.

When it comes to long distance running, you can't cram a lot of training into a short period of time and expect to be ready. If you've never done a half marathon before, you should plan to train anywhere from 12 to 14 weeks, depending on your starting point. Taking a safe, gradual approach will avoid running injuries and avoid getting burned out.

If you've been running or run/walking for a few months and you've already tried a shorter race distance, such as a 5K, you're probably ready to start training for a half marathon.

What's the Time Commitment?

Here's an estimate of the time commitment to expect with half-marathon training, based on your starting point:

Beginner Runners:

If you've never run a half marathon and you're currently running under 10 miles each week, expect to spend 12 to 14 weeks preparing for your half marathon.

You should plan on running at least three times a week in the beginning, and at least four times a week as your training progresses.

You'll also want to incorporate one to two days of cross-training to help build your fitness and boost your injury resistance. In terms of the weekly time commitment, the highest mileage weeks of your training will be three, four, and five weeks before your race.

During the final two weeks before the half marathon, you'll start dialing your mileage down during your tapering phase.

Here are some half marathon schedules for beginner runners:

Run/Walk Half Marathon Training Schedule: Follow this 12-week half marathon training schedule and you’ll be able to run/walk to the finish line of your half marathon. You should have a base mileage of about 8-10 miles per week to begin this training program.

Beginner Half Marathon Training Schedule: This 12-week schedule is for a beginner half-marathoner whose goal is to finish the half marathon. You should have a base mileage of 8-10 miles per week to start this training schedule.

Advanced Beginner Half Marathon Training Schedule: If the beginner schedule seems too easy for you, you may want to try this advanced beginner program. It's geared toward runners who can run up to 4 miles and are currently running 4-5 days a week.

Intermediate and Advanced Runners:

If you have a little more running experience and feel like you're past the beginner stage, you could be ready for a half marathon in anywhere from 6-10 weeks. Plan to run at least 4-5 days a week, with 1-2 days of cross-training, such as cycling or swimming.

You can start after Week 1 of these programs if you already have the base mileage established.

Three Days a Week Half Marathon Schedule: If you don't have a lot of time to train, this 16-week half marathon training plan may be for you. It's based on three targeted runs per week: a tempo run, an interval run, and a long run.

Intermediate Half Marathon Training Schedule: This 12-week half-marathon training program is geared toward intermediate runners who are already running about 30 to 60 minutes, about 4-5 times a week.

Advanced Half Marathon Training Schedule: This 12-week half-marathon training program is geared toward experienced runners who can already run up to eight miles comfortably.

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