Top 10 Half Marathon Training Plan

Rate this post

Whether you’re only just beginning to run or find yourself frequently crossing the finish line, all runners know that the key to running a marathon safely and to the best of their ability is to train properly beforehand. Running 21.1km for the first time or even for the fifth time can seem pretty daunting, and we all know there are a lot of complicated and hard to understand training plans out there. For this article, I have researched and dissected the best, and most straightforward, half-marathon training plans and narrowed them down to a ‘Top 10’ – so that you don’t have to.

Jenny Hadfield’s Half Marathon Training Plan by

Jenny Hadfield breaks down the training for a half marathon into beginners and advanced level running, allowing you to choose from a walk/run level all the way to an intermediate running level. What I really like about Jenny’s style is that she allows you to incorporate other activities you enjoy into your program, such as cycling, yoga or swimming. For some, constantly running may feel boring or tiresome at times, so Jenny’s way of allowing you to engage in other activities will help keep you fresh and motivated while training for a half marathon. Each plan shows the level of running it’s suitable for. It’s free, it’s straightforward and it will get even the laziest couch potato running their first half marathon in no time.

Find the training plan(s) here.

Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan by Women’s Running Magazine

The ultimate ‘lazy girl’s’ guide to running a half marathon – this training plan keeps things light hearted and fun. It knows you don’t really want to run a half marathon, that you’re only here because you made a bet with your boss who thought you couldn’t do it, or that you’ve never really ran further than when trying to catch the bus. Even so, it provides you with a supportive 14 week training plan, with a useful training key which explains the type of runs that the schedule asks you to do. It is very effective and straightforward and the schedule has a simple and easy to read layout. If the thought of running half marathon currently feels like nothing more than an impossible dream, then this is the training plan for you.

Find the training plan here.

Step-By-Step Half-Marathon Training Shedule for First Time Runners by

SHAPE have created the ultimate beginners guide to running your first half marathon. Running coach Brendan Cournane, who has completed marathons in all 50 states, gives you the choice between two plans along with his professional advice. The article is upbeat and positive and just reading it makes you want to put on your running shoes. Like most running plans it provides you with a detailed key to help you understand the different types of runs, and really helps you ease into the world of running if you’re new to this.

Find the training plan(s) here.

Finish A Race by

The training plans on provide you with the option to choose a start date and then choose an 8 week, 12 week or 18 week program. It is tailored to specific famous half marathon tracks, like the San Francisco half marathon, and has been put together by The San Francisco Marathon’s RUN365 official training programme. It comes with a monthly or weekly calendar and each day is broken down into how long you should run for and at what pace (not including warm up or cool down). It combines distances and timed runs with cross training and track/interval training. Again, it is extremely straight forward and simple to use and easy to tailor into your daily schedule.

Find the training plan here.

Training Plan Finders by Runner’s World

The ultimate platform to find a strong variety of training plans. This section of Runner’s World has over twenty training plans available for half marathons, ranging from first-timers to advanced, and also offers ‘special edition’ training plans. The difficulty and endurance levels vary per plan, and the length of the plans are between 10 to 12 weeks. You can also choose how many miles you want to run per week. This plan finder is ideal for runners on any level as you can almost custom tailor your plan to fit your fitness level and lifestyle. There really is no excuse now – it doesn’t matter if you’re a first timer or frequent runner, this website is the one for you!

Find the training plan(s) here.

Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training – £15.74 on

Reviewers have quoted this book as ‘inspiring’. Contributing editor of the US edition of Runner’s World Hal Higdon brings you the ultimate guide to running a half marathon. One reader said that the book comes across as ‘comforting with a conversational tone’, making the process of running a half marathon appear less daunting. The book contains everything from where to begin, avoiding injury, tracking progress to pacing, staying on course and improving your running. It is suitable for both beginners and veteran runners and even includes a walking plan. Paying for a legitimate training plan instead of going for a free one will promise strong results and an increase in your fitness level.

Buy Hal Higdon’s book here.

Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon (And Half Marathons) –  £14.18 on

This book is certainly more aimed at frequent runners than beginners, but Runner’s World hits the nail on the head again with their Big Book of Marathon (And Half Marathons). Not only does it include the core essentials of marathon training, but it also talks about the essential nutritional intake and meal plans for when preparing for a marathon. In this book, readers share their personal stories and testimonies and has been quoted as ‘the ultimate tool kit’ for marathon runners.

Buy the book here.

Meal Plans for Runners by BBC Good Food

It’s not just the running and the exercise that’s important, but it’s also the food you are putting in your body while you’re training for a half marathon. While you’re training you will be burning a lot of calories that need to be replaced by healthy, nutritious food that will fuel your body to run again the next day. BBC Good Food not only provides you with delicious and healthy recipes, but also guides you with what to eat on your rest days, normal training days and high intensity training days. It gives you an example training plan associated with an example diet, and guides you with what to eat before, during and after running.

Find the meal plans and nutrition guide here.

Half Marathon Training Plans by

Bupa has designed a clear, straight forward and effective half marathon training plan for both beginners and intermediate runners. For those of you who are literally just starting to run it also includes a ‘walk to run’ 5k plan that will ease you into training for the 21.1km half marathon. It provides you with a key to understand your running schedule and also provides you with effort levels, effort ratings and a description of each activity. It really couldn’t be easier – this is by far the most simple half marathon training plan I have come across and thus makes it even more accessible for those who find the process of starting to train for marathon daunting.

Find the training plan here.

The 12 Week Half Marathon Training Plan by

This training plan is ideal for beginners and gives you a set time frame to get ready for your first half marathon, and breaks the difficult yet achievable 21.1km goal down into 12 weeks and three phases – the foundational phase, the specific phase and the taper phase. It also gives you a free downloadable schedule with a breakdown of how far you should run each day and when to take a rest day. Each phase gives an in depth work out and running schedule fit that develops as your level of fitness and endurance increases. For example, the foundational phase is packed with key workouts and interval running and designed to slowly increase your weekly mileage. It then guides you like this all the way through to the taper phase, where it provides you with a pre-race workout. This particular training plan is easy to digest and packed full of helpful advice, tricks and tips. If the thought of running a half marathon for the first time seems daunting then this training plan is perfect for you – it’s easy to work out and apply to your daily schedule. It also provides you with options throughout your training schedule, so that you can take an optional rest day if you’re not feeling well.

Find the training plan here.

So there you have it, there’s really no excuse now. I don’t know about you, but reading about all these training plans has certainly inspired me to go and buy a new pair of running shoes and sign up for my first half marathon. What are you waiting for?

Ashley Banks

Ashley Banks