Free Half Marathon Plan for beginners

I just want to finish this thing!

If you’re a first timer, second attempter or a veteran and your objective is just to finish a half marathon then this is your plan. The purpose here is to establish a base of running and not to worry about incorporating any speed work. Also note that I only call for 4 days of running per week with Sunday – Monday being the only back to back running days. Throughout the years I’ve seen runners go through pretty much every training related injury and have decided that a beginner has no business running more than four times per week. If you cannot have a day off and desperately feel the need to do more than work in a different type of exercise. But I’d still rather you not.

If you happen to miss a workout I suggest forgetting that run and keeping to the schedule rather than trying to squeeze it in. If you know ahead of time that some days need to be adjusted then just try not to have more than one back to back if possible.

Q: How hard should I be doing these runs?

A: Not at all, they should be easy! Find you a buddy if possible so you can chat and keep yourself from letting it rip. If y’all are breathing too hard and having short conversations then slow it down. Discuss the meaning of life or something that forces you to talk more. Your legs aren’t used to this beating and you’ll pay for it at some point during the program – lets not get injured here. The intermediate plan will introduce some speed and pace work but you need some seasoned legs before worrying about that.

Also, the Monday runs follow a long Sunday run so make these a super easy recovery day. I suggest 20-30 seconds per mile slower than the previous day’s pace.

Q: Whats this cross training mumbo jumbo? Do I need to sign up for Crossfit?

This is a coachy way of saying do something else other than sitting around eating tater chips. My favorite cross training activities are biking, followed by hiking, then about 200 other things before we get to swimming. I’ve done enough of that for a lifetime. The idea here is just 30-60 minutes of light intensity cardio which shouldn’t interfere with your runs. If you’re not a cyclist then this isn’t the time to pick up the sport cause you’ll kill those wimpy quads of yours and mess up your entire marathon program. So stick to something you know even if it’s just going for a walk.

Q: What do I do on rest days?

Chill. You can use these days to do some light stretching or foam rolling to keep from getting injured. Please try to stay off the beer and ice cream so we don’t lose all we’ve worked for.

Good luck and let me know how it goes! You’re gonna do awesome!

Happy running. Here’s the Excel version if you’d prefer.