How to Train for a Half Marathon in Six Months


At 13.1 miles, the half marathon is no easy feat and not the type of race you can just sign up for and run. It requires a basic level of fitness, as well as some running experience to complete. Most half-marathon training guides offer 3-month programs, but taking 6 months to train can help you build up your strength and endurance and make sure you are fit and ready for the race.

2-Month Preconditioning

  • Build your endurance during the first 8 weeks of training with a walk/run program. Alternate between walking 55 seconds and running 5 seconds for 10 minutes 2 days a week. Slowly increase your time spent running to 45 seconds while decreasing your walk to 15 seconds and increase the duration of your workout to 30 minutes as the weeks progress.

  • Add 2 days of walking to your 2-month preconditioning program. Start with a 15-minute walk, increasing the duration by 2 to 3 minutes at each walk until you are walking for 30 minutes.

  • Include a distance walk/run 1 day a week. Alternate between walking and running for 1 mile the first week of your training program. Increase the length of your walk/run by 1/4 mile each week until you reach your goal of 2.75 miles.

4-Month Half-Marathon Training

  • Plan a distance run twice a week. Start with a goal of 3 miles, increasing 1/2 mile every 2 to 3 weeks until you are comfortably running 5 miles. You should take a day off between your distance runs.

  • Vary your workout by including 2 days of cross-training and 2 days of strength training each week. Cross-training activities include swimming, biking or walking. Push-ups, sit-ups and lifting with free weights or weight machines count as strength-training activities.

  • Schedule a longer distance run once a week. During the first 2 weeks of your half-marathon training, you should try to run 4 miles. Increase your distance by 1 mile every 2 to 3 weeks until you are comfortably running 10 miles.

  • Set aside 1 to 2 days a week for rest. Taking days off allows your muscles time to recover and prevents injury. Ideally, your rest days should be the day before and the day after your longer run.

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