A 12 week training programme for those new to half marathon distance

Before starting any training for running the 13.1mile half marathon distance it is useful to have had recent experience of running and/or regular exercise. You should be regularly running approximately 10 to 15 miles per week however the lead time into a 12 week programme can incorporate a more gradual approach around 3-4 weeks prior to embarking on the specific 12 week half marathon training schedule. Therefore, if new to running, a 15-16 week schedule is recommended. If you are new to running, irrespective of your age or previous exercise experience, then consulting your doctor prior to engaging in any training schedule is strongly advised.

There are several considerations to designing and implementing a training plan for an event of this nature but the key aspects are listed below:-

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 off 3 miles 3 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 4 miles
Week 2 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 4 miles
Week 3 off 3 miles 4 miles 3 miles off 3 miles 5 miles
Week 4 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 4 miles 6 miles
Week 5 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 7 miles
Week 6 off 4 miles 4 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 8 miles
Week 7 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 9 miles
Week 8 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 10 miles
Week 9 off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 11 miles
Week 10 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 4 miles 12 miles
Week 11 off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles off 3 miles 6 miles
Week 12 off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles off 2 miles 13.1 miles! RACE DAY

Rest Days

Allowing your body, joints and muscles to recover is imperative not only in helping to reduce injury risk but also in helping the athlete to maximise running performance on the Race Day. Research suggests that taking 2 days off per week, at regular but staggered intervals, helps to address this requirement and optimizes performance. The training schedule above incorporates a 2 day and 3 day work rest ratio during week days, however individuals can adjust this to allow for rest days during the weekend.

L Doggart

Department of Sport

University of St Mark and St John

Jan 2017