Last Updated: December 18th, 2020
Zero to Half-marathon? Ambitious dream.
Just one question for you…
Have you ever run in your life?
Then this plan is perfect for you…
One thing I think you will agree with me, there are far more qualified people than me on the net to provide you with a half marathon plan.
Take a look around the internet and you will find zillions of half marathon plan for beginners.
Then how is this perfect, or even different?
Well, I was thinking that too…
Firstly, let me tell you, all those plans are great if you want to try out…
But the only thing I found is, if a person has never run in life and idealizes couch potato, then even those starting plans can be intimidating.
Take a look around. Some plans say to run 1.5 miles on your first day of the run…
Will you ever be able to do that?
So, I thought of an easier way to ease into a half marathon training plan.
Sure, it takes a couple of more weeks to finish, but you will be able to follow the plan and get to the finish line…well that is our motto anyway.
Why will you love this 24-week Half-Marathon training plan?
- It is a very basic plan aimed towards runners who have never run in their lives. This is similar to a program I followed when I wanted to run a half-marathon.
- This is a complete fitness routine and not just a running plan. It has built-in cross-training and strength training days along with rest days.
- You will only be running for 3 days a week, which means it will not be so rigorous on your body and anyone can follow it. In total the short runs will take a max of 90 mins and long runs between 1.5 to 3 hours. Although the time will vary depending on your speed. However, the time commitment is not huge and anyone can carve out that much of time in a week.
- This is a 24-week plan and any couch potato (pardon the expression) can follow it. This means you will be training for 6 months and will progressively build your stamina without burning out.
- Gradual but steady progress will keep you motivated and you will be less frustrated with the whole process and may not quit.
- You will be gradually increasing your weekly mileage by upwards of 10% and also strengthing your body for the upcoming challenges. You will also taper back every couple of weeks to prevent injuries.
- You will focus on finishing the mile rather than the time. This way you will actually be running the 13.1 miles rather than 7 or 8 miles as your time is up. For beginners, this is a better approach and you will see an immediate response.
- This plan will help you to stick onto your training which in turn will develop your mental toughness.
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Important tips and tricks for half-marathon training for beginners
Let me give you a fair warning, running a half marathon is a tough task for a new runner, so don’t rush yourself.
Your goal is to finish the race not to set a PR – that will come later.
So, stick to these below tips and have a blast:
- You should not go out too hard too fast. When you are running, you should maintain a conversational pace. This means you should be able to talk comfortably with the person next to you. You may increase the pace a little bit, but you should not do it at the start.
- Once you have gone through the short runs at a conversational pace, a couple of times, try to run them a bit faster. This additional speed will help you to build your endurance.
- The goal for your longer runs is to finish and for this one, the conversational pace is just fine. Don’t push yourself too much on the speed aspect here. You may get injured or give up completely.
- If you cannot run a distance completely, you can use the walk/run approach. You can take this approach on your race day also. Many experienced runners also do this.
- If you can run a mile around 12-15 min, pat yourself. You have done a fabulous job.
How to follow the half-marathon training plan?
The first thing you should aim for is consistency. If you are a new runner, this will be a challenge. So, focus on consistently going for the run on the predefined days. Even if you are not able to follow the plan to the ‘T’, if you are consistent, you will be able to make it up later.
Don’t run on consecutive days. I mean it. If you do that, your chance of injury becomes even more. So, spread your run throughout the week. If you follow the below plan then this will not be a problem.
Do not skip the long runs. They are in your schedule for a reason. If you skip them, you will not be able to run the 13.1 miles on the race day.
If you feel any kind of sharp pain while following the training or anytime during the run, immediately stop. You may have injured yourself…continuing this way will only worsen your condition.
If you have already been running for some time, or you have already run 5K or 3 miles, jump ahead in the schedule accordingly.
You must do warm-up and cooldown before and after the run. Again, this way you will be able to reduce chances of injury. To properly warm-up, start by 5-10 min of brisk walking and end your run in the same way, by brisk walking for 5-10 min.
Cross-training is part of your training. You should include them in your schedule. Skip it and your body will start crying in the middle of your training.
Why is cross-training important for half-marathon runners?
Well not only for half marathoners…cross-training is important for any runner.
However, we, as usual, don’t want to do it. Some think it’s unnecessary and some are just plain lazy.
Here is why you should cross-train for half-marathon.
It works on different groups of muscles than running.
They help you to strengthen your different joints so that you can become a more efficient runner.
Overall, they reduce the risk of injuries.
How to include cross-training into running?
You can fit in any kind of cross-training into the days you are not running.
Examples of cross-training:
- Elliptical training
- Riding a Bike
In short any activities other than running.
You may also use some form of strengthening exercises into your routine. Here also Yoga, Martial arts, Bodyweight exercises will be great.