From Your Couch to a Half Marathon: A Training Plan That Works

So, you’ve decided to run your first half marathon. Or maybe you’re just considering it as part of your health and fitness goals. If you’re currently pretty sedentary, the idea of getting from the couch to a half marathon and crossing the finish line can sound overwhelming. 

But–it doesn’t have to be. You simply need to dedicate time to your goal, keep yourself motivated, and commit to a half marathon training plan. At The Run Experience, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a training schedule that will take you from the couch to your half marathon starting line on race day. 

From Your Couch to a Half Marathon: A Training Plan That Works

Running a half marathon requires a little pre-work if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle. You don’t want to spring into a long-distance, high mileage training program right away.  It’s best to first get a running base under your belt. Consider running a couple of 5ks or 10ks first. A great introduction to running when you’re brand new is taking our 30 Day Challenge with our expert running coaches. 

How Long Will My Training Program Take? 

As a first-timer, plan for three to six months of training from start to finish. The reason for the wide range is how physically fit you currently are.

When you’re starting from scratch, start your build-up with our 30 Day Challenge and incorporate some strength training and mobility exercises to get you used to running and reduce your risk of injury.  In the 30 Day Challenge, you’ll learn:

  • Proper running technique and form with key exercises to optimize the way you run
  • How to build lean running strength–without the need for a gym, so you can run faster and cruise up hills
  • Injury prevention–everything you need to know about solving your body’s tight areas, improve your range of motion, and keep you running consistently

Additionally, as a beginner runner, you’ll need to learn how to listen to your body. Some aches and pains are expected, but if you are having nagging pain that doesn’t go away or pain that is affecting your running form, take action. Plan rest days and put low-impact cross-training into your half marathon training schedule. To learn more about injury prevention, check out our Injury Prevention YouTube Page, chock full of informative videos: 

Start Where You’re Comfortable 

Let’s say you’re currently spending a lot of time on the couch, but you’ve been an avid runner in the past. If that’s the case, you might be comfortable getting in 15 miles a week over four or so days of running. However, if you have little or no experience with running, take it slow. 

You could start with a run/walk schedule where you jog for a few minutes and walk for a minute or two. You’ll be surprised how quickly your walk time shortens and your run time increases as your body adapts. And, we’ve said it before and will say it again–listen to your body! 

woman runner stretching

Let’s check out three stellar half marathon workouts from Coach Nate: 

Incorporate Strength and Mobility Work 

man doing a plank

It’s so critical to mention that training for a half marathon isn’t just about getting the miles in all at the same pace. In order to facilitate strong muscles and prevent injury, you need to incorporate specific quality workouts such as tempo runs, hill workouts, and drills that focus on proper running form. 

If you are worried about putting too many miles on your legs, don’t fret. Think like you’re training for a triathlon. If you’re running three days a week or less, you can do pool workouts, rowing, elliptical, and biking. This will increase your cardiovascular fitness without all the pounding on the pavement or trials, but still be half marathon ready! 

Learn more about aqua jogging in the pool to reap the benefits of running without pounding your legs:

You’ll also benefit from workouts that don’t include running at all to increase flexibility and build muscle. Think pilates, yoga, and gym sessions to put it all together. Learn more about a great strength training routine in this video: 

Training tip: Consider getting a training buddy or running instructor who has experience with the half marathon. They can help you make sure you’re motivated and primed to confidently toe the start line on race day! 

The Run Experience Half Marathon Training Program 

Once you’ve committed to running a half marathon and picked up your new running shoes, it’s time to sign up for a race. Before you pick a half marathon training program, spend one to three months developing a good athletic base, as outlined above. 

Once you’re up to 15 to 20 miles a week, pick a race that’s at least eight weeks from the time you start your training. Once you’ve signed up, it’s time to get started with a half marathon plan. 

There is no shortage of half marathon training programs to choose from, but we strongly believe we at The Run Experience have a first-class training program for half marathoners. It will get you to the finish line with the results you want. Here are just a few of the things you’ll get when you sign up for our half marathon training program.:

  • A scaleable running approach with LIVE coaching support.
  • Four training runs per week (pace and tempo specific), two cross-training days, and one mobility/recovery day.
  • A giant focus on dynamic warm ups and cool downs to target mobility, form, and injury prevention. 
  •  In-depth video resources on strength training, injury prevention exercises (a favorite of our members), run technique and even breathing.
  • Your subscription to the Training Club that gives you access not only to the Half Marathon Program, but also all our other programs, such as our Perfect Running Form program, Run Fitness Formula, Marathon Program, Injury Prevention Series, and Running Strength Program that can supplement your training.

Our Half Marathon Program is a comprehensive program and so it costs money–but it will give you the results you want with ample support along the way. 

We can’t provide this level of coaching and support and training without charging, so you get what you pay for. Who knows, after enjoying this program, you might decide to advance to our full marathon training plan! 

Ready to get started on your journey towards the half marathon? Check out our array of training programs and don’t forget to download our new mobile app to gain access to coaching advice, daily video workouts, injury prevention tips, and more!