Half Marathon Training for Beginners

Half marathon training for beginners sounds a little like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

Fear not! We’re here to break it down for you, take away the doubt, and turn those vague hopes into a full-proof plan with 3 ESSENTIAL tips.

Tip #1: Half Marathon training for beginners should include a “Pre-Training” Plan

Half Marathon Training for Beginners- Pre-Training Plan

Don’t rush the process!

If this is your first time taking a shot at a Half Marathon training plan, pick a race that’s 4 to 6 months down the road. If you’re going to commit to this, you want to do it CORRECTLY.

This means taking 1 month before your official 12-16 week training plan begins to work out the kinks in your fitness baseline, running technique, and of course your general role as an athlete.

Consider this your “Pre-Training” training plan:

  • Commit to running 4 days/week, keeping the mileage to 3-5 miles per day
  • Take multiple pairs of running shoes for a spin, before choosing a couple of pairs to rotate through
  • Use the small aches and pains that come up along the way to serve you as indicators of weakness, poor habits in your form, and areas to focus your strength work on

Efficiency in your running form comes from better understanding the finer details and how they work together.

Tip #2: Half Marathon training plans should be adjusted to fit you, the runner!

Half Marathon Training for Beginners- Adjust the Plan

Don’t follow a plan. Let a plan follow you.

There are thousands of “cookie cutter” Half Marathon training plans out there for you to use. Some great coaches, athletes, and runners have taken the time to map out a finite, week-by-week, mile-by-mile plan for you to use to reach that finish line.

You and 1,000,000 of your fellow runners, that is.

These plans were maybe tailored to one specific person at the point of their creation, but have since been copied & pasted onto people of all shapes & sizes, procuring every injury and running habit you could possibly think of.

Success in Half Marathon Training for beginners comes from knowing how to listen to your body.

Maybe the plan says to run hills on Wednesday.

The problem with that PDF file or page in the book is that it can’t hear you. It can’t hear that your quads are crazy tight that day, or that your knees feel super stiff and achy after your tempo run from the day before.


Listen to your body and rearrange things accordingly. By all means, get the work in, but NOT at the expense of an early injury or really crappy running form.

Tip #3: Your Half Marathon training plan is only as good as the strength training you are using to support it

Half Marathon Training for Beginners- Push-up

Strength train twice a week!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that getting better at running can only come from running more. Running more can’t happen if your body can’t support you for it.

Strength training just twice a week, for 20-30 minutes per day is all you need to gain access to a full range of motion and stable control in all of the joints being impacted by those miles- i.e. hips, ankles, knees, you name it. Oh, and remember those little problem areas you discovered during your “Pre-Training” month? Here’s your chance to fix, fix, fix!

Good stuff to incorporate into your strength days:

  • Push-ups. A simple and effective way to find your midline, access your glutes, stabilize the shoulders…the list goes on.
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • And for some creative combinations of the list above, check out the Strength Training Playlist on our YouTube Channel 🙂

The best part…you don’t need even need a gym for most of this stuff!

Half Marathon training for beginners comes down to starting slow, not being afraid to adjust the plan and most importantly spending the time to actively support those miles with strength work.

We believe in you!

Looking for a place to put these tips to use? Check out our comprehensive Half Marathon Training Guide. Then…get after it!