Women's Running

Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan!

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Running a half marathon seemed like a fun idea when your friend talked you into it a few months ago. But now that it’s time to hit the road, you may be wondering what you got yourself into. Don’t worry. Getting to that start line may be daunting, but it’s not as tough as it seems.

If you’ve got the will (and 14 weeks!), we’ve got the way. Whether you’re new to running or you’re coming back from an extended break, our half-marathon program will safely ease you into training and get you race-ready a few short months.

Get Moving!

This training plan requires no more than four days of running or walking per week. Try to stay on track and avoid big increases in your weekly mileage so you don’t get injured or discouraged. Your first few weeks will include run/walk workouts to safely and comfortably build your endurance. By Week 4, you can make the switch from run/walk to run. If you feel like you’re not ready, continue to take walking breaks. It’s completely fine to use a run/walk strategy throughout your entire training and even on race day. Your goal should be to finish the race—regardless of what it takes to get there.

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TRAINING KEY

Easy Runs (ER): Perform these runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. If you find yourself huffing and puffing, slow down.

Run/Walk (R/W): Alternate between running and walking. Perform your walk intervals at a brisk pace, so it’s not too difficult to transition back to running. Try alternating between one minute of walking and one minute of running. If this feels too easy, increase the amount of time you run. If it’s too difficult, walk for longer. Once you find a ratio that works best for you, gradually increase your running intervals and decrease your walking intervals each week.

Walks (W): You’ll walk some of your miles so you can safely build your fitness, but keep a brisk pace.

Tempo Runs (TR): Tempo runs build your confidence and improve your speed. They should be performed at a “comfortably hard” pace—faster than your easy runs, but not so tough so that you’re breathing heavily. Start your temp runs with a warm-up mile of easy running and finish with a relaxed cool-down mile.

Cross Training (XT): Incorporate one or two days of non-impact cross-training, such as cycling, elliptical, swimming and yoga into your routine to build your fitness and prevent injuries.

Strength Training (ST): Perform 20 minutes of lower body and core strengthening exercises (pushups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks, etc.).

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14-WEEK PLAN

Week 1:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: R/W 2 miles
Wednesday:  XT 30 min
Thursday: R/W 2 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: R/W 3 miles
Sunday: W 2 miles

Week 2:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: R/W 3 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 30 min
Thursday: R/W 2 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: R/W 3 miles
Sunday: W 2 miles

Week 3:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: R/W 3 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 30 min
Thursday: R/W 2 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: R/W 3 miles
Sunday: W 2 miles

Week 4:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 2 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 30 min
Thursday: ER 3 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 4 miles
Sunday: W 3 miles

Related Article: 5 Essential Before and After Run Stretches

Week 5:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 3 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: ER 3 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 5 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 6:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 3 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: ER 3 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 6 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 7:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: ER 4 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 7 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 8:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: TR 4 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 8 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

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Week 9:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 45 min
Thursday: TR 4 miles
Friday:  XT 30 min or Rest
Saturday: ER 9 miles
Sunday: R/W 4 miles

Week 10:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: TR 4 miles
Friday:  XT 30 min or Rest
Saturday: ER 10 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 11:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 min
Thursday: TR 4 miles
Friday:  XT 30 min or Rest
Saturday: ER 10 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 12:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 minutes
Thursday: TR 4 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 11 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 13:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 40 minutes
Thursday: ER 4 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 6 miles
Sunday: R/W 3 miles

Week 14:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles
Wednesday:  Rest
Thursday: ER 3 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 2 miles
Sunday: Half marathon!

W = Walk at a brisk pace
ER = Run at an easy, conversational pace
R/W = Easy run with walk intervals
TR = Tempo run
XT= Cross train
ST= Strength train

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