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Zero to 5K to Half Marathon Plan

Are you a beginner with big dreams? If you’re just getting started but imagine yourself crossing some serious finish lines, this plan is for you. In less than four months, you’ll be able to finish a half marathon—and run a 5K on the way as well.

To start this plan, you only need to be able to run a few minutes at a time. A background of walking, at least 30 minutes in a stretch, three or more times a week, should be established before starting. If you’re not there yet, take the time to build up beforehand.

The goal is to strengthen endurance in a steady fashion, employing a run/walk method. You’ll slowly increase running minutes while decreasing walking minutes to finish a 5K roughly midway through and then a half marathon at the end of the 14 weeks. Both are raced in a walk/run fashion.

Each runner is encouraged to adapt the plan to her individual fitness level. If a workout seems too aggressive, add some time to the walk portion. And if it feels too easy, cut back on walk minutes and add it to the runs, maybe even eliminating the walk sections for some workouts.

You will be run/walking four times per week. Three of these workouts are measured in minutes, so don’t worry about the distance you cover. Simply repeat the intervals until the time runs up. The fourth, the long run, is listed in miles. This will ensure you cover the distances needed in preparation for your races. The walk/run changes each week and sometimes varies for the long run, so pay attention to those changes. Good luck and have fun!

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