Whether it's your first time in a racing bib or you just need a little refresher on those 10-miler training runs, we've got a half-marathon training schedule that will get you across the finish line. Join the ranks: The half marathon currently has the highest percentage of women of any U.S. road distance—57 percent of competitors are now female (in 1985, just 20 percent of competitors were!). If it seems like everyone and her sister is doing a half marathon, there’s a reason: between 2008 and 2009, the number of half marathon finishers grew 24 percent, to more than 1.1 million.
So SHAPE asked running coach Brendan Cournane to give us two plans. Follow his expert advice (he's completed marathons in all 50 states!), get started on this half-marathon training plan, and you'll be feeling confident at the start and ready to finish strong come race day. Try it: 13.1 will look great on you!
If you're new to running and/or haven't been working out regularly in the last six months, click here for a Half-Marathon Training Schedule for First-Timers.
If you've been running three or so miles three times a week, this free plan is for you. In 12 weeks, you'll safely increase your mileage so you can handle the whole 13.1. Plus, you get two days of rest and two days of cross training every week.
How to Read the Workout Key
Cross train: Not a weight-bearing activity. Examples are biking, swimming, rowing, or elliptical trainer. You want to maintain and build on your aerobic fitness, while also giving your body a rest from the wear and tear of running.
Easy run: This is a recovery run, so if you're training with a heart rate monitor, stay in the 65 to 70 percent zone.
Long: This is a long, slow distance run, also known as a 'fat burning run'; keep a pace that makes it easy to maintain a conversation.
(FYI: The workouts for running on Mondays and Wednesdays are time based, so the distance listed is the max to run within that time frame. For example, under Monday in Week 1, you would run for either 30 minutes or 3 miles, whichever comes first.)