Boulderthon half marathon in Boulder, Colorado
This distance provides a uniquely enjoyable and satisfying race experience—if you’re prepared and race it smart. (Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty)

Run Your First—or Best—Half Marathon with This Comprehensive Training Guide

Follow our 12-week, effort-based plans to achieve your half-marathon goals and have a great race experience

Boulderthon half marathon in Boulder, Colorado
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I fell in love with the half marathon one September morning on the streets of Philadelphia. I’d been doing long runs and speed workouts in preparation for the New York City Marathon, and lined up to race in Philly beside a more experienced training buddy.

Soon we were speeding along at a pace that took my breath away whenever I saw a split. Even though we were flying, I was running comfortably: working hard but controlled and not rapidly accumulating fatigue or worrying about holding on. By mile ten, my body began to send stress signals, but I was still moving well and feeling confident, with none of the gasping panic of shorter races or the soul-sucking exhaustion of the marathon. I finished with a huge smile and a personal record.

Never before had I run my best race and had such a good time doing it. The dozens of half marathons I’ve run since continue to confirm that this distance provides a uniquely enjoyable and satisfying race experience—if you’re prepared and race it smart.

In this training plan, I’ll take you through training priorities, key workouts, and proven race strategies. I’ve also prepared two day-by-day, 12-week training plans for you to follow—one for first-time half marathoners and one for intermediate runners with more experience and a bigger training base.

To design the training, I’ve drawn from two decades of coaching runners of all levels and years of interviewing the world’s top coaches and runners. Plus, I’ve gathered advice from two experienced coaches: Ryan Hall, who not only has run the half marathon faster than any American man but also coaches his wife, Sara, who recently set a new American women’s record for the distance; and Jenny Spangler, an Olympic marathoner turned club and online coach who excels at working with new and developing runners.

Why the Half Marathon?

Thirty-nine percent of runners in Running USA’s 2020 national survey said the half marathon is their favorite race, making it more than twice as popular as the 10K, 5K, or marathon. Besides its ability to deliver an exceptional race experience, what makes the 13.1-mile distance such an inviting goal for runners of all abilities?

It Inspires Transformational Training but Doesn’t Take Over Your Life

For those stepping up from shorter races for the first time, the half-marathon distance requires consistent mileage and longer training runs, both of which work to transform your body and make all your runs easier, faster, and more enjoyable. Running longer than you ever have before also provides a special personal satisfaction.

Yet unlike the full marathon, a half doesn’t have to significantly alter your daily routine. Training for a marathon can feel like it’s taking over your daily life, often requiring you to rearrange your schedule and prioritize training over other activities. If you’re not interested in making such significant changes at this time, you can get much of the motivation, benefits, and satisfaction from the half with less commitment.

You Can Get There from Here

Many recreational runners don’t have the experience or the time to put in enough miles to run the full marathon safely, and the half marathon requires less training volume. Advice varies on exactly how much mileage is adequate, but a recent three-year study of marathoners and half marathoners found that runners became injured less often if they consistently trained more than 23 miles per week for the half marathon and 40 miles per week for the marathon. Research also shows that spikes in training load are what predispose an athlete to injury—you need time to gradually increase and adapt to new levels of training. Building up to the marathon without courting injury typically requires a few years of steady, consistent progress. In contrast, the half, mandating far less volume and shorter long runs, is within many runners’ grasp given a few months of training.

It’s a Step Toward a Marathon—or a Step Away

If you have marathon aspirations, the half also provides a taste of the schedule, lifestyle, and fatigue that marathon training entails. “For people who think they may want to do a marathon in the future, this is a good goal to see, Do I like this type of training? Can I be consistent in my training so I can take it to the next level of the marathon?” says Spangler. “It gives them a good gauge for themselves.”

Even for the experienced marathoner, focusing on the half marathon for a season can be a welcome change. “If you’re doing a marathon all the time, you’re not going to improve. Once in a while, the body needs a break from the rigors of marathon training,” says Spangler. You still get to leverage your endurance strengths while mixing up your training with a greater variety of workouts. The more diverse training helps fend off injuries and develop systems and skills that will make you a more complete athlete, ready to excel at whatever you turn your focus to next.

Training Guidelines

Prerequisites

Most runners need at least 12 weeks to prepare for a half marathon.

Before you start training, you should already be running regularly. To start our first-time half-marathon program, we assume you can complete a five-mile run and that you consistently run three to five days a week, totaling around 15 to 20 miles. If you still need to build up to those levels, select a race a month or two further out and build your base, gradually adding running days and increasing the length of your longest run.

To follow the intermediate plan, you should be able to complete a ten-mile run and consistently put in close to 25 miles per week or more. If you’re comfortable running this mileage, feel free to follow this plan even if you’ve never raced the distance before.

Training Priorities

The half marathon is an endurance event for all runners, relying primarily on your aerobic and muscular ability to run efficiently for a long time. Training for the half emphasizes long runs that transform your body into a running machine, making you able to better deliver oxygen to muscles, store more energy, burn fuel more efficiently, generate more power, and resist fatigue.

If you’re stepping up to the half marathon for the first time, or plan on being out on the course for longer than about two hours (nine minutes per mile), the training focuses almost exclusively on building endurance. You should also do a small amount of faster-paced training to help you run more efficiently and extend how far you can run effectively. These will include both short, intense bursts and some miles run slightly faster than your easy pace.

For those aiming to race the half marathon in less than two hours, the mandate shifts slightly to also prepare you to maintain a faster pace for a long time. In addition to building endurance, you need to increase your stamina workouts: moderately fast training aimed at improving your critical speed. This is the pace at which by-products of energy production start increasing more rapidly than your body can deal with them, causing mounting effort and fatigue. Doing runs at around this pace raises the speed you can run before accumulating fatigue, allowing you to run longer at faster paces.

While it’s not the main priority, you’ll also need some work at even faster paces to increase your aerobic capacity and improve your leg speed, including sprints and repeats of short-duration, high-intensity efforts. Fully preparing for the half marathon involves hitting all zones and efforts.

According to Hall, “You should be working faster than goal pace, working half-marathon pace, and working longer, over distance.” Spangler agrees, noting that, even within a workout, “I like to mix up the pace effort.” Within this diverse training, however, long stamina runs are the most critical workout for running a fast half marathon, Hall says.

Take Recovery Seriously

Our training schedules, like all good training plans, call for taking easy days and days off between harder workouts. These aren’t suggestions—they are critical to the training process. Exercise strengthens the body by stressing it. The body responds by building the infrastructure to handle that stress, such as increasing muscle cells and mitochondria, building more capillaries, and boosting blood volume. But it needs time to make these adaptations; keep hitting it hard every day and it won’t get stronger, it will break—you’ll get increasingly tired, sore, and eventually injured or sick.

This principle of stress and recovery also applies to larger training cycles. The schedules not only increase training volume and the length of the long runs and workouts gradually, they also back off a step every few weeks. These gradual steps and recovery periods are necessary for the adaptation process. Give yourself time to build the strength to handle more, and don’t be afraid of losing fitness during recovery weeks: you’ll be able to go longer more easily when you step up the distance and intensity again.

The ideal cycle is to apply stress, wait for your body to start feeling stronger than it did originally, then stress it again, so you stairstep upward with increasing strength and skill. You can’t rush it, and you can’t cram in a bunch of hard work and make up for missing earlier workouts. You have to be consistent and patient. So take recovery days and weeks seriously.

Listen to Your Body

The best way to gauge recovery is to let your body tell you when you’re ready for more. This is a skill that develops over time, but you can work to listen and pay attention to signals. You can quickly learn the difference between being emotionally and physically tired, between a slight soreness that disappears after your warm-up and the sluggish, dead-leg feel that signals you need more recovery—or pain that gets worse throughout the run. Note that you do have to commit to getting out and starting a run to get much of this feedback: no matter how you feel (unless you’re limping or experiencing acute pain), give yourself ten easy minutes before you adjust the workout or, if you’re really feeling fatigued, call it a day.

We’ve designed these training schedules to help you let your body provide input by giving you distance options nearly every day. “I like putting ranges on easy days,” Hall says. “It gives the body a chance to help design the training.” On days when you’re feeling particularly tired or sore, you can opt for the lower distance; if you’re cruising easily, go a bit longer. The schedule’s totals and progression assume you won’t opt for the lowest distance every day, but use the range to ease off once or twice a week when needed.

Similarly, workout paces are described by their feel, rather than an exact target time. This allows you to tailor the effort to your current level and keeps workouts from becoming tests that add unnecessary stress. If you’re doing the distances and putting in the effort, you’re accomplishing the workout goals and improving your race fitness.

Adapt to Reality

As you follow the training program, you don’t have to do every run on the exact day it’s scheduled. You can and should adapt it to your routines and reality. You should move the long run to the day you have the most time, for example, or take a recovery week when you have a big trip or work project. You’re not going to sabotage your training by rearranging some things. “The plan should follow the athlete, not the other way around,” Hall says.

When adapting the schedule, make sure that you continue to space out the hard workouts and long runs as much as possible, with at least one easy or off day between them. Don’t try to make up a missed workout by squeezing it in. Also, avoid big jumps in volume and intensity—if you scale back a week, you can pick up where you left off, but if you fall behind two or more weeks, you should likely reevaluate your goal race, rather than leaping forward and risking injury.

If something needs to bend, says Hall, focus on getting in the key workouts—the long runs and the stamina runs—and don’t stress much about the total volume, as long as you’re running some on most days. “Fall back on big workouts that you hit,” he says. “Let those give you confidence.”

Workouts for the Half Marathon

Long Runs

The long run is the cornerstone of a half-marathon training program. Once-a-week long runs increase in length throughout the program, with a few recovery step-backs to consolidate adaptations before forging further. First-time half marathoners top out at 12 to 13 miles, while intermediate runners will go up to 14 to 16 miles. Hall and Spangler agree that while first-timers only need to approach race distance, 14 to 16 is ideal for more experienced runners—that’s far enough to make 13.1 miles feel manageable but not so long that it beats you up and requires significant recovery time.

Most long runs should be done at an easy pace, one at which you can carry on a full, comfortable conversation. As the program progresses, you’ll finish some long runs at a quicker pace, teaching you to run faster while fatigued. And some runs call for throwing faster segments in the middle, to strengthen your ability to sustain the pace in that part of the race. “Sometimes, after five or six miles, you start grinding down a little bit,” Spangler says. “So if you’re forced to stay focused, that helps.”

Short Speed: Strides

On the other end of the distance spectrum are strides, which are important for any runner, at any level, training for any distance. Hitting your top speed regularly improves your stride mechanics and cadence, and it also trains your nerves to recruit muscles quickly and efficiently. You’re teaching your body to move faster with less effort, at any pace. “Working on running economy and power is a big lacking piece for a lot of recreational athletes,” Hall says.

Strides aren’t all-out sprints but accelerations up to the fastest speed you can hit without straining. Start by swinging your arms faster, which will increase your leg turnover. Then drive your elbows and heels backwards, pushing off, not reaching forward. Once you hit your top speed, fly for eight to ten seconds, then shut it down as soon as you start to feel it takes any effort to maintain. Slow to a walk or very easy jog and rest for a few minutes after each burst.

Don’t start another fast segment until you feel your heart rate and breathing have returned to where they were before the sprint. Your last burst should feel as easy—and be as fast—as the first.

The schedule builds up to eight to ten strides once a week, adding a few more on a second day. You can do them after your run or insert them anywhere in the run after you’ve warmed up. I like to do mine during the last mile of a run, alternating telephone poles. Runners who are already used to strides can enhance muscle recruitment by doing them up a short, steep hill.

Stamina Workouts

Long runs and short speed will build strength, endurance, and efficiency, but to run the half marathon successfully, you also need to work on the ability to sustain speed. The faster and more experienced you are, the more important these workouts become and the more volume you’ll be able to handle.

We’ve described these workouts in terms of their effort, not only to avoid the confusion of terminology around them but also because science indicates that the various “thresholds” are inexact curves, and coaches have found that a variety of workouts at a range of paces can all improve your stamina. Judging paces by effort also more accurately reflects your current level of fitness and recovery than if you based your pace off a race several weeks or months ago, or used heart rate, which is often unreliable (especially when measured at the wrist) and can vary due to factors unrelated to fitness.

Even Hall doesn’t define what he calls “threshold runs” by a specific physiological variable or percentage of max heart rate. “People way overcomplicate it,” he says. He sees the threshold as the pace you can maintain for a given distance without making it a race. “If you go five seconds per mile quicker than that pace, you’re going to blow up or you’re going to really start struggling,” Hall says. Find that sustainable effort for whatever distance you’re going: “That’s your threshold pace,” says Hall.

For our training plans, we’ve used terms to identify each workout pace by how it feels in relation to other paces. To help you better judge your efforts, here’s more detail:

  • Easy: The pace at which you feel you can run forever. Your breathing is relaxed, and you can carry on a conversation in full sentences or sing a song out loud. Many runners push too hard on their easy runs; focus on starting very slowly, and keep the effort constant as you warm up. Whenever you start getting out of breath, slow down until it feels comfortable and sustainable for an hour or more.
  • Slightly Faster: A step faster than easy, this is the pace you often fall into on days when you’re feeling fresh and not holding back. You’re breathing somewhat harder but can still speak in sentences with pauses between them. The pace starts to feel like work on any hill, against the wind, or when you go longer than your average daily distance. You’ll use this pace for longer stamina runs and at the end of long runs. Your half-marathon pace will likely be in this range of effort: first-time half marathoners will keep it closer to easy, while more experienced racers can push the effort toward comfortably fast.
  • Comfortably Fast: This pace feels fast but still fun. You can speak in short, spaced-out sentences. You’re turning over quickly and breathing steadily—it’s work to run this fast—but you feel like you can sustain it for 30 to 40 minutes without digging deep. At an all-out racing effort, when fully rested, you could hold on to this pace for roughly an hour. If you speed up even five to ten seconds per mile, you quickly start breathing significantly harder. You’ll use this pace for moderate-length stamina workouts and in progression runs where you get gradually faster.
  • Fast Cruise: One step quicker, this pace is still not struggling, but you feel like you’re working too hard to keep going for longer than about 20 minutes without going into race-survival mode. You can speak a few words in a row, but it costs you, and you have to recover with some panting. If you back off a few seconds per mile from this pace, you quickly start to feel like the effort is sustainable. You’ll use this effort level for short-stamina interval segments and for alternating-pace workouts.

During a workout, you’ll often find these paces by initially going a bit too fast, feeling the excessive effort, then easing off enough to feel the appropriate rhythm. Pay close attention and reduce your effort as quickly as possible so you don’t get into debt and have to slow down significantly to recover. You may find yourself alternating several times between slightly too fast and too slow—this is normal, as well as effective at producing the desired training effect of teaching your body to run faster for a longer time.

The key to effective training, Hall says, is “constantly trying to adapt to the data the body is giving us.” In addition to judging how hard you can go for the distance, he recommends modifying your pace based on how fresh you feel. When coaching Sara, for example, “We’re never trying to crush it if she’s not feeling it. But when she’s feeling good, we’ll let it roll—that’s the time to push, as long as you’re not turning it into a race,” he says. These runs will inform your pace when you get to race day, so pay close attention to your effort level, your breathing, and your stride, particularly on days when you’re cruising in the faster than easy to comfortably fast range.

Speed Workouts

Intermediate runners should do a few fast workouts longer than strides that further develop quick turnover and efficiency. You don’t need many of these in any training program, especially for the half marathon. Some runners do this type of workout on a track, repeating set distances, but we’ve opted to use time-based intervals.

You’ll run these workouts at a speed fast enough that you don’t want to talk but could get out a couple of one-to-two-syllable words. You could sustain this effort for about eight to ten minutes all out. As you near the end of each speed segment, you’ll be ready to stop but should feel like you could go a little farther if you had to. Each fast interval in a workout will become harder, with your breathing speeding up earlier during the time interval. Still, by applying greater effort, you should be able to run the last interval close to the same speed as the first, and when you’re done, you should feel like you could do at least one more in a race situation.

Tune-up Races

It’s ideal to first experience the adrenaline rush of racing at a low-key event that isn’t your primary goal for the season. A tune-up race gives you a chance to learn how you react to the pressure and also practice the logistics of the race experience: packet pick-up, number pin-on, bathroom timing, clothing management, bag checks, and more.

Even if you’re an experienced racer, a tune-up race provides a benchmark for your training. The recommended 5K in the training schedules comes in the midst of steady training weeks, so you shouldn’t expect it to be your all-time fastest, but it should show that you’re fit and can handle the distance and speed.

A tune-up race also gives you a race time you can plug into a race-equivalent calculator, like Greg McMillan’s or Jack Daniel’s, and use it to estimate your predicted half-marathon time and pace. Every runner is different, however, and calculators provide a best-case scenario for an experienced racer. So while the estimate can give you an approximate range to shoot for, be careful about setting up the time as an absolute goal. Instead, compare the predicted pace with your perceived effort paces on stamina workouts and fast-finish long runs, noting what feels sustainable and how that progresses with training.

Cross-Training

On non-running days, your priority is rest and recovery. If you don’t feel overly tired but are dreading any activity and craving a nap, you can do something else active that doesn’t stress your muscles in the same way as running. Cycling is a popular option, as are swimming, rowing, or walking. Keep the volume and intensity low to moderate: the mandate is only to move and raise your heart rate above your resting pulse for about 30 minutes. If you do a longer or harder cross-training workout, adjust the volume and intensity of your running for the day or two after. Today’s smartwatches and fitness trackers can provide valuable feedback on how much recovery you need, although studies have shown that subjective assessment of your mood and perceived stress might be the most accurate way to judge your training load.

Mobility and Strength

Static stretching before your runs has been proven unnecessary, even detrimental. But including a few dynamic moves in your warm-up helps activate muscles and prep your body for the range of motion necessary to run effectively. I like to do shoulder openers and leg swings before every run, and add a lunge matrix several days per week. After the run, or later in the evening, doing some targeted stretches a few times per week can maintain your mobility, reduce soreness, and make you feel ready for more miles the next day. And daily hip-flexor stretches (you can perform them at your desk during a workday) can help counteract the effects of sitting and enable a more efficient stride.

Unless you’re already doing strength work regularly, this is not the time to start an aggressive program, since you’re already increasing your running volume and intensity. But there are some exercises every runner should do to optimize their stride mechanics. Squats and glute bridges are a good place to start: do them after a run on your harder days so easy days stay completely easy. On the schedules, they can fit in on Tuesday after strides and Thursday after the stamina workouts.

Racing the Half Marathon

The Last Two Weeks

When race day looms one or two weeks away, some runners are tempted to double down on their training, adding workouts that they might have missed and testing their fitness. But because training adaptations take time, nothing you do during this period is going to improve your overall fitness—what you need most before the race is rest. You’ll want to maintain some faster-paced running to keep your neuromuscular pathways fresh, and continue to do enough running to maintain your mind and body’s familiarity, but you can significantly reduce your miles in this period, which coaches call the taper.

Hall recommends starting your taper two weeks out. “A lot of athletes, if they taper just a week before, they start feeling good a week after the race,” he says, “like they hit the taper too late.” During this time, he keeps the daily schedule of workouts roughly the same but reduces the volume by 30 to 40 percent. The last full workout falls about ten days out from the race, a medium-long run at your anticipated half-marathon pace.

I’ve found that most runners do well by taking off two days before a race, and then, the day before, doing a short half-mile to one-mile warm-up and a couple of easy strides before a half-mile cooldown. Wear your racing shoes and socks, adjusting the laces to ensure a comfortable, secure fit.

Racing Shoes

Most runners do not need racing shoes for the half marathon. Given the length of the race, as you become fatigued in later miles, it’s more important to have the comfort and support of your usual training shoes than the potential performance gains of a light, fast model. If you have multiple pairs of running shoes, plan to wear your lightest pair on race day, if you feel comfortable training in them for ten miles or more. (If you run more than three days a week, you should have more than one pair of running shoes, to vary the training stress and reduce injury risk.)

Today’s “super shoes” provide both ample cushioning and high performance, but they amplify any instability in your stride and are tuned to a fast cadence and a forward-balanced roll, which you may need to adapt to. If you do opt for a racing shoe, purchase it early in your training program and wear it for at least one long run and a few stamina and speed workouts.

Fuel

If you’re going to be on the half-marathon course for much more than 75 to 90 minutes, you’ll likely need to replace some fuel during the race to perform your best through the finish. The longer you’ll be racing, the more important it is to take in carbohydrates midrace. Most races have sports drinks on the course, and some have gels. But you may want to carry your own in shorts pockets to be sure you have them handy when you need them. Whatever your fuel, testing it during training is key, to ensure that the taste is tolerable and your gut can absorb it on the run without distress. On a long run, carry gels or a bottle with the on-course drink—or cache them where you can grab them at regular intervals and ingest the same amounts you plan to take in on race day. Adjust amounts—or the specific drink and gel—as guided by your gut.

Warm-up

How much you warm up before a half marathon depends on your pace and your training. If the distance is at the limit of how far you’ve gone to date, you don’t want to add much fatigue to your legs before you start. You should prepare before the race as you do for a long run, with whatever dynamic warm-up you’re used to, and maybe a two-to-three-minute jog. If, however, you’ve trained over the distance and are aiming to set a pace much faster than your easy pace, you’ll want to run enough to get your muscles warm and joints loose—up to a mile—keeping it easy, in addition to your usual dynamic warm-up.

Pacing

The secret to having an awesome half-marathon race experience is to not start too fast. For most of the race, you’ll want to approach the edge of the energy-demand threshold while staying on the sustainable side, not pushing into the exponential curve of increasing effort that quickly leads to debt. Going out too fast and piling on an early deficit is a surefire way to make the remaining miles miserable.

In all of my best half marathons, I played it safe early, running the first two or three miles ten to fifteen seconds slower than my eventual average, letting my body warm into the pace and my mind get attuned to the just-under-the-redline effort. Spangler agrees: “It’s better to start out conservatively and pick it up, because it is easy to get caught up in the race and go too fast.” If you do hit the first mile a bit fast, however, she says, “Don’t panic. Slow it way down, the race is not over.” Get back to feeling comfortably in control, then let the pace build up to the fast-but-sustainable level. While Hall says he likes to aim for an even pace from the beginning, he agrees that easing into the pace is the safe way to run the race; he notes that Sara’s first mile was slower than her average during her American-record run. If just finishing the distance is the challenge, keep the throttle on easy and only let it speed up gradually after halfway, when you can feel the remaining distance and judge your fatigue.

How will you know how fast to run? “Learn your pace by what you’re ready for in training,” Hall says. “It feels the same as it does in practice.” During the race, he asks himself, If I was training, could I sustain this effort for 13 miles? Lock into what you felt like when you increased a long run’s pace and kept it going for several more miles. Remember your breathing, your stride, your turnover—and match that feeling, staying as smooth and efficient as you can.

You can use a predicted race-equivalent time from a tune-up race to assess if you’re in range, particularly in the early miles when you’re settling in. But don’t let a predetermined pace pull you much faster—or hold you much slower—than your effort indicates. On race day, you are better trained and more rested than you’ve been all season, so your pace at the same effort might surprise you. Just be sure you’re being honest about the effort, not hyped up or hopeful. Falling in with a training partner or race-day acquaintance of similar ability can help you maintain a pace and make the miles pass pleasantly, but be prepared to let them go on ahead or drop them as soon as you feel you’re being pulled too hard or held back. Maintain effort, not pace, when you hit hills, unless you’re close enough to the end that you can sustain the increased effort through the finish.

If you’ve done the training and controlled the pace, the first nine to ten miles often clip by quickly and comfortably. After that, the effort will start to mount and your goal is to keep the rhythm going and hang on to the finish. Hall warns that you shouldn’t expect to be able to pick it up much after mile ten, but if you paced yourself conservatively early on, you should be able to maintain and end up with close to an even pace, or slightly negative splits, finishing the second half of the race faster than the first.

Setting Goals

On race day, I find it’s often best to have more than one goal. Multiple goals not only allow for the unpredictable variables that occur during a race, but they also help you stay focused and in flow, bringing your best efforts to match the challenge of the moment, rather than withdrawing to make excuses. And having different measures of success provides a context for you to celebrate great efforts, even when they aren’t PRs.

I recommend that your primary goal be to run the optimal effort for every mile, every step—which is entirely within your control. Your ideal goal, a dream that will only happen if everything goes perfectly, might be a time that motivates you. And you need a fallback goal that you can still feel good about hanging on to on a rough day, often as simple as not giving up, whatever happens.

Post-Race Recovery

After the half marathon, you’ll be tired and sore for a few days but usually not nearly as beat up as after a marathon. Take time off from running until the soreness subsides and you feel a spring in your step again, then run easy for a few more days before doing anything long or hard. A good rule of thumb is to take an easy day for every mile of a race distance, so by two weeks after your half marathon, you should be rested and ready to tackle a new challenge.

Training Plans

Download our 12-Week First-Time Half-Marathon Training Plan

Download our 12-Week Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

A Few of Our Favorite Half Marathons

Aramco Houston Half Marathon: January 15, 2023

Famously flat and fast, this record-breaking loop course shares the first seven and a half miles with the marathon before circling back to the festive finish.

United Airlines New York City Half: March 20, 2022

The ultimate urban half marathon, the course takes you from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, across the East River, and through Times Square and Midtown before finishing in Central Park.

One America Mini Marathon (Indy Mini): May 7, 2022

One of the nation’s largest half marathons, with race cars leading off each starting wave, its course that features a loop of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the middle.

Gary Bjorklund Half: June 18, 2022

Hugging the shores of Lake Superior, this Minnesota midsummer classic on the second half of the concurrent Grandma’s Marathon provides great views while producing fast times, followed by a rowdy party in Duluth’s Canal Park.

San Francisco Half Marathon: July 24, 2022

From the Embarcadero, through Fisherman’s Wharf, and on to the Golden Gate Bridge, this race shows off the City by the Bay, but be warned: the point-to-point course gains 967 feet.

Philadelphia Distance Run: September 18, 2022

This classic race delivers a scenic tour of the historic city before following the flat banks of the Schuylkill River on a speedy out-and-back that finishes at the steps of the Museum of Art, made famous by Rocky.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon: October 16, 2022

Five miles of oceanfront running highlight this surf-themed race in the mid-Atlantic vacation hot spot, with a course as fast as it is beautiful.

Columbia Gorge Half Marathon: October 16, 2022

The Oregon race calls itself the most scenic in the country, a boast that’s fulfilled with vibrant fall foliage, waterfalls, distant mountains, and riverside cliffs, viewed from the winding Historic Columbia River Highway Trail.

Monterey Bay Half Marathon: November 13, 2022

Stunning views of California’s Monterey Bay throughout and a tour of famed tourist sites like Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium combine with perfect weather to make this a popular fall-destination race.

Lead Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty

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