- Smarter Plans
- Fewer Injuries
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Developed by certified coaches with time-tested results.
We know you’re unique. Your half marathon training plan should match.
Race profile, time of year, and altitude all factor into our half marathon training plans.
Custom half marathon plans shouldn’t cost more than the race itself.
At Custom Training Plans, our half marathon training plans are developed by certified coaches who deliver results. Working together with our advanced model, they analyze variables unique to you to create a plan that caters to your strengths. We guide you in preparing properly with a runner-specific plan designed to keep you injury-free all the way to the finish line.
Using a catchall-style half marathon training plan can backfire, whether you’re an absolute beginner, lacing up your shoes again after an injury, or an experienced racer looking to shave a few minutes off your average half marathon time. New runners following online half marathon training plans often experience injuries caused by overtraining, ending their race before it even begins. Likewise, free plans can leave you unprepared to tackle course features like the hills of San Francisco’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. And accomplished racers may find themselves falling short of their goals, no matter how closely they followed the plan.
With 20-week couch-to-half-marathon training programs for first-timers and 12-week half marathon training programs for established runners, Custom Training Plans can get you to the finish line. We offer race-specific customized training plans for athletes preparing for the classic NYC vibe of the Brooklyn Half, the scenic, vineyard-lined course of the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, and many more. Let’s get into the advantages of trusting CTP with your half marathon prep.
How to train for the half marathon distance
Custom Training Plans knows that the best way to train for a half marathon is to use a personalized plan. We start by getting to know you better using our proprietary questionnaire, with questions about your current fitness level, goals, and more. Then, using your unique running traits, we create a half marathon training plan for you. Our system combines advanced analytics with the expertise of USATF-certified coaches and physical therapists to get you prepared for the half marathon distance safely.
At 13.1 miles, the half marathon distance is not for the faint of heart. But it’s totally possible for anyone to tackle when they have a half marathon training plan that addresses their specific needs. Our plans build you a unique race profile that considers altitude, elevation gain, weather, and more. Then, a coach customizes the plan just for you (and even your race, in some cases).
Along with a pace chart and an RPE chart, you’ll get a detailed daily plan, including cross-training workouts that are designed to help you prepare for the half marathon distance without injury. A letter from your coach, a weekly email, and access to our podcast gives you additional insight into training, running, and racing to help you stay motivated.
How long does it take to train for a half marathon?
At its root, running is a simple concept. But running well requires patience and dedication. It takes time to build the overall fitness that supports a strong, speedy foundation. Custom Training Plans collaborates with expert trainers to create 12-week half marathon training schedules that give you detailed guidance that’s often lacking in shorter, no-frills half marathon training programs. Each Custom Training Plans half marathon program is calibrated toward building the strength you need to finish your race successfully. A 12-week plan allows your body to establish base fitness gradually, ramping up to a half marathon distance safely.
The half marathon is a finishing distance in reach for most people, but the right kind of pre-race preparation is vital. While a lot of training companies out there claim they can get you ready using 10-week, 8-week, and even 6-week half marathon training plans, these plans are often a quick route to injury — not only for beginners but for experienced runners as well. For runners, it’s often tempting to take the fastest route, but athletic trainers agree: the time you spend preparing for your half marathon will be reflected on race day.
Twelve-week plans allow enough time for the training and recovery that can stave off injury as you prepare for the rolling hills of Texas during the Austin Half Marathon or go for a new PR at the Surf City Half Marathon. If you’re returning to the sport or just getting started with running, 20-week half marathon training plans give you an additional eight weeks to get you ready to train for your half marathon. Gradual progress helps you avoid injury too.
Half marathon training is more than simply increasing your mileage.
If you’re laser-focused on your mileage as you prepare for a half marathon, you’re leaving a boatload of benefits on the table. When you employ a mileage-based training plan, you’re often given a schedule that’s designed for a goal like a sub-2-hour half marathon finishing time — and nothing else. But half marathon training isn’t solely about adding speed and distance to your runs. Simply increasing your distance each week can be tedious, and it doesn’t prepare you for the challenging features you’ll face on race day.
Mileage-based or not, following any old training plan isn’t always a good idea if you’re working toward a specific goal. Using a plan that isn’t customized for your goals, race course, or current fitness level can be discouraging. For example, novice runners starting a plan with a 6-mile run may find themselves feeling mighty sore and discouraged the next morning. Comprehensive 12-week half marathon training schedules from Custom Training Plans take your experience into account to tailor your workout intensity. This helps to build your stamina and increase your endurance safely.
When you follow a complete 12-week half marathon training plan from CTP, you’ll get the guidance you need to take your race to the next level. Have you ever wondered why your training plan has you running today’s miles at goal race pace? Want some suggestions for easy workouts if you decide to exercise on a recovery day? Custom Training Plans’ 12-week half marathon training plans explain how each day’s workout contributes to your race prep. Additional insight into the process and a variety of workouts can keep you motivated, injury-free, and invested in your goal.
What should a complete 12-week half marathon training plan include?
The primary part of any half marathon training plan should be running workouts. At Custom Training Plans, we design runs that are challenging, purposeful, and enjoyable. Our 20- and 12-week half marathon training plans include curated running workouts that make running more than just mileage. Every race-specific CTP plan includes workouts that prepare you for each course’s features, like the Flying Pig Half Marathon’s rolling terrain. Race courses with major elevation changes benefit from sessions including hill and flat sprints. These workouts give you access to the energy stored deep within your muscles, which can be especially helpful as you tire late in your race. Along with traditional running workouts, these and other drills build the type of strength, speed, and endurance that you’ll rely on when you run your half marathon.
A well-rounded half marathon training plan should also include workouts that aren’t centered on running. Cross-training, strength training, and mobility exercises support your half marathon training by increasing your overall fitness. Cross-training often comes naturally to runners, and a quality training plan should encourage you to take part in an activity like cycling, rowing, or swimming. Introducing a different form of cardio can keep you from experiencing a fitness plateau and keep your preparation fun too. Weightlifting and other forms of strength training assist you in building strong muscles and joints, supporting your overall fitness and decreasing the risk of injury.
Once you get into the swing of things, it can be tempting to keep the momentum going. However, it’s just as important to allow the body to recover. Rest days are a critical part of the best 12-week half marathon training plans, even when preparing for a flat, fast race like the Shamrock Half Marathon. As part of rest and recovery days, a high-quality half marathon training plan should incorporate mobility activities such as yoga, stretching, and using a foam roller to relieve muscular tightness and increase your range of motion.
Half marathon training benefits both casual and experienced runners.
Personalized half marathon training programs are perfect for all types of runners, from couch potatoes and total beginners to half marathon devotees. If you’re an athlete who is new to the distance, Custom Training Plans provides eight weeks of additional conditioning that help you get ready to run. For first-timers or runners returning after a long hiatus, following a thorough, thoughtfully designed 20-week half marathon training plan is a solid way to get yourself from the couch to the finish line.
Seasoned half marathon runners are passionate about the distance, and it’s easy to see why. This conquerable distance can be addictive, and as you gain more experience in half marathons, you might begin to pursue new personal best finishing times. Race-specific or not, every 12-week half marathon training schedule from Custom Training Plans can be personalized to target the milestones of your choice. Whether you’re looking for a sub-2-hour half marathon training plan for the Disney Princess Half Marathon or a distance-focused half marathon plan to help you build your endurance, every training program by Custom Training Plans can be fine-tuned just for you.
History of the half marathon.
The half marathon, a test of endurance and speed, has a rich history that dates back centuries. While the origins of the half marathon are somewhat debated, its popularity in the running community is indisputable. The distance provides a challenge for both novice and seasoned runners, striking a balance between the intensity of shorter races and the grueling demands of a full marathon.
The marathon’s origin is rooted in ancient Greece, drawing inspiration from the legendary run of Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. However, the half marathon doesn’t share such a storied origin. Instead, its evolution is more recent and closely tied to the growth of road racing, especially during the latter half of the 20th century.
As road races became more popular, there was a demand for a distance that bridged the gap between the 10K and the full marathon. The half marathon was a fitting response to this demand. It offered a challenge that was formidable yet more approachable than the grueling 26.2 miles of the full marathon.
The late 20th century saw an explosion in the popularity of the half marathon, especially in the United States and Europe. Major cities began to host half marathon events, sometimes as a part of larger marathon festivals. For many, the half marathon became a stepping stone to the full marathon, while for others, it was a preferred distance in its own right.
The 21st century has seen the half marathon grow exponentially in terms of participation rates. The race has found a sweet spot among runners as it offers a significant challenge without the intense training and recovery demands of a full marathon.
As this race distance grew in popularity over the decades, so too did the need for specialized training regimens. Today, half marathon training plans are sought after by runners worldwide, eager to optimize their performance, build stamina, and achieve personal bests. Whether you’re a first-timer aiming to complete the race or an experienced runner looking to shave minutes off your time, a well-structured half marathon training plan is crucial to achieving your goals.
Run your best half marathon yet with Custom Training Plans.
Millions of athletes finish a half marathon race every year. It’s an entirely achievable accomplishment that’s mentally and physically rewarding. At Custom Training Plans, our goal is to share our love of running with as many athletes as we can, no matter where you’re starting from. When you choose to train for your race with one of our 12-week half marathon training plans, you get so much more than a mileage schedule.
Created with the assistance of experts, each of our general and race-specific plans can be customized to help you reach for your goals. From 20-week couch-to-half marathon programs for runners preparing to tackle one of the two half marathons on offer at the San Francisco Marathon to 12-week half marathon programs for advanced runners looking to pick up speed, CTP has a plan that’s right for you. For more information on how Custom Training Plans can help you make your next half marathon the best yet, get started with a customized 12-week half marathon training plan today.
DETAILED DAILY PLAN
Letter from your coach
Weekly motivation email
How it works
- Complete our proprietary runner questionnaire so we can get to know you better.
- Your custom Half Marathon Training Plan is built based advanced analytics with personalized coaching oversight.
- Receive your custom Half Marathon Training Plan, lifting + mobility guide, a letter from our coaches, and more within 24 hours.
- Finish the Half Marathon Training Plan with confidence.
With the expertise of USATF certified coaches and physical therapists, we built an advanced model to weigh the effects of runner-specific variables on training outcomes.
We analyzed unique characteristics of hundreds of races across the country to build a “race profile” into our model that accounts for elevation gain, altitude, time of year, and more.
Our model generates a unique training plan for you and your race, and all plans are reviewed by a coach and hand-tweaked before they make their way to you.