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Training for a half-marathon may sound daunting. But don’t fear, I will break it down for you with a step by step guide that will have you running a half-marathon in 13 weeks. This plan incorporates runs, interval training and weight lifting exercises. 

It will get you in shape and ready to run that race. If you are not signed up for a half-marathon or don’t want to join a race, that’s okay. Anyone can follow this plan. 

If you want to get in shape and get better at running this is a great way to get started. 

Mental Benefits 

Running, like most forms of exercise, is a great way to clear the head. You can run indoors, outdoors, with music, without music. It is all up to you. And no matter what you choose movement will help you mentally.

Running and exercise can reduce stress and anxiety and ease the symptoms of depression. According to a study published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, aerobic exercise (running) can improve the mood and well-being of someone with major depressive disorder. 

From my own experience, running has always been a way to open my senses, clear my head and take my mind off of everything. If I go for a run with a problem in mind or anxiety weighing me down, by the time I get back I will have a creative way to solve the problem or my stress will be all but gone. 

Running can also be a social time, which is a mood booster. Join a running group or run with a friend. It will be great for your mentality and it will help keep you motivated.

Physical Benefits 

Running, like all forms of exercise, is great for weight-loss or weight maintenance. Running increases endurance and tones muscles. It can also help prevent certain health problems like diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic

Running is an aerobic exercise, which is any type of cardiovascular movement. And it is high-impact, which means it puts stress on the joints but results in stronger bones. 

For optimal health, it’s generally best to follow a balanced workout program that includes aerobic, anaerobic, low-impact and high-impact exercises. 

The half-marathon plan incorporates running, a high-impact aerobic exercise, and strength training, a low-impact anaerobic exercise. 

Importance of Sleep 

A good night’s rest is essential for your health, especially if you are following an intense exercise program. 

Sleep helps the body repair and restore its vital organ systems. This includes immune cells, which are more active in defending the body during sleep, as well as muscles and elements of the endocrine system—the system responsible for producing and regulating hormones in the body. After running or weight lifting, this process is very important. 

Additionally, sleep is vital for brain function and memory. Sleep is the process by which we organize and store information learned in the previous day. So, if you’re short on sleep, you might not only struggle with many physical signs of fatigue, but you might also have a harder time remembering recently learned information.

When following this running plan, your body will need plenty of sleep to rest and restore. 

Tips to Sleep Better

  • Create a nighttime routine 
  • Ban technology at night 
  • Go to bed earlier 
  • Read a paper book 
  • Take a bath 
  • Wake up at the same time every day 
  • Keep your bedroom cold 
  • Follow the half-marathon plan
  • Limit caffeine 
  • Reduce alcohol intake 

Importance of Nutrition 

Eating the right foods when following this half-marathon plan is key. By the end of the plan you will be running up to 12 miles, which means your body will need the proper nutrition and calories to give you energy. 

You can try the keto diet with our 7 day meal plan or come up with your own nutritious eating plan. There are plenty of healthy eating habits you can try. Your options are endless.  

Everyone treats food differently. What matters is that you make a conscious decision to change your attitude about food, especially as you train for this half-marathon.

Tips to Change Your Diet

  • Eat your vegetables
  • Drink water 
  • Avoid processed foods 
  • Eat mindfully and in moderation 
  • Avoid drinks with added sugar 
  • Cook at home 
  • Meal prep 

Take Care of Yourself 

As you’ve most likely surmised, this training program will challenge you physically and mentally. Some days you will be dragging your feet, dreading the run. Other days you will be bursting to get moving. And that is okay. Just take it one day at a time. If you are eating the right foods, getting enough sleep and stretching, you will be able to follow this plan. 

It is important to note that you should always listen to your body. If you have a mental block or muscle soreness, that is to be expected. However, if you are feeling any lingering or sharp pain you should take a break. Taking time to rest and recover is vital to avoid injury. 

Now that we’ve gone over how to take care of yourself, are you ready to get started? Below is a breakdown of the first four weeks of the run plan. For a version of this plan with all of the exercises in one place, download our Free 4 Week Strength And Run Plan.

Half Marathon Training Schedule – First Four Weeks 

Week 1

Game on. Getting started may be difficult, but you will see results very soon!

  • Monday: Run ½ mile 
  • Tuesday: Workout 
    • Bodyweight Squat: 4×15 
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 3×12 per arm 
    • Bodyweight Glute Bridge: 3×15
    • Bodyweight Step Ups: 3×10 per leg 
    • Plank: 2×30 seconds 
  • Wednesday: Run ½ mile 
  • Thursday: Interval Training 
    • Walk 30 seconds/Sprint 5 seconds
    • 5 times 
  • Friday: Workout 
    • Push Ups: 4×10 
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3×12
    • Bodyweight Dips: 3×10 
    • Dumbbell Farmer Walk: 2×20 steps 
    • Bicycles: 2×30 seconds 
  • Saturday: Run 1 mile 
  • Sunday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 4×12 
    • Bodyweight Lunges: 3×8 steps per leg
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 3×12 per arm
    • Superman’s: 3×8 
    • Mountain Climbers: 2×30 seconds 
Week 2

The soreness is going away. The endorphins you feel everyday after your workout are having a positive effect on all other aspects of your day. Click here to subscribe

  • Monday: Run 1 mile 
  • Tuesday: Workout 
    • Bodyweight Squat: 4×15 
    • Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 3×12 
    • Bodyweight Step Ups: 3×10 per leg 
    • Single Leg Deadlift: 3×10 per leg 
    • Bicycles: 2×30 seconds 
  • Wednesday: Run 1 mile 
  • Thursday: Interval Training
    • Walk 30 seconds/Sprint 5 seconds
    • 8 times 
  • Friday: Workout 
    • Push Ups: 4×10 
    • Bodyweight Glute Bridge: 3×15
    • Bodyweight Dips: 3×10 
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3×12
    • Plank: 2×30 seconds 
  • Saturday: Run 2 miles 
  • Sunday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 4×12 
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 3×12 per arm
    • Superman’s: 3×8 
    • Dumbbell Farmer Walk: 3×20 steps 
    • Mountain Climbers: 2×30 seconds 
Week 3

The runs are getting easier and you will notice significant early gains in strength.

  • Monday: Run 1½ miles 
  • Tuesday: Workout 
    • Goblet Squat: 4×12 
    • Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3×12
    • Bodyweight Glute Bridge: 3×15 
    • Bodyweight Lunges: 3×10 steps per leg 
    • Plank: 3×30 seconds 
  • Wednesday: Run 1½ miles
  • Thursday: Interval Training
    • Walk 30 seconds/Sprint 5 seconds
    • 10 times 
  • Friday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Floor Press: 4×12 
    • Bodyweight Dips: 3×10 
    • Dumbbell Farmer Walk: 3×20 steps 
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3×12
    • Bicycles: 3×30 seconds 
  • Saturday: Run 3 miles 
  • Sunday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 4×12 
    • Incline Dumbbell Row: 3×12 
    • Bodyweight Step Ups: 3×10 per leg 
    • Superman’s: 3×10 
    • Mountain Climbers: 3×30 seconds 
Week 4

The runs continue to get easier and you will notice increasing strength as you progress through the plan.

  • Monday: Run 2 miles 
  • Tuesday: Workout 
    • Goblet Squats: 4×12 
    • Single Leg Deadlift: 3×10 per leg 
    • Dumbbell Curl Press: 3×12 
    • Dumbbell Glute Bridge: 3×15 
    • Plank: 3×30 seconds 
  • Wednesday: Run 2 miles 
  • Thursday: Interval Training 
    • Slow Jog 45 seconds/Sprint 10 seconds 
    • 5 Times 
  • Friday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Floor Press: 4×12 
    • Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 3×12 
    • Dumbbell Farmer Walk: 3×20 Steps 
    • Push Ups: 3×10 
    • Bicycles: 3×30 seconds 
  • Saturday: Run 4 miles 
  • Sunday: Workout 
    • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 4×12 
    • Dumbbell Step Ups: 3×10 per leg 
    • Superman’s: 3×10 
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 3×12 per arm 
    • Mountain Climbers 3×30 seconds 

It has only been 4 weeks and you are already running 4 miles. If you are ready to continue running and building your strength, check out our 13 Week Half Marathon Training Plan