You only have a few weeks to train for your upcoming half marathon, and you’re starting to freak out wondering if you’ll be ready. Here’s a 6 week half marathon schedule to help you safely reach your goals.
6 Week Half Marathon Schedule
A half marathon is a challenge that you’ll be proud of accomplishing for the rest of your life. It’s a big step up from a 5k, but it’s a more manageable training distance than a full marathon. Training for the half marathon won’t feel like it’s taking over your life like a full marathon might.
But if you only have a few weeks to go before race day, you need to make sure you have a solid plan in place that won’t leave you stranded and unable to finish before you’ve hit double digits on your mileage. Here is a doable 6 week half marathon schedule, plus some pointers to get you on your way.
What Can I Expect?
First off, if you’re attempting to run a half marathon in six weeks, it’s highly advisable that you have some sort of running experience under your belt. If you haven’t run in years, a longer time frame would be more appropriate for you so you don’t get discouraged or injure yourself.
You can tackle your weekly runs one of two ways -- you can run for distance or you can run for minutes. That’s simply a matter of personal preference. Until your six-week plan is finished, you should plan to run at least three times each week. You should get used to running on tired legs.
Here’s a Basic, Adjustable Plan
You can tweak the schedule to best fit your own needs and preferences. For instance, if you prefer a bit more recovery time between your runs, opt with a bare-bones 3 running days a week plan. If you are used to running more than 3 days a week, you can stick with 4 days of running every week.
Here is a basic plan to get you started, assuming you can comfortably run 3 to 4 miles already.
Week One: During the first week, go for a 4-mile jog on Tuesday, a 3-mile jog on Thursday, and a 5-mile jog on Saturday or Sunday.
Week Two: You’ll need to bump up the distance fairly quickly each week because you don’t have much time to prepare with only 5 weeks to go. Don’t worry about trying to increase your time right now -- it’s more important that you work on base building. If you work on both at the same time, you increase your risk of injuries.
This week, you’ll want to slightly increase the distance of two of your runs. Make Tuesday’s run a 4.5 miler, keep your Thursday run at 3 miles, and bump your long weekend run up to 6 miles.
Week Three: Leave your Tuesday run at 4.5 miles, but increase Thursday’s run to 3.5 miles. For your weekend run, jump up to 7 miles.
Week Four: This week, you’ll keep the distance of last week’s runs on Tuesday and Thursday, and you’ll increase your weekend long run to 9 miles.
Week Five: To give your legs a bit of a break this week without sacrificing the important long run, scale back a bit on your weekday runs. Make Tuesday’s run 4 miles instead of 4.5, and Thursday’s run 3 miles instead of 3.5. Jump up your long run to 11 miles.
Week Six: If your race day is at the end of this week on Saturday, you’ll want to taper off your training this week. At most, do a light jog of 2 to 3 miles on Monday or Tuesday and take the rest of the week off so you’ll start your race with fresh legs. While a two-week taper might be best for half marathons, with only six weeks, you don’t have time to taper that long.
Make the Schedule Your Own
This schedule isn’t set in stone -- you can change it up so it works for you. You can change the days of your runs, or add an extra run into the mix depending upon your running level. You can even tweak the distances you’re running if you’re comfortable running more miles.
No one schedule is perfect for everyone, and there are many other schedules and plans you can go with if you are a more experienced runner who has the base in place and you want to tackle things like hill repeats and sprints.
The Key is Consistency
Whether you have 6 weeks or 16 weeks to prepare for a half marathon, the key to a successful race day experience is consistent training. Put in at least three days every week logging the miles. If you begin to skip workouts, the best schedule in the world won’t help you.
When you’re training, make sure you listen to your body. Pay special attention to the aches and pains you feel to determine if they’re a normal part of the training process, or a sign that you’re doing too much, too soon.