5 Week Half Marathon
5-Week Half Marathon

If you’re looking to tackle a half marathon but don’t have months to spare for training, a 5-week plan may be just what you need.

While traditional training plans typically span 12-16 weeks, a condensed 5-week plan can help you prep for a half marathon. If you are not running, please consider this base training plan before using a 5-week training plan.

This article will provide an overview of what you can expect from a 5-week half marathon training plan and tips for making the most of your training.

Before diving into the specifics of a 5-week plan, it’s important to note that this type of training is best suited for those with a base fitness level.

If you’re new to running or have been inactive, it’s recommended that you start with a 12-week or longer training plan to avoid injury and burnout.

With that said, a 5-week plan can be a great option for those short on time or looking to challenge themselves with a more intense training schedule.

In the next section, we’ll explore what a typical 5-week half marathon training plan entails.

Training Fundamentals

Understanding the 5-Week Timeline

The 5-week half marathon training plan is designed for advanced runners with a base fitness level to help you prepare for a half marathon in just a few weeks.

It is important to understand that this plan is for runners who have already built a running base for at least 3-4 weeks before starting this program.

The program consists of 5 weeks of progressively challenging workouts to help you build endurance, strength, and speed.


Before starting any intense fitness regimen like this, it’s always a good idea to consult healthcare professionals to ensure your safety.

Essential Gear for Training

One of the most important parts of training for a half marathon is having the right gear. Here are some essential items you should have before starting your training:

  • Running shoes: Invest in a good pair of running shoes that fit well and provide adequate foot support.
  • Moisture-wicking clothing: Choose clothes made of moisture-wicking material to keep you dry and comfortable during your runs.
  • GPS watch: A GPS watch can help you track your distance, pace, and heart rate during workouts.
  • Hydration system: Whether you prefer a handheld water bottle, hydration belt, or hydration backpack, make sure you have a way to carry water with you during your runs.

Nutrition and Hydration Basics

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for successful half-marathon training. Here are some basics to keep in mind:

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your runs to stay hydrated.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Eat a diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
  • Fuel during runs: For runs over an hour, consider using some form of fuel, such as energy gels or chews, to keep your energy levels up.
  • Recovery nutrition: After your runs, refuel with carbohydrates and protein to help your muscles recover.

By understanding the 5-week timeline, having the essential gear, and following proper nutrition and hydration basics, you will be well on your way to completing a half marathon in just a few weeks.

Weekly Training Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of your five weeks of half-marathon training. Each week is designed to help you gradually build up your endurance, speed, and overall fitness level.

Week 1: Getting Started

During the first week of your training, it’s important to focus on building a solid foundation. This means starting with shorter runs at an easy pace, and gradually increasing your mileage as the week progresses. Here’s what your week might look like:

Monday3 miles easy
TuesdayRest day
Wednesday4 miles easy
ThursdayCross-training (e.g. cycling, swimming, yoga)
Friday3 miles easy
Saturday5 miles at a moderate pace
SundayRest day
Week 1 – 5 Week Half Marathon Training

Week 2: Building Endurance

Now that you’ve established a solid base, it’s time to start building your endurance. During week 2, you’ll continue to increase your mileage, but you’ll also start incorporating some longer runs into your routine. Here’s what your week might look like:

Monday4 miles easy
TuesdayRest day
Wednesday5 miles at a moderate pace
ThursdayCross-training (e.g. cycling, swimming, yoga)
Friday4 miles easy
Saturday7 miles at a moderate pace
SundayRest day
Week 2 – 5 Week Half Marathon Training

Week 3: Speed and Tempo Work

During week 3, you’ll start incorporating some speed and tempo work into your training. This will help you improve your running economy and increase your overall speed. Here’s what your week might look like:

Monday5 miles easy
TuesdayRest day
Wednesday6 miles with 3 miles at tempo pace
ThursdayCross-training (e.g. cycling, swimming, yoga)
Friday5 miles easy
Saturday8 miles at a moderate pace
SundayRest day
Week 3 – 5 Week Half Marathon Training

Week 4: Peak Mileage

Week 4 is all about peak mileage. You’ll be running your longest distances during this week, which will help you build the endurance you need to complete your half marathon. Here’s what your week might look like:

Monday6 miles easy
TuesdayRest day
Wednesday8 miles at a moderate pace
ThursdayCross-training (e.g. cycling, swimming, yoga)
Friday6 miles easy
Saturday10 miles at a moderate pace
SundayRest day
Week 4 – 5 Week Half Marathon Training

Week 5: Taper and Recovery

During the final week of your training, it’s important to give your body time to recover and prepare for race day. This means cutting back on your mileage and focusing on rest and recovery. Here’s what your week might look like:

Monday4 miles easy
TuesdayRest day
Wednesday5 miles at a moderate pace
ThursdayCross-training (e.g. cycling, swimming, yoga)
FridayRest day
Saturday3 miles easy
SundayRace day!
Week 5 – 5 Week Half Marathon Training

Remember, these are just guidelines. Feel free to adjust your training plan based on your fitness level and schedule. This is an advanced training schedule.

The most important thing is to stay consistent and listen to your body. Good luck and happy training!

Cross-Training and Injury Prevention

When training for a half marathon, it’s important to focus on running and cross-training and injury prevention. Incorporating other exercises into your training plan can help you build strength, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury.

Strength Training

Strength training is an essential component of any half-marathon training plan. It helps build muscle, increase endurance, and improve overall performance. Incorporating exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts can strengthen the muscles in your legs, hips, and core.

It’s recommended to perform strength training exercises 2-3 times per week, focusing on higher reps and lower weights.

Flexibility and Mobility Exercises

Flexibility and mobility exercises are crucial for injury prevention and can help to improve running form. Incorporating yoga, pilates, and stretching exercises can help increase flexibility and range of motion.

Foam rolling can also be beneficial for releasing tight muscles and reducing the risk of injury. Flexibility and mobility exercises should be performed at least 1-2 times weekly.

Rest Days and Listening to Your Body

Rest days are just as important as training days when it comes to injury prevention. Giving your body time to rest and recover can help to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.

It’s recommended to take at least one rest day per week, and to listen to your body if you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing any pain or discomfort. Pushing through pain can lead to further injury and setbacks in your training plan.

Incorporating cross-training exercises and injury prevention techniques into your half marathon training plan can help to improve your overall performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Remember to focus on strength training, flexibility and mobility exercises, and taking rest days to ensure a successful and injury-free training plan.

Race Day Preparation

Strategy and Pacing

On race day, it’s important to stick to the pacing strategy you’ve practiced during your training. Start off slowly and gradually increase your speed as you warm up.

Resist the temptation to go too fast at the start, as this can lead to early exhaustion and a slower overall time. If you’ve practiced negative splits (running the second half of the race faster than the first), stick to this strategy to maintain your energy and finish strong.

Mental Preparation

Race day can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line and achieving your goal.

Listen to music or a podcast that motivates you while you wait for the race to start. Take deep breaths and remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve put in during your training. Remember that you can do this!

What to Expect on Race Day

Arrive at the race venue early to give yourself plenty of time to warm up, use the restroom, and get into your starting corral.

Bring any necessary gear, such as a water bottle or energy gels, and dress appropriately for the weather. During the race, stay hydrated and fuel your body with snacks as needed.

Be prepared for unexpected obstacles, such as hills or inclement weather. Stay focused on your goal and enjoy the experience!

Post-Race Recovery

Congratulations on completing your half marathon! Whether it was your first or your fiftieth, it’s important to take care of your body in the days and weeks following the race.

Proper post-race recovery will help you bounce back faster and reduce your risk of injury.

Immediate Post-Race Tips

The first few hours after the race are critical for recovery. Here are some tips to help you recover quickly:

  • Keep moving: A gentle cool-down walk or jog can help flush out lactic acid and reduce stiffness.
  • Refuel: Eat a snack or meal with carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of finishing the race to help replenish your glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue.
  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids to replace fluids lost during the race.
  • Stretch: Perform light stretching to help prevent muscle soreness and tightness.

Long-Term Recovery and Maintenance

While the immediate post-race recovery is important, taking care of your body in the days and weeks following the race is also important. Here are some tips for long-term recovery and maintenance:

  • Rest: Take a few days off from running to allow your body time to recover. You can engage in low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, or yoga to stay active.
  • Cross-train: Incorporate strength training and flexibility exercises into your routine to help prevent injury and improve overall fitness.
  • Massage: Consider getting a massage to help reduce muscle soreness and improve circulation.
  • Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to help your body recover and repair.

By following these post-race recovery tips, you’ll be able to recover faster and get back to running in no time. Remember to listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed.

Additional Half Marathon Training Plans

Are you a beginner runner? Check out our 16-week Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan or the 12-week Half Marathon Training Plan.

Or, are you an advanced runner with a half-marathon race in six weeks? Try our Six Week Half Marathon Training Plan.

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