Your first half marathon in 12 weeks

Think of a place or person twenty-one kilometers away from you. Done? Visualize yourself now as you cover this distance by running. Done? At this point there are two possible reactions: 1. you fainted imagining fatigue, then this is the right article for you and you can read on; 2. you’ve run half marathons before and so you’re probably thinking about which one is the best or the one you’re most satisfied about it, in which case you won’t need this article however then – please! – go to the bottom of the page and tell about it in the comments because it is wonderful to share these experiences (and then it will be an incentive for those who have not yet done).

Instructions for use.

First, a couple of premises. The first one: this program assumes that you are already in fairly good shape and you are running at least 5 km three times a week; if not, I recommend that you follow the program to start running and in a few weeks you will be here again. ;)
The second premise is: do the medical examination before you start. It will provide you with the peace of mind you need to tackle also strenuous workouts.

The pace: what pace should you keep in training? Since this is a beginner’s program, it’s best to use a heart rate monitor and try to keep your heart rate steady between 60 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. For now, don’t worry too much about speed, just think about enjoying the run and not overtraining. As always the run will have to be “relaxed,” if you are in no condition to talk while running: slow down! because you are going too fast.

Walk: If you feel particularly tired during your workout, you can take walking breaks. Fortunately, you are not being chased by a barbarian horde. ;)

Core Stability Exercises: in running, training legs is not enough. All the body muscles help to keep your correct posture by promoting breathing and reducing fatigue. I personally recommend a couple of repetitions of the HICT circuit of 7 minutes each. It’s hard but in 15 minutes it’s all over.

Cross-Training: it sounds paradoxical but you can train to run even without running. Swim, ride a bicycle, or simply walk. In this way your body will understand that “movement” does not only mean running. The important thing is not to overexert yourself, don’t overdo it: remember you are training for a half marathon, not an Ironman.

Stretching: at the end of every workout always remember to stretch. In this way you will promote recovery and feel much less fatigue (thus avoiding the “woody legs like Pinocchio” syndrome).

Rest: rest days are for recovering from workouts and preparing your physique gradually. Any coach will tell you that rest (and even sleep) are integral and indispensable parts of any athletic preparation. Do you feel too busy by this training plan? Take it easy, repeat the scheduled workouts for a few more weeks. It may take you 14 weeks to reach 21K but you will have gained much more awareness of your body.

Be consistent: this program includes 3 to 4 running workouts per week, you will realize how consistency in training brings great benefits and fast improvements. You are preparing for a “middle distance,” continuous training is essential.

The training plan


Download the training program in PDF


(Main image credits: ©



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