18-week half-marathon training plan: crush your goal time
12th November, 2021|By Emilia Benton
So you've built up your distance, have run a few 5Ks and 10Ks, and are ready to take your goals and training to the next level by signing up for a half-marathon. Congrats! Here's what you'll need to know to embark on our 18-week half-marathon training plan.
Even if you've built up a solid mileage base, you likely know that half-marathon training will include a bit more volume, especially as you increase your long runs. This will involve both physical and mental conditioning as you get used to spending more time on your feet. Our 18-week half-marathon training program will help you arrive at the starting line trained and ready to experience the joys of this longer distance.
What to expect from the 18-week half-marathon training plan
Before you get started at your 19-week half-marathon plan, you should use the Hansons Training Pace Calculator to determine your goal race time and pace, as well as your long run and workout paces. From there, this half-marathon training plan will start you off pretty conservatively, with three rest or cross-training days to start the week, followed by three short runs, and a 6-mile long run.
From week two on, you'll be doing two workouts per week: one speed session with intervals and a tempo run with a few miles at your goal race pace in between an easy warmup and cooldown. Most weeks will also include three short runs, a long run, and one rest or cross-training day, which can include an activity such as weightlifting, yoga, or cycling to build full-body strength and keep things interesting.
The 18-week half-marathon plan will have you build up to the longest run of 14 miles, which you'll hit three times before tapering down two weeks out from race day. Your final week of training will include all short runs along with your rest or cross-training day and cap off with a 3-mile shakeout run the day before you line up to race.
Focus on incremental progress with this 18-week half-marathon training plan
While you don't necessarily need to cover the race distance in a long run in training, going slightly over it will help boost your mental confidence about covering it on the big day. As more time goes on, the speed sessions and tempo efforts should also have you feeling stronger and more confident about hitting your goal. At the same time, however, it's important to keep your recovery efforts truly easy so you're fresh and rested enough to execute those harder efforts when it counts.
Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.
I'm a Houston, Texas, native who's run 11 marathons and 30-something half marathons, with 3:30 and 1:39 personal bests. I'm also a freelance health and fitness journalist, a USATF Level 1-certified running coach, and a lover of country music, baking and world travel.