How to run your first half marathon – 12 week training program

How to run your first half marathon – 12 week training program

How to run your first half marathon – 12 week training program


Congratulations on deciding to participate in a half marathon this year! It is a great challenge to set yourself and with a bit of hard work, it is very achievable. If you are new to exercise or have any health concerns please discuss them first with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Below you will find a 12-week half marathon plan for intermediate runners. The program incorporates four days of running per week as well as 2 days of functional suspension training, core work and foam rolling.

Click here to download your – 12 week half marathon training program

This programme also includes fitness tests on weeks 1, 6 and 10 so that you can keep track of your progress. What you will need to get through this program efficiently is a GPS watch, suspension trainer and foam roller.

Fitness test for weeks 1, 6 and 10

Kenneth Cooper’s 12-Minute Run

This test is a popular aerobic fitness maximal running test that measures the capability of the runner’s body to fully use oxygen to power itself while running.

  • Equipment needed- running track or flat oval, recording sheets, marking cones, and stop watch.
  • Test: Markers should be placed at preset intervals around the track in order to aid in measuring the distance completed. Participants are required to run for 12 minutes, recording the total distance covered. Walking is allowed but not recommended to encourage participants to push themselves to the limit. Each time you run you should aim to further your distance

The week before race day;

In the week prior to race day, it’s important that you don’t do anything too far out of the ordinary that may affect your body negatively and therefore your performance.

If you want to get a massage or see a physio prior to the event, I suggest that you do it at least 6 days out so that your body has time to recover from it.

If you are planning on buying new shoes or active wear to run in, I would also suggest that you try them out in advance, particularly the shoes as you need to break them in.

You will also notice from my program above that I have tapered off the distance in the 12th week. You still want to be working, but you don’t want to go too hard a week out from race day as you don’t want to go into the race sore and tight.

Diet wise, if you are planning on eating certain foods or taking certain supplements to get you through the event, make sure you start getting your body used to them days, if not weeks before. You don’t want to put something foreign into your body too close to the event as you may have an adverse reaction. If you are planning on taking gels during the run, practise using them in advance too as you will want to know how your body will react to them.

Similarly, if you are used to running in the evening but your event is in the morning, beware of putting too much food into your stomach prior to the run, particularly if you are used to having a 3-4 hour gap between lunch and your training. Also be aware that in the morning many people wake up dehydrated, so drink a lot of water the day before, even keep a water bottle next to your bed so you can hydrate throughout the night.

Good luck runners!