A 6 week half marathon training plan might sound too good to be true, but that’s not always the case. If you’re contemplating signing up for a half marathon because race day is only 6 weeks away, it might still be possible to get to the finish line successfully.
Can I train for a half marathon in 6 weeks?
The answer to whether or not you can train for a half marathon in 6 weeks depends on a number of different factors. The most important factor playing into whether or not you can reach your goal in six weeks is your current level of fitness.
If you’ve run a half marathon before, or have been running moderate distances (4 – 6 miles at a time) on a consistent basis, it is very likely that you can successfully train for half marathon in 6 weeks.
However, if you are brand-new to running, a 6 week half marathon training plan will likely be too challenging. In order to complete this training schedule, you’ll need to be able to run 4 – 6 miles at a time before beginning.
- If you can run 4 – 6 miles at a time already, then YES, you can complete this 6 week half marathon training schedule
- If you are brand-new to running, or in a state of poor health, it’s best to allow yourself more time to train
Another factor that could get in the way of completing a half marathon training schedule in 6 weeks is an underlying health condition, or just general state of poor health.
Finally, one more important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to train for a half marathon is 6 weeks is the time commitment. A shorter training, such as this 6 week plan, will require that you are fully committed. It’s more important than ever that you complete the runs and workouts as scheduled, so having enough time to do so over the 6 week period is key to success.
Who is this half marathon training plan for?
This 6 week half marathon training schedule is for any runner who is physically and emotionally committed to finishing a half marathon in 6 weeks.
It is designed for runners who can already complete a moderate distance (4 – 6 miles) and those who are willing to put in the time and effort to finish all the workouts.
How many days per week in this half marathon training schedule?
This 6 week training plan includes 4 days of running each week, along with one rest day, one cross training day and one strength training day.
Completing the 4 runs each week is key to success during your half marathon. The cross and strength training days are a bit less structured, allowing runners to pick workouts or activities that best suit their interests, fitness level and time.
Breakdown of the 6 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule
The half marathon training plan contains several different types of runs and workouts. Here is a breakdown of the activities you’ll find sprinkled throughout the 6 weeks of training.
- Long Runs – the longest distance of the week run at a slow, easy pace [Saturday]
- Interval Runs – repetitions of 400 meter or 800 meter intervals run at a hard effort, with a period of slow, easy recovery in between [Wednesday]
- Easy Runs – mid-distance runs completed at a slow, easy pace [Monday & Thursday]
- Cross Training – any activity besides running that requires physical exertion [Friday]
- Strength Training – bodyweight or weighted exercises that help build muscle strength and endurance [Tuesday]
- Rest – a complete rest day or active recovery such as walking, stretching or yoga [Sunday]
Modifying the 6 Week Half Marathon Training Plan
Regardless of how well-structured a training plan may be, most runners find that they need to make a few modifications along the way. Whether it’s because their schedule doesn’t allow for a longer workout to take place on the designated day, or because they get injured or ill during training, modifications are often necessary.
The key to successfully modifying a training plan is making sure that the key workouts are competed each week, listening to your body and responding appropriately to signs of illness or pain, and staying consistent as much as possible elsewhere.
Half Marathon Training Workouts – in Order of Importance
If you need to shorten or skip a workout, start from the bottom of this list and work your way up as needed. The following are the workouts found in the plan, listed in order of importance.
- Long run
- Interval run
- Easy runs
- Strength training
- Cross training
In general, switching around the order of the workouts each week will have no effect on your ability to complete the half marathon training plan in 6 weeks.
If you find that you need to skip, shorten or miss a workout during the 6 weeks of training, first make your adjustments to the cross training or strength training. Prioritize all of the runs, but if an unforeseen circumstance should arise and you need to adjust more, be sure to keep the long run.
5 Tips for to Train for a Half Marathon in 6 Weeks
Completing a 6 week half marathon training plan won’t be easy – even for seasoned runners. But it is certainly doable, and adjusting your mindset ahead of time can help set you up for success. Here are 5 tips to do so successfully.
Training for a half marathon in 6 weeks requires consistency. With only a few weeks to train before race day, it’s more important than ever that each workout is completed. Commit to the training plan and be prepared to make a few sacrifices to get every run in.
Keep long runs slow.
When following a half marathon training schedule in 6 weeks, it’s extremely important to avoid injury and burnout, as there will not be enough time to recover before race day. In order to avoid overtraining, long runs need to be completed at a slow, easy pace. Ignore the pace during a long run and run as slow as feels good, regardless of your goals on race day.
Another part of training that is crucial to avoiding burnout and injury is recovery. Throughout this 6 week half marathon training plan, be sure to prioritize recovery. Take rest days seriously, and allow time to stretch and cool down after each workout. Keep your muscles loose, fresh and fueled properly to make it to race day healthily.
Listen to your body.
Regardless of your efforts, there will likely be a time or two during training when things feel off. If you notice a twinge or pain during a run, back off and take things easy until it subsides. If you’re feel exceptionally tired or slightly ill, take a rest day to heal.
Taking things easy for a day or two will allow you to get right back on track afterwards, rather than winding up missing an entire week or more due to injury or illness.
Adjust your mindset.
Finally, as you begin training for a half marathon, adjust your mindset to set yourself up for success. Commit to the training, and do more than simply completing the workouts. Schedule time for recovery, rest, and fueling. Feed your body with nourishing foods and drink plenty of water. Prioritize sleep and stay committed – because before you know it, race day will arrive.
Download the 6 Week Half Marathon Training Plan!
Try this training plan to get across the finish line in just 6 weeks! It doesn’t always take months or years to accomplish your goals. You might be surprised how much progress you can make in just 6 weeks.
>> Click here to download the PDF version of the 6 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule!
Friday 2nd of September 2022
Would you please explain your your Interval Run? For example on a day when 2 miles should be done at (2x400)
Runnin' for Sweets
Wednesday 7th of September 2022
Sure thing! The distance listed is the total distance of the run including warm up and cool down. When intervals are listed, you'll want to include them in the run at any point -- you're welcome to run both 400s right away or at the very end, but my suggestion is to complete them somewhere in the middle of the run.
For example, when the workout reads 2 miles with 2 x 400, that means that you should run two 400 meter intervals at a hard effort and include a warm up and cool down to get a total distance of 2 miles. This run could start with a 1/2 mile warm up, 400 meter interval at a hard effort followed by 400 meter easy recovery, another 400 meter interval at a hard effort followed by 400 meter easy recovery, and 1/2 mile cool down (400 meter is equivalent to 1/4 mile). I hope this helps!