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8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan: Free PDF + Tips for Beginners

Finding an 8 week half marathon training plan is essential for any runner planning to run a half in 2 months – whether they’re beginner or advanced. With such a short time to prepare for race day, it’s important for runners to structure their workouts and spend time wisely.

Can I train for a half marathon in 8 weeks?

Yes! Most runners can successfully train for a half marathon in 8 weeks if they can already comfortably run about 3 miles. However, doing so requires a great deal of discipline and commitment.

Brand-new runners may find it difficult to work up their mileage in just 8 weeks, and may find it beneficial to spend time building a mileage base first. However, most most runners able to run 3-5 miles who are in good health can complete the plan.

Is this training plan for beginners or intermediate runners?

This 8 week half marathon training plan is designed for beginners and intermediate runners. Beginner runners can follow the plan as dictated, and intermediate runners can modify the plan to make it more challenging.

Prior to beginning the training program, runners should have a running base of about 3 miles and be in good overall health. Since 8 weeks is a shortened period of time for half marathon training, runners will need to be able to commit to all of the workouts in the plan.

How many months should you train for a half marathon?

The average time it takes to train for a half marathon is about 12 weeks, or 3 months. However, many seasoned runners can train for a half in as little as 4-6 weeks. For brand-new runners, half marathon training can take upwards of 4-6 months.

Breakdown of the 8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan

This 8 week half marathon training plan is formulated with the following schedule:

  • Monday: Easy run
  • Tuesday: Strength training
  • Wednesday: Interval run
  • Thursday: Easy run
  • Friday: Cross training
  • Saturday: Long run
  • Sunday: Rest (optional yoga recovery)

The training plan begins with an easy run of 3 miles in length and increases in distance over time. As the weeks progress, the quantity of intervals also increases, as well as long run distance and easy run mileage.

Due to the shortened period of time, the speed workouts primarily consist of intervals to improve VO2 max. Easy runs and long runs should be completed at a pace that is 60 – 90 seconds slower per mile than goal race pace, with intervals clocking in about 60 – 90 seconds per mile faster than goal pace.

Key Half Marathon Training Workouts

Below is a list of the key workouts included in this 8 week half marathon training schedule. Each week will include a mix of the following workouts, all of which serve a purpose for building fitness and endurance for a half marathon.

  • 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]
This 8 week half marathon training plan PDF is the perfect 2 month training schedule for beginners and intermediate runners.

How to Modify the 8 Week Half Marathon Training Program

Committing to training for a half marathon in 8 weeks requires consistency and discipline. Regardless of your previous running experience or current fitness level, increasing your mileage to prepare for 13.1 is no small feat.

However, regardless of how committed we may be, life happens and sometimes requires us to adjust runs or modify the training schedule. If you do find yourself needing to adjust your training plan for whatever reason, always begin by skipping a cross training workout.

If you need to adjust more than just one day, prioritize that long run and do whatever you can to get it in each week. If you’re wanting to increase the intensity of the training plan, try adding mileage to those easy runs or increasing interval repetitions during each speed workout.

6 Tips to Train for a Half Marathon in 8 Weeks

Training for a half marathon in 8 weeks will likely be different than most other training seasons. This time period is short, so you’ll need to be consistent and put forth great effort in order to conquer race day. Here are 6 tips for optimal success and enjoyment during these two months.

Stay consistent

Regardless of whether you’re aiming for a PR or simply running for fun, consistency is key to success on race day. 8 weeks is a relatively short amount of time to increase your mileage and build a training base, so it’s important to complete all the workouts and runs each week.

Slow down

One of the biggest mistakes distance runners make is running too fast – specifically during their long runs. Long runs should be completed at a pace that is 60 – 120 seconds slower per mile than goal pace.

Pushing too hard during a long run might actually be detrimental to your fitness and slow you down on race day. The goal of long runs and easy runs is simply to get in the mileage and help your body practice staying on its feet.

Don’t panic, though — those interval runs and speed workouts will give you the boost you need to push the pace on race day.

Mentally commit

If you’ve decided to run a half marathon in 2 months, you’ll need to do more than simply sign up for the race. Setting the goal and downloading an 8 week half marathon training plan require a significant mental commitment.

Commit to each workout, run and rest day. Spend time recovering, listening to your body, and adjusting your lifestyle to prioritize this training for the next 8 weeks. Training will feel impossible if you are not proactive about creating time and energy to complete the workouts.

Pay attention

Although it’s important to stick to the 8 week training plan as much as possible, sometimes an unexpected injury or illness might arise. It’s important to tune in to your body and listen to its cues and signals during training.

Skipping one workout to allow a niggle injury to heal or get rid of that runny nose is much easier than running through it and finding yourself sidelined for a full week due to pain or an illness that has progressed.

Adjust your lifestyle

Sticking a half marathon training plan up on your fridge and then deciding that you’ll fit each workout in whenever it works best is a plan destined for failure. Successfully running a half marathon in 8 weeks means you’ll need to adjust your lifestyle for the next 2 months.

For some, this means waking up before the sun to fit in a run. For others, it means saying no to the post-work outing in order to head home and complete your workout. Planning ahead each week, setting running gear out ahead of time, prepping meals and getting plenty of rest will set you up for massive success on race day.

Remember your goals

For most runners, simply finishing the 8 week half marathon training plan isn’t the ultimate goal. Imagining feeling great on race day, setting a new PR, enjoying a race with friends or finishing the 13.1 distance for the first time is all incredibly motivating when things feel tough during training.

If you’re struggling to finish a long run or get motivated for that mid-week workout, remind yourself of your big goals and why you chose to begin in the first place.

Download the 8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan PDF

Take the first step towards accomplishing your half marathon goals by downloading the 8 Week Half Marathon Training Plan PDF for free!

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