Half Marathon Training Plan: How To Train For 13.1 Miles

Half Marathon Training Plan Secrets: How to run faster race times (and do it injury-free)

Want to know how to run faster races time and NOT get injured? Great, I’ve got you covered. I’ve helped hundreds of people do this exact same thing on 6 continents.

Here’s the deal:

Your custom workouts will make or break your success.

Let’s start with the fundamentals.

What is the distance covered in a half marathon?

The distance covered is 13.1 miles (mi) or 21.1 kilometers (km).

What is the average time to run a half marathon?

In a recent study, the average time is 2:23:48 for women and 2:05:15 for men.

Can you train on a treadmill?

Ideally, you want to do most of your running on the same surface as your upcoming race. A variety of running surfaces is essential too.

Should you follow a 6-month training plan?

Yes BUT not the typical generic training schedule or app. If it’s not 100% customized to you, then don’t do it.

And while 6 months is a significant amount of time to train properly, it’s HOW you train in those 24+ weeks that make the difference.

How long does it take to train from scratch?

If you’re a beginner runner or have never completed even a 5K or 10K race, then you may find yourself rationalizing that you don’t need to train for 6 months because you’re “just a beginner.”

Make sure you do not fall into this trap.

Whether you’re going from couch to marathon, or you’re a seasoned professional runner, a 16-week plan is not enough time to adequately train either. 

If you’re not already thinking this way, then consider reframing your thought process like this: 6-months is the bare minimum level of commitment.

Because the truth is: it often takes us years to achieve big goals. Just look at people that train to run a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time or achieve their ideal body fat percentage.

Do you have to qualify for the New York competition?

No, you don’t have to qualify. You can get into the race through the lottery, various charities, or the 9+1 method.

Refer to the New York Road Runners (NYRR) website for details on entry.

What is the route of the New York half marathon?

The route runs point-to-point. The race starts in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, runs through Central Park, and finishes in the heart of NYC.

Customizing Your Plan: How to Train Effectively (Run Fast & Avoid Running Injuries!)


Step 1. Set your goals, write them down and challenge yourself to train to run your best half marathon.

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced runner, start off by setting appropriate goals for your  training program.

Research has shown that setting challenging goals is a critical factor in getting results.

Set big goals and small goals too. Be very specific. Research studies also show that writing goals down help us achieve them.

Most importantly, it’s how you do anything that makes the difference.

Step 2. Pick a half marathon and start scheduling your custom workouts.

If you haven’t registered for a race, do it now. After you’ve registered for a race race, and set/written your goals (not just in your mind), commit to the best plan possible. Do not wait.

But that’s not all.

Step 3. Be different than most runners.

Most runners do not train intelligently. And they get injured. Over and over and over again.

They follow generic workouts and cookie-cutter training schedules. Don’t be like them. Be different.

Step 4. Set big goals (and set your standards higher).

While it is tempting to try all of the various types of custom workout programs being spewed out to us in every other running magazine or social media post, be careful.

Here’s the deal:

If you follow a custom workout with the wrong kinds of runs or unintelligent scheduling of workouts, you’ll be disappointed. And if you do this for long enough, you’ll be done with running.

Step 5. Prioritize your endurance workouts.

Many half marathon runners struggle with aerobic runs. Far too often, runners make the common training mistake of running the wrong pace.

Why does this matter for endurance training?

As a result, they work hard completing runs that do not provide the essential benefits of aerobic running. One reason this happens is not often discussed: As athletes, we tend to be competitive, but it’s more than that.

During a run, the dopamine in our brains affect the way we think and make us prone to going too fast. That’s human nature. Besides, we are conditioned to believe the following is always true:

  • Faster is better
  • Harder is better
  • More is better

As you can imagine, this nature-nurture combination is not ideal for the training. However, in a race, these ideas hold some value.

No matter if you’re a beginner or professional runner, always include endurance workouts when you train for a half marathon. Is your #1 goal related to a marathon?

Step 6. Don’t neglect your stamina.

Stamina workouts, or threshold training runs, are also an essential ingredient in any half marathon training plan or full marathon training plan. The reason? Threshold workouts result in significant physiological benefits.

Threshold training, typically done at 83-88% of one’s maximum heart rate. Usually, this level means “comfortably hard.” It’s a challenging effort, but it’s far from an all-out sprint.

Stamina workouts come in many forms but usually comfortably hard intervals (often long ones).

Step 7. Speed kills.

Interval training combines rounds of high intensity with bouts of recovery. Intervals are set distances on a track, road, or trail. Also, a runner may have scheduled an interval workout measured in duration.

The time and speed of the intervals and recovery are planned well to target precise  Endurance, stamina, and speed workouts are three key workouts that you can NOT overlook in your half marathon training program. And I am not referring to generic workouts.

Don’t just pick random paces, distances, durations, or recovery times when training. Rather, ONLY do workouts based on your current fitness level. If you look at most half marathon training, you’ll notice that they focus on distance or time running per day.

They’re not based on the runner’s current fitness level. Even worse, these generic workouts are randomly put together into a template training plan.

Yours in training,



Scott Fishman is the founder of AllWorldU. He’s coached hundreds of athletes on 6 continents. Some of his clients include coaches, trainers, physical therapists, doctors, and elite athletes.

Half Marathon Training Plan: How To Train For 13.1 Miles