Classic Half-Marathon Schedules

10-week schedules for every runner

Posted: 7 May 2002
by Bruce Tulloh

These schedules run for 10 weeks and cover three broad bands of runners.

  • Band one: Sub-1:25
    This band covers serious athletes. The schedule will take you up to over 50 miles a week, which is about as much training as is compatible with a lifestyle that involves a job and a family. The main ingredients of the programme are repetition and interval running, but with an emphasis on continuous, fast-paced runs to build up your speed endurance. Thus, much of your steady running should be at around threshold pace, which is reckoned to be the speed of your best 10 miles; this is slightly above half-marathon pace, but it is the best pace to train at.
  • Band Two: 1:25-1:50
    This time range takes you up to a regular 40 miles a week, though many runners would still be able to do themselves justice by substituting one easy run for a rest day and running closer to 35 miles a week. The key here is to get used to good-quality sessions, particularly repetition runs, where you are running fast (at about 10K pace) for several minutes at a stretch.
  • Band three: 1:50+
    This band covers beginners and those who have been over the distance once before, in around two hours, and would now like to try for something a little faster. The schedules assume that you have already got into the running habit and are doing two or three miles at a time, about three times a week. The important thing in this programme is to build up your endurance. The pattern is to keep most of the runs to 20 or 30 minutes, which can easily be fitted into the day, but to do one long run a week. This run gradually increases in distance over the weeks. The training volume levels out at about 22 miles a week, spread over four runs.

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Discuss this article

I started running about six months ago in order to try and lose some weight. Well, I have been bitten by the bug and now try to run four times a week. My mileage is about 20 - 25 miles per week. I have always been a plodder, runnig at about 9 min miles. I have entered the Bristol Half Marathon, due in ten days and am having a crisis of confidence. I lost four weks training eralier in the year due to injury and so far my longest run has been 9 miles in 1 hour 25 mins. I feel I should try one more long run (11 miles) before being confident for the Bristol half. What should I do!!!
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 11:46


If you've done so much training already it would be a shame not to run it. Injury happens to all of us and you've obviously recovered so go for it. Take your time, don't go off too fast (with the rush of adrenalin at the start like I always do) and just enjoy the experience.

If you feel the need to do one more long run then do it.

Posted: 11/09/2002 at 12:15

I have completed 3 halfs since i started running 9 months ago.The longest training run i have done for each is ten miles.I would say go for it.Take it easy, for your first half all you want to be concerned about is finishing,also watch that first mile it is very easy to get dragged along in that first mile.
See you there.
I will be wearing a Mister Men vest as i am running for charity.
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 12:30

YEs Yes Yes Yes - go for it !!
I had a similar dilema last week about whether to do a long training run or enter a half marathon on Saturday. I ended up being convinced to run the half and it was fab - great sense of achievement. If you can run 9 miles the extra will be easy what with the other runners and supporters there to egg you on.
Go for it and all the best

Posted: 11/09/2002 at 13:22


I am sure you could manage the half without the 11 mile training run, as it sounds like you have been doing lots of training. However I do understand your anxiety. I did my first half recently and I did a 13 mile training run before. It did help mentally mainly I think, as I neared the end of the race and I got tired I kept going as I knew I could do it - there was no excuse!

Good luck.
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 13:24

To avoid getting carried away at the start and going off too fast, start towards the back the the pack. It is a big race so this should ensure you take it easy at first.
You CAN do it.
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 13:51

Sure you'll be fine. My tip is make sure that you start as near to the back of the field as possible. When the gun goes and people around you start moving, stand still for 10 seconds, then start running slooooowly.


Posted: 11/09/2002 at 13:52

Argh Fat Face, you got in before me - that was meant to be MY tip. I haven't got any other ones!

Posted: 11/09/2002 at 13:53

Firstly 9 min miles isnt slow.
Secondly agree with top tipsters that starting further back means you won't start with the speed kings
Thirdly doing 11 miles at this late stage will do more harm than good
Fourth start slow, and aim to stick to 9+min miling at least for the first half of the race , if you find yourself at 6 miles in 50 minutes (quick-based off your 9 mile time) you will find the run in painful.Better to get there in nearer 56-60 , so check your watch at mile intervals and slow yourself if necessary.
If you get to 10 in around 90-95 and feel good then you can enjoy the run in and the race.
Fifth, the event,the crowds, the runners and adrenalin will be worth a mile or three anyhow.

Go fot it and we expect a report on the 'events' thread in due course.

Remember above all enjoy the run.You'll do fine.
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 14:23

Yeah go for it and enjoy yourself. You'll only think "what if ? " if you don't
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 14:26

There will be plenty of people from the forum there by the sound of it.. quite a few starting at the 2.10 pace (see the thread on bristol under events) - I managed 10 before my first half... and so what if I had to walk a bit in the last few miles?

Posted: 11/09/2002 at 16:54

Go for it Peter, I am doing the GNR next month & thats my first 1/2M & I can only run 9m in 1:40 so I would be really happy to be in your shoes now

Good Luck
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 17:00

Go for it. I ran my first half-marathon after 'only' running a 9-miler in training and I was fine. There's nothing that you can do now that will make much difference on the day and an 11-miler might cause more harm than good.

You honestly get carried along by the atmosphere on the day.
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 17:19

Go for it, enjoy the experience you have done enough training so there will be no problem. I did my first half after 4 months training and giving up a 20 a day habit. Loved every minute of and have been enjoying halves ever since. The Great North is next, bring it on I can't wait.

Good luck
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 20:35

Sounds like your concerns are quite normal. Do Bristol, tell us all how brilliant it was and then put your name down for Bath next year. It's going to be my first and two weeks before that I anticipate posting a thread much like this one!
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 21:26

I started running last year at the grand old age of 47 and did the GNR. The furthest i ever got it training beforehand was a couple of 10 mile sessions and I managed the GNR in 2.05 despite having problems with my hamstrings around the 10 mile mark. Its worth doing just to experience the feeling of completing the race at the end. Its the best feeling in the world - nearly !!! Good luck
Posted: 11/09/2002 at 21:56

Hi, I have entered the Great North Run as my first half marathon and am aiming for under 2hrs. The training has gone to plan but I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks for a fortnight. Am I better to do a couple of long runs or to try and still run 5 days a week but they'll be short?
Posted: 15/07/2003 at 10:11

Don't think you will have a problem if you can manage 9 miles. I'm in the Great North Run next month and the training is not going to plan. Only running 4 miles max at the momment!. Ran the Great South Run (10m) in 1h 32mins last year with max training session of 8 miles. Treat the first 2-3 miles as a very slow warm up.

Anyone else not trained enough for the GNR.
Posted: 16/08/2003 at 16:16

Firstly Peter, I think you're mistaken about it being in 10 days the Bristol 1/2 is on 7th Sept that's 3 weeks away.

Second, you'll be fine on the training you've done, but if you are concerned you now have the time to do a longer run.

Good luck!
Posted: 16/08/2003 at 17:10

hilly ... if you look at the dates I think you'll find Peter actually finished the race about a year ago :-)
Posted: 26/08/2003 at 13:00

I have my first half marathan this weekend, I beleive I am metally prepared having trained hard for the last few months, but don't know what to do about drinks. There will be drinks available, but how often or how much should I drink whilst running?
Posted: 01/09/2003 at 15:41

LOL!! Why was it brought back a year later? I never look at the dates!
Posted: 01/09/2003 at 16:09

and my bit of advice: acknowledge the crowd! If some lonely spectator is clapping for you, look 'm in the eye and smile. Makes it a nicer experience for everyone!

Posted: 01/09/2003 at 16:46

Jezza - you're not the only one who's not done enough training for the GNR - Past fortnight have only run twice as dodgy stomach and now am panic-stricken at the mere mention of Sunday. I was doing 8-9 miles fairly happily but illness has obviously made me weaker.

Feeling fine now and back to running 6 but is it too little, too late? Should I just pull out?
Posted: 15/09/2003 at 15:23

Don't pull out! Just do it for the experience. My total miles over the past 5 weeks has ranged from 0 to 10 (injury followed by illness). I'm just doing some gentle runs this week and have lowered my target from 2hrs to 2.25hrs and even with that said i'll just see what happens on the day.
Good Luck with your GNR
Posted: 16/09/2003 at 08:22

Should you run 13 miles...
No I'd go for 13.1
Ha Ha

Seriously though, go for it
Posted: 16/09/2003 at 09:10

Thanks for the encouragement - I think it's just first time nerves making me feel worse!!
Posted: 16/09/2003 at 09:21

trying the new forest 1/2 on 19th sept. just had a really awful 8 miles (less than usual) so now i'm worrying i'll not make it.
p.s i run really'really slowly
Posted: 05/09/2004 at 22:15

if I have a really good run before a race then I seem to have a bad race, so you've had your bad run and the race should be good. If your bad run was this weekend the heat will played a significant part in it.
You will be fine to do the New Forerst, just take it steady and if you are feeling good pick it up towards the end.

Posted: 06/09/2004 at 17:00

Whatever runs you get in before then remember to relax and not worry. Can you walk 13.1 miles? If the answer is yes then there is nothing to worry about at all.

Start toward the back (so you aren't passed by millions in the first mile), take your time to warm up over the first 5k and then settle down from there on in. If you feel comfortable then try picking off runners in front of you one at a time and steadily, no quick changes in speed (unless you can see the finish line!). That will make it much more enjoyable experience.

I had run over 12 miles for my first half marathon. On the day I was stressed out. Rediculous..I wasn't there to win! I should have treated it like I did my second the GNR which I loved every minute of. There I followed my first paragraph, started really slowly, and knocked 15 mins off my first half marathon time.

Posted: 06/09/2004 at 19:24

started near the back, went really steadily, felt good at 7 miles. finished in 2hrs 2mins !! absolutely chuffed to bits.
Posted: 19/09/2004 at 21:23

I am doing the GNR on Sunday for first time and am very nervous. Had been suffering with bad stomach but now seemed to have sussed what to eat before long run. Did over 1 hour and 40 minutes on saturday although was circuits and not sure of actual distance. Think I can do it but am getting a bit stressed now. Will just see how it goes.
Posted: 21/09/2004 at 14:05

good luck to everyon for sunday - just enjoy it
Posted: 21/09/2004 at 16:50

need help to try and improve my 1/2m time ready for the midnight run in tromso norway 18th june
four village 2h.57m
ironbridge 1/2m 2h.52m
hope to do the twywn 1st may
the chester 1/2m 22 may
any one out there can help me
Posted: 26/03/2005 at 16:49


I'm having trouble as well. Everything was going really well up until a week ago, had a great 9 mile long run was supposed to go for my long run yesterday but my shin's were playing up. I don't know what to do now, shall I try my long run tomorrow?

I know it's close to the race but if I don't, by the time the GNR comes round it will have been 4 weeks since a long run!

Posted: 05/09/2005 at 13:28


Go to Bupa GNR thread for chat about this...

Lots of like-minded people who are all doing this race - sure somebody will be able to offer advice....
Posted: 05/09/2005 at 16:04


I completed my first 12 miler in preparation for the GNR and since then I have only managed to run 5 miles and two 2.5 milers because my knee feels like its going to pop out!!

I was going really well have been training for 4 months and was very chuffed to be able to run 12 miles but now all my confidence is lost and I dont know whether I will be fit enough!!!!

Posted: 16/09/2005 at 16:32

Sorry I should say that it was 4 weeks ago since my biggest run. So i have had 3 short runs in 3 weeks and the run is on Sunday!!! Eeeek

Posted: 16/09/2005 at 16:33

I have rearly enjoyed reading the messages
i have managed the leek 1/2, then the wolverhampton 1/2 and last sunday the great lake vyrnwy i was please with my time 2h.43m i hope to improve my time in the next few 1/2m thanks everyone. any one running the meebrook i will do it for my 62nd birthday treat ... better than the tele
the mad women from broseley
Posted: 16/09/2005 at 21:22

Go for it peter,I'm just startiing up again after 10 years off but the Bristol was one of my faves,Its pretty flat and really enjoyable,Don't miss out on the opportunity.I let me running go some years back and have regretted every day.Halfs are great,hit that 10 mark and fire on all cylinders ,Go for it fella!!
Posted: 25/03/2006 at 05:05

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