Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Novice 2

Average Weekly Training Hours 01:00
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 01:00
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Novice 2: Half Marathon Novice 2 fills the gap between the former Novice (now Novice 1) half marathon program and the Intermediate programs. Novice 1 targets beginners. These are new runners who have only begun to train. The Intermediate program serves more experienced runners, those who have raced several half marathons and/or full marathons. Take a look at all three programs before you buy and see which group you might fit into best.

This Novice 2 half marathon program is very similar to my Novice 2 program for the full marathon. The pattern is the same. Fridays and Mondays are rest days surrounding the harder weekend workouts: long runs on Saturdays, cross training on Sundays. The midweek workouts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays also mimic the pattern of my novice marathon programs. One difference between Novice 1 and Novice 2 is that I prescribe some running at race pace midweek. All the directions plus a chart are available on attachments to this program or on my website: halhigdon.com. Every day I will send you emails telling you what to run that day and offering tips on training. Never before has training for a half marathon been easier.

Sample Day 2

An easy day. Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Over the next 12 weeks, you will continue to run 3 miles on Tuesdays. While this is a progressive program, the mileage build-up will occur in the Wednesday and Saturday workouts. It's all part of the design to get you ready to run 13.1 miles.

Sample Day 3

Three miles, same as yesterday. As the countdown continues, you will begin to run slightly more miles midweek, peaking at 5 miles in Weeks 9, 10 and 11. Remember: Consistency is the key to half marathon success.

Sample Day 4

Run the same distance that you did on Tuesday: 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Again, remember the walking-break option I suggested for you on Tuesday. Do you plan to do some strength training during this program? Tuesdays and Thursdays might be good days on which to lift--after you run.

Sample Day 6

Today is your long run. Even for a novice or beginning runner, 4 miles (today's workout) may not seem that long. But over the 12 weeks of this program, the distance for your Saturday run will increase to 12 miles. You'll hit that distance in Week 11, allowing a final week for you to taper before the half marathon. Don't worry too much about pace now; just run easily. If you want to do your long runs on Sundays rather than Saturdays, simply flip-flop the two workouts. Please note: At the top of each workout on the calendar, you will see time estimates. These estimates are based on 10:00 pace per mile, even though some of you will run faster, some will run slower.

Sample Day 7

Use this second day of the weekend to recover from your weekly long run by doing some easy cross-training. What kind of cross-training? The exercise you choose should be aerobic: an hour or so of walking, biking, swimming or some such activity. Swimming is a particularly useful activity, because you can use it to loosen muscles.

Sample Day 9

Today's workout is a run of 3 miles at a comfortable pace, the same as last week on Tuesday and the same as each Tuesday in this half marathon program. This workout shouldn't take a great deal of your time: 30 minutes if you run at a 10:00-mile pace. But forget I said that! I don't want you to go out and time yourself for 3 miles. The time estimates in this program are just that: estimates. In fact, your course doesn't need to be precisely 3 miles. It can be about that distance. Don't be trapped by numbers.

Sample Day 10

Another 3-miler, but with this difference. Run the 3 miles at race pace, that is: the pace you plan to run in the half marathon. In other words, your goal. Don't know your goal pace? You have several more months to figure it out. Meanwhile, a good estimate of what race pace might be should suffice.

Hal Higdon
Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).