Beginner Half Marathon plan with weekly Park Run

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Beginner Half Marathon plan with weekly Park Run


Tim Pigott

All plans by this Coach


12 Weeks

Typical Week

2 Day Off, 4 Run, 1 Custom, 1 Walk, 2 Other

Longest Workout

13.05 miles

Plan Specs

running half marathon beginner hr based

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This plan builds you up over 12 weeks to run a half marathon while incorporating a Park Run on Saturday. If you enjoy your weekly Park Run and want to incorporate this into your training, this is the plan for you.

The first phase of the plan emphasises technqiues to improve your running efficiency and reduce your risk of injury.

As the long weekend runs increase you will utilise a run-walk strategy, where you take a short walk break every mile. This short 'power walk' allows you to settle your heart rate and give your calves a rest. It also is a good time to take on a drink or gel in those longer runs, as you will do in the race going through an aid station. It has been shown that those who use this run-walk strategy do not fade towards the end of the run and thus finish in a quicker time compared to those who try and 'run' the whole way but fade and end up walking large sections towards the end.

Most of the Park Runs are set as easy aerobic runs, but you have a couple which are assigned as benchmark tests where you can run hard and go for that personal best. There is also a 10k test if you can find a suitable race to do, otherwise do your own test run to check you are training at the right intensity.




Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 01:28
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 01:28
Average Weekly Breakdown

Tim Pigott

Health & Performance 3

My area of expertise is working with athletes who have been struggling with illness or injury and returning them to peak performance, particularly the longer distance events.

I am a sports physiotherapist, with over 15yrs experience working with beginners through to international & Olympic athletes from a multitude of sports, and university researcher. Coupled with S&C, Retül Bike Fit (IBFI 4), British Triathlon level2 and British Athletics, I can help you return to, or realise your potential.

Sample Day 1

3mile run - Cadence

Check cadence: count left foot strikes 15 seconds. Goal is 22 or higher / 170steps a minute or higher. Research has shown that increasing your natural cadence by 8-10% can reduce the risk of injury, or help rehabilitate following injury. Therefore, this week calculate you cadence and then we will be using a metronome (download one to your phone) and train you run to a faster beep. This week just measure it, either by counting your foot strikes or if your watch has a cadence sensor then look at your data. TrainingPeaks will report this in the box on the left of this screen. You are thus looking for the number there to be 85 or higher.

Sample Day 2

Cross training - walk / bike / swim

Try to do 30-60minutes of cross training, which is any additional aerobic exercise which is not running. This might be going for a swim, riding a bike, using an elliptical / cross trainer at the gym, or even just going for a brisk walk. These all help build your engine but without the impact stress on your legs.

Sample Day 3

3mile run - light feet

Focus on low impact through the feet - what do you need to do to be light and quiet. Use a treadmill for enhanced feedback of ground impact. Be a Ninja!

Sample Day 4

Foam roller / soft tissue mobility

See the attached video for a few examples of techniques you can use to do some self massage with a foam roller.

Sample Day 5

Park Run - Breathing focus

As you are running focus on your breathing technique. What rhythm do you breathe? 3:2 (3 foot strikes to breathe in - 2 foot strides to breathe out) or 4:3 or 3:4?  

Try and control and time your breathing so that you alternate which foot hits the ground as you start to breathe in. This balances the stress on each limb to co-ordinate the activation of the diaphragm as you initiate a breathe. If you always time your breathing to a dominant leg then you run the risk of under stabilising the opposite leg.

You can use this breathing technique as a meditation technique to help you focus and stay present during your long runs and racing.

Sample Day 6

4mile run - systems check

Systems check-
Feet - how are they landing? (light on mid-foot)
Knees - are they straight, not collapsing in.
Hips - squeeze the glutes, pelvis level
Core - squeeze the abs/pull in belly button
Chest - tall but rib cage down - breathing lateral-costally
Shoulders - back and down
Elbows - tucked in
Hands - nice and relaxed
Head - lifted tall, looking forward.

Sample Day 6

Weekly roundup

Spend 5mins this evening reflecting on the past week and setting yourself goals/targets for next week. This review is both for your training, and general life. Remember, we are about Health & Performance, so make sure you are reflecting on both aspects. 

Rate how hard you perceived this past week's training: 
1 (very easy) --- 10 (extremely tough)

Rate your external stress from the past week (eg. family life, personal, work, etc) 
1(very little) --- 10 (extremely stressful)

What went well this week -
What needs improvement -
What are your goals for next week -

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