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Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Intermediate 1


Hal Higdon

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4.23 (22)


12 Weeks

Plan Specs

running half marathon

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Plan Description

Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Intermediate 1: With the publication of my recent book, Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training, I created three new programs not only for the book, but interactive here through TrainingPeaks. Previously, there was only one, titled simply "Intermediate." Now there are two: "Intermediate 1" and "Intermediate 2." The difference is that Intermediate 1 is an endurance-based program; Intermediate 2 is a speed-based program. These two intermediate schedules exist in a parallel universe, the same level of difficulty, just slightly different approaches to training. They are part of the logical progression upward from Novice through Intermediate to Advanced for the half marathon distance.

Half Intermediate 1 features steady running, long and short. Mondays are for cross-training serving as recovery from the weekend workouts. Tuesdays and Thursdays offer short and easy runs, bracketing the sorta-long runs on Wednesdays, the middle of the week. Fridays are rest days leading to the weekend workouts. Some Saturdays are easy; some feature pace runs. Long runs, from 4 miles in Week 1 to 12 miles in Week 11, are scheduled for Sundays, although you can flipflop days if you want. There is a taper period of 10-11 days.

Before you buy, take a look at Intermediate 2 and also look back at Novice 2. Make sure you pick the correct program for your level of ability. If you have any doubt, err on the side of easy. I don't want you to overtrain, or to undertrain. Find the correct program to get you to the finish line of your half marathon with a smile on your place.

For more information, check out my Web site, www.halhigdon for information on all my programs.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:05 hrs 0:30 hrs
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0:30 hrs 1:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:05 hrs 0:30 hrs
—— ——
0:30 hrs 1:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

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).

Sample Day 1


Welcome to my Intermediate 1 program for the half marathon. This is Intermediate 1, a relatively new program created for my book, Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training. Intermediate 1 fits conveniently between Novice 2 and the old Intermediate program, renamed Intermediate 2. The difference between those programs is that Intermediate 1 focuses on endurance, Intermediate 2 focuses on speed, including one day of speedwork a week. Mondays in Intermediate 1 features cross-training 9 of the 12 weeks with 3 of the weeks for rest. Begin today with a half hour of cross-training.

Sample Day 2


An easy day. Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Over the next 12 weeks, you will gradually increase the length of your Monday runs from 3 to 5 miles. Seemingly the increase is minor, but it's all part of the design to get you ready to run 13.1 miles. But start easy! If even running 3 miles seems a strain for you, don't hesitate to mix in a walking break.

Sample Day 3


Four miles, one mile further than yesterday. As the countdown continues, you will begin to run slightly more miles midweek, peaking at 8 miles in Weeks 9 and 10. These are what I call my "sorta-long" runs. 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, consider the walking-break option if you need a bit of a break mid-run. Learning to stop running then run again is a talent worth nurturing, since you can use the stop-start approach going through aid stations in the race. 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


Three miles is a pretty short run, particularly since you already had three runs this week at that distance or longer. But over the 12 weeks of this program, the distance for your Saturday and Sunday runs will increase. On a half dozen days, I will also ask you to run at race pace. Don't worry too much about pace now; just run easily.

Sample Day 7


I dedicate Sundays to long runs. While 4 miles hardly seems very "long," the mileage will climb relentlessly during the 12 weeks of this program to peak at 12 miles the weekend before your half. With pace runs on Saturdays, the weekend workouts are not easy. But if you wanted "easy," you would not have signed up for the Intermediate 1 half marathon training program.

Sample Day 8


Monday is an easy day. Continue to remind yourself of that fact. Do some cross-training, for a half hour, but only at a very, very easy level. It may not seem like you need to rest after only a 3-miler and a 4-miler over the weekend, but you will be thankful for this day of relative rest as the program continues. Also, evaluate how you felt after your first week of training. A lot of people play at running, working out three or four days a week, doing a long run on the weekends, entering an occasional race, sometimes gearing up for a marathon. For a while, they'll improve just on accumulated mileage, but after several years it becomes increasingly difficult to set Personal Records. To do that, you need to train. Training is when you follow a schedule, such as this one.

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