Hal Higdon: Half Marathon 3 (HM3)

Average Weekly Training Hours 01:27
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 01:27
Training Load By Week

Welcome to Half Marathon 3, or HM3. This is a new program created for my recent book, Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training. I designed HM3 to match my popular Marathon 3 program that features 3 days of running a week and 2 days of cross-training. It recognizes the fact that not all runners can handle 4, 5, 6 and especially not 7 days of running a week. We are all different and achieve success by various means. HM3 lasts 12 weeks aimed at the half marathon of your choice. In signing up for HM3, be sure to set the correct end date so all of the workouts fall into place for your goal race.

Monday in HM3 is always a day of rest to recover from the hard training on the weekend. Tuesdays and Thursdays are easy running days, conversational pace mostly. In between on Wednesdays, you cross train, the most popular form of cross-training being aerobic: cycling, swimming or even walking. Friday is another rest day with long runs on Saturdays and cross-training on Sundays, although you can flipflop those workouts for convenience.

For more information on HM3 along with a chart of all the workouts, visit my website, www.halhigdon.com. You will also find a full chapter on HM3 along with a lot of other advice in the Human Kinetics book, Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training.

Sample Day 2

Run 4 easy miles today! Tuesdays in my HM3 program feature a day of easy running, Run at a comfortable pace, slow enough so that you can hold a conversation with a training partner without getting too out of breath. Don’t force the pace on these Tuesday workouts under the mistaken belief that this will make you a better runner. It may not.

Sample Day 3

In HM3 you cross train for 30 minutes on Wednesdays. Biking works best because most runners enjoy the activity. But you could just as easily pick another aerobic discipline: walking, swimming, cross-country skiing. If you enjoy strength training, this might be a good day to pump some iron. Because of the variability of various exercises, I prescribe this workout in minutes, not miles. Note that there is a gradual increase in time as the program continues: 30 minutes increasing to 60 minutes.

Sample Day 4

Run 3 miles for your first Thursday workout in HM3. As the program continues, I will ask you to alternate between easy runs, tempo runs and pace runs. Consider Thursday the hard running workout day of the week, but you will be able to rest on Fridays to get ready for the harder weekend workouts.

Sample Day 6

Run 6 miles today at an easy pace. Saturdays in this HM3 program are dedicated to long runs. If you’re training for a half marathon, long runs are the most important workout of the week. The progression begins with a 6-mile workout today and increases 1 mile every other week to peak at 10 miles in the 3 weeks before your half marathon. Long runs should be conducted at a pace slower than you plan to run your half. Running too long and too fast and too often will simply wear you out and prevent you from achieving your goals.

Sample Day 7

Cross Train today for 60 minutes! If you enjoy biking on Wednesdays, you may want to climb back on your bike on Sundays too. Nothing wrong with that. But consider other aerobic exercises: walking, swimming, cross-country skiing (in season). Given the variety of different exercises, the prescription is in time, not distance. You cross-train 30 minutes in Week 1 and progress to 1 hour in the last few weeks before the half marathon. If you want to flipflop workouts (cross-training on Saturdays and running on Sundays), that is okay too.

Sample Day 9

Run 4 miles at an easy pace. In this second week of HM3, the distance of the Tuesday run stays the same. Gradual advances work best.You should be able to cruise through this workout looking forward to the half marathon you will run at the end of this program.

Sample Day 10

Cross train for 35 minutes. I am not alone in enjoying the bike rides I take for cross-training., But by the time I climb into my padded shorts and billboard shirt with three pockets in the rear and have gotten my bike out from the shed and programmed my GPS watch, I want to ride more than a half hour. And so may you. If so, keep on rolling, but do not turn this into a punishing anaerobic bash. Keep the bike in cruise control.

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).