10-Week Half-marathon Training Program for Intermediate Runners

Man running along waterfront, New York, USA
Man running along waterfront, New York, USACultura RM Exclusive/Edwin Jimenez / Getty Images

When you’re looking to step up your racing distance from a 10K to a half-marathon, the main priority is increasing your endurance—extending your ability to maintain your current pace past 7 miles. It may seem counterintuitive, but you gain speed through endurance.

Let’s say, for example, you can currently run an 8:00 min/mile for a 10K. If you can extend that pace out to 10 miles, when you go back and run a 10K, you’ll be clocking faster times. The effort seems easier, so you can ramp up the speed.

This 10-week program is focused on just that—building your endurance and extending your current speed for a longer distance. Of course you can’t expect to reflect your 10K pace in a half-marathon in just 10 weeks, but you can absolutely make great strides that’ll benefit both races. First, you’ll acclimate your body to running a new, longer distance, then, over time, you’ll improve on your performance (speed) at that distance.

This program is designed for everyday athletes balancing work, life, and training. We understand that not every week of your life is consistent and you’ll face hurdles along the way, so don’t freak about adhering to a super strict, structured plan. What we’re providing here is more of a to-do list.

What’s more, we’re breaking the traditional model of basing your runs on distance and, instead, use time. This makes it easy to convert the workouts from indoors treadmill sessions to outdoor workouts. And, if needed, you could even convert the run to a workout on an erg or elliptical.

The program is based on three key runs a week with a host of supporting workouts from strength training and cross training. The three “Priority Runs” are listed in order of importance (P1, P2, P3), as are the supporting workouts. The goal is to get in as many of the workouts as your schedule allows, with the goal of at least P1-P4. It doesn’t matter which days you perform these workouts, but try not to do the runs on back to back days if you can avoid it.

Sample Week Layout

  • Monday – Rest Day or P7 Supporting Workout
  • Tuesday – P2 Run
  • Wednesday – P5 Supporting Workout
  • Thursday – P3 Run
  • Friday – P4 Strength Workout
  • Saturday – P6 Supporting Workout
  • Sunday – P1 Long Run

Week 1

  • P1 – 70-min Long Run: The long-run structure will remain the same throughout the program. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  • P2 – 45-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 10min at 10K pace/effort
    ○ 5min at 5K pace/effort
    ○ 10min at 10k pace/effort
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run (“speed play” intermixing periods of fast and slow running):
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 4 x 6min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 Strength Workout
  • P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving.

Week 2

  • P1 – 80-min Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  • P2 – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 20min at 10K pace/effort
    ○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P345-min Hill Repeats: Find a hill that has an incline between 2-6 degrees and takes 2min or longer to run up. If you don’t have a local hill, use a treadmill or substitute a fartlek run.
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 5 x 5 min (2min uphill at 5K pace/effort, 3min recovery at marathon pace/effort down hill)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 – Strength Workout
  • P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving.

Week 3

  • P190-min Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  •  P260-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 30 min at 10K pace/effort
    ○ 10 min at 5K pace/effort
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 4 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 – Strength Workout
  • P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving.

Week 4

  • P1 – 1hr 40min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  • P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 6 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P3 – 50-min Hill Repeats:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 6 x 5 min (2min at 5K pace/effort uphill, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort downhill)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
    P4 – Strength Workout
    P5,6,7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 5

  • P1 – 1hr 50min- Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  • P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 3 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P3 – 50-min Fartlek Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 5 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P4 – Strength Workout
  • P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 6

  • P1 – 2-hour Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  • P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 2 x (15min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 3min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P3 – 55-min Hill Repeats:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 7 x 5 min (2min at 5K pace/effort uphill, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort downhill)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 – Strength Workout
  •  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 7

  •  P1 – 2hr 10min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  •  P2 – 57-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 3 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 5-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P3 – 50-min Fartlek Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 5 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 – Strength Workout
  •  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 8

  • P1 – 2hr 20min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.
  •  P2 – 57-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 2 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 1 x (15min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 3min at marathon pace/effort)
    ○ 5-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P3 – 55-min Hill Repeats:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 7 x 5min (2-min uphill at 5K pace/effort, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort down hill)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  • P4 – Strength Workout
  • P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 9 – Taper Week

  •  P1 – 75-min Long Run: Keep the effort at a Marathon pace/effort for the entire run.
  •  P2 – 60-min Intensive Endurance Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 30min at 10K pace/effort
    ○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run:
    ○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
    ○ 4 x 6min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
    ○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
  •  P4 – Strength Workout
  •  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 10 – Race Week – Follow structure based on the day your race falls on.

If your race falls on a Saturday:
Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 20min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Wednesday – Light Stretching/Yoga

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – 25-min Pickup Run: Keep an easy pace (don’t worry about your time). About every 5min, “pick up” your pace to your target race pace for 1min. These are not sprints, just a slight increase in pace/effort. After the 1min pickup, return to your easy pace/effort and repeat until the allotted time.

Saturday – RACE DAY

If your race falls on a Sunday:

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 20 min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10 min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Wednesday – Light Stretching/Yoga

Thursday – 45-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 10 min at 10K pace/effort
○ 5 min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10 min at 10k pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday25-min Pickup Run: Keep an easy pace (don’t worry about your time). About every 5min, “pick up” your pace to your target race pace for 1min. These are not sprints, just a slight increase in pace/effort. After the 1min pickup, return to your easy pace/effort and repeat until the allotted time.

Sunday – RACE DAY

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