Half Marathon Training Plan

Feeling unprepared for your upcoming half marathon? Worry not. Unbound has your back

“This 12-week half marathon training plan will take you from being able to run 5k to being able to run 21k, with only three sessions a week,” says leading strength and conditioning coach Jonny Jacobs. “There are two runs scheduled per week, and one interval training session to help increase your pace and improve your cardiovascular fitness, through short-but-tough bursts of running with smaller recovery times.

“One thing I would say is, it’s advisable to be able to run 5k comfortably before attempting a half marathon.”

Glossary of terms

Interval training

Repeatedly performing an activity at a high intensity, followed by the same activity at a lower intensity – sprinting then slow jogging, for example. Interval training is an integral part of most running and fitness workouts – be sure you’ve got the right plan on the go for you. Have a quick read of Unbound’s guide for beginners here.

Easy run

This means running at a pace where you’re just about able to hold a conversation without gasping.

Fast run

Running at a pace at which you’re unable to hold a conversation.

Organised run

A scheduled training run with a group, or an official event.

Mind coaching

Use ‘chunking’

“Running is repetitive, so it’s important to compartmentalise the event and not see the race as a whole,” says top sports psychologist and space physiologist Julia Attias. “Use self-talk tactics such as, ‘All I’m doing is just running one more mile.’ Chances are, you’ll then think ‘Hey, that wasn’t that bad, I can do another one…’”


“Picture the spectators who are cheering you on from the sidelines, and your friends back at home who’ll be thinking of you while you’re running,” says Attias.

Stay focused on your goal

“The only goal that should matter to you, both before and during the event, is your own,” says Attias. “For example: you should view a competitor passing you as a possible extra motivation to speed up – don’t think of it as falling behind.”

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