Half Marathon Training Plans

I’m a planner, I can’t help it.

I have a few months and a few other training programs until I really need to think about half marathon training but I’ve been exploring some of my options.  There are an endless amount of programs out there that you can utilize.  From Runner’s World to Shape Magazine to specific running coaches.  Everyone seems to have the perfect plan to get you to 13.1.

I love to read Runner’s World and all the rest of the fitness magazines for general tips but when it comes to actual training plans, I tend to lean toward the experts.  That’s not to say that the magazines don’t employ experts but I seem to like following plans that are put out there by experienced people who focus primarily on training for certain distances.  Like Couch to 5K.  The program is proven to get you to the 5km distance in 8 weeks.  Tons of people have used the program and were able to conquer the distance.  I, myself have used the program with a lot of success.  As far as I can tell there was an original C25K program and many have copy catted the program.  That says something, it works!

So the other day I decided to throw out a question on a FB running page.  I wanted to know what half program most people used and had success with.  I’ve been trying to decide if Jeff Galloway (Run/Walk) or Hal Higdon is the way to go.  The majority of people on FB seemed to like the Hal Higdon program.  Many said that it was dependent on how I wanted to complete the half.  Do I want to run the whole thing or do I want to run/walk intervals to make it to the finish?  I had to really think about that.  My overachieving self wants to run the entire thing so I started leaning toward Hal Higdon.  My frugal self thought about how I had already downloaded the Jeff Galloway app to my phone.  In the end my overachieving self seems to be winning.  Like I said, I still have time to decide but here is what I’m thinking…

Hal Higdon

  • Don’t need the app.  Just go by the mileage schedule. (there are no intervals to keep track of)
  • Run the whole 13.1
  • There are several programs to choose from:  Novice 1 or 2, Intermediate, Advanced, Walk
  • Straight forward program
  • Has a” walk for one minute every 10 minutes” option
  • 4 days a week training schedule with cross training
  • 12 week schedule

Jeff Galloway

  • I already have the app. (needed to track intervals)
  • Run/Walk intervals have been proven to get you to the finish at about the same time as someone running the entire thing. Walk breaks allow you to “rest” your legs so that you can push hard during your run segments.
  • Run/Walk reduces possible risk for injury
  • Advice for time goals, if you have them
  • Very detailed program (even confusing if you ask me…my app has too many run/walk interval options and I don’t know how to choose…I think you choose your intervals depending on your per mile pace?)
  • Run/walk shuffle (???)
  • 3 days a week training schedule with one walk day
  • 19 or 17 week schedules

I almost feel like Jeff Galloway is for the very beginner.  It’s almost like a C25K program for the half marathon distance.  I could be totally wrong but that’s my take away.  Hal Higdon seems to build on the distance you already have.  Galloway’s program does specify that you should be able to at least walk 3 miles at the beginning.  Higdon’s requires you to be able to run that same distance.

I’m heavily leaning toward Hal Higdon, Novice 2.  By the time I get to my half program I hope to be averaging 6+ miles.  I think I mentioned it, but I plan on doing the Bridge to 10K program as soon as I’m done with C25K.  I know that’s not needed and I could skip the 10k distance and start training for the half but I would like that confidence factor knowing that I can do 6 miles when I start the half training.

Decision, decision.  Which would you chose?



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