Half Marathon 16 Week Training Plan | Tips to PR

Are you aiming to follow a new and strategic half marathon 16 week training plan? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am certain you have come to the right website. 4 months is sufficient time to train properly for a half marathon. It is a wise move on your part to not be in a rush trying to get into great shape for a 13.1 mile or 21.1 kilometer race.

In fact. I always advise the runners I coach and mentor here to train for at least 16 weeks for their half marathons. The optimal time frame to prepare is 16 to 20 weeks. I have created half marathon 16 week training plan options here at RunDreamAchieve. In addition, have shorter plans ranging from 8 to 12 weeks. Seeking to train longer than 16 weeks for your half marathon? If so, you may want to check out our 20 to 24 week half marathon training plans.

Remember, it isn’t about the volume that you are doing as much as it is the quality. We as runner usually have time goals in mind. So, we want to run at goal pace from start to finish. Pace sustainment is one of the biggest problems for most runners. Sure, we can sustain pace for a portion of our race but what about for the entire race?

Is 16 Weeks Enough to Train for a Half Marathon?

Yes, absolutely. 16 weeks provides the athlete enough time to adapt to the harder, anaerobic workouts. The world’s top runners are running between 35 to 40% of their weekly mileage at or below their anaerobic threshold. We do our tempo runs around 85 to 89 percent of our maximum heart rate. So, the best runners make it look easy for a reason.

They are simply running more often at more aggressive paces. Higher mileage is not a gurantee that you are going to run a faster half marathon. So, the 16 week half marathon training plan options available here focus on you using leverage. I’d much rather you work smarter rather than harder and get better results. The half marathon training plans here range anywhere from 29 miles early on to around 70 miles a week later.

Again, we want to focus on progressive workouts. It takes the body between 3 to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress being placed on it. So, focus on one intensity for about a month before moving to the next intensity. I would recommend running easy, aerobic mileage for at least 4 weeks before starting a half marathon 16 week training plan. The reason for this is you will be building a strong foundation. You don’t want to start doing speed workouts and tempo runs until you first build general fitness.

How Do I Prepare for a Half Marathon in 16 Weeks?

I would recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. Some of the world’s top middle to long distance runners utilize these tools to get to the elite level. Again, I want you training smarter, not harder. It is much easier to focus on staying at the correct heart rate zones in training. Yes, the splits you are hitting per mile or per kilometer will quicken as you get fitter.

You may be running at 165 beats per minute during your tempo runs hitting 8 minute mile pace early on. 6 to 8 weeks down the line you will be running at 7:15 per mile pace at the same heart rate. So, proper planning and making sure you are not over training is one major way of preparing properly for a half marathon. I use the Garmin 245 regularly and highly recommend it. Of course, there are many more options available on Amazon or elsewhere to choose from.

Focus on Faster Long Runs

Yes, easy long runs are also important. That being said, one of the top ways to prepare for a half marathon is to start implementing faster, varied paced long runs into your training. Below is an example of a varied paced long run I did prior to running 1:07:06 for the half-marathon. I also ran 2:19:35 for the marathon using this strategy.

  • 2 mile jog, 5 miles@5:25 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 3 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:10, 3 miles@6:20 mile pace (19 miles)

I would always run the following week’s long run at or around 8 to 9 minute mile pace. So, always alternate a faster long run the following week with a relaxed long run. Again, adaptation is absolutely vital for dropping significant time off of your current personal best for the half marathon distance.

Develop Your Leg Speed

The half marathon is a highly aerobic event. That being said, you still need to work on your speed to get your goal half marathon race pace to feel easier. We want to get your half marathon race pace to feel more like your marathon race pace. Easy running won’t do this. Faster, highly aggressive running will. Remember, the faster we run the more fast twitch muscle fibers we will recruit.

The more fast twitch muscle fibers we can recruit the more efficient we are going to cover these 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. Proper pacing is also essential. So, focus your energies on running a negative split. It is a much wiser move to run conservative in the first half of your race and running all out the last half. Examples of vo2 max workouts are hill repetitions, track or road intervals and fartlek workouts.

It is running between 95 to 100 percent of you maximum heart rate. Vo2 max training is running at speeds that are so fast we can’t clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Naturally, we need to take a few seconds to minutes to rest in between these harder efforts. Remember, the benefits of your hard training come from within the rest cycle. So, be patient and allot between 24 to 72 hours of rest between each of your harder workouts.

How Long Should Your Longest Run Be Before a Half Marathon?

It will depend on the athlete. That being said, my longest runs were usually anywhere from 13 to 17 miles. I would do my longest long run about 3 to 4 weeks out from my main races. Remember, the world’s top runners are training at higher intensities more often each week. So, to drop significant time off of your current half marathon PR faster training is essential.

Easy, recovery running is also vital in order to succeed. I have trained with 2:10 marathoners who would jog 8 to 9 minute mile pace on their easy days. Remember, these athletes could sustain under 5 minute mile pace for 26.2 miles. So, if runners of this caliber can slow down and take it easy so why can’t we? In fact, I used this tactic to run 1:07:06 for the half marathon and 2:19:35 for the marathon.

Closing Thoughts

Be sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I focus on making regular training and racing content there each week. More importantly, to share strategies with runners of all capabilities. How much time are you devoting each week to mental training? I ask that because most runners only focus on physical training.

Physical training is only doing 50 percent of the work. You wouldn’t have read this far if you were simply seeking average results. It tells me you are seeking excellence. So, start spending 10 to 15 minutes daily seeing yourself crossing that finish line with your goal half marathon time on the clock. Also, running relaxed, confident and passing people.

We have to train the mind just as we do the body. The problem is most runners bypass this critical and most vital fundamental of middle to long distance running success. Keep me updated and stay in touch with me on the YouTube channel. I am looking forward to hearing about your upcoming personal bests.

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