Getting ready for a half marathon is an exciting challenge, especially when there are complications to consider. Maybe you are the primary caregiver for your children and can’t be away for hours training for your race. Or you may live in an area where outside running isn’t a great idea, either because of the locals or weather.
In any such case, you can effectively train for your upcoming half marathon on a treadmill. Many elite athletes have utilized treadmills when needed, so you are in good company.
With the goal of getting you race-ready, we running devotees at Treadmill Reviews have created a workout schedule designed to optimize your body’s performance and get you ready for the big race.
Half Marathon Workout Terminology
To make sure there is no confusion, here’s a short key of terms we will be using in our workout schedule.
- Rest – Take the day to recover, do not engage in activities more strenuous than walking.
- M – All our training distances are measured in miles (aside from races), so for short, we will place an “m” next to whatever mile distance is on the schedule that day.
- Cross – On cross training day, they will be labeled “cross” with a recommendation for the amount of time you should spend cross training.
- Race – We recommend either finding a 5K and 10K to test how you are progressing. If that isn’t in the cards, be sure you run those two race days at your race pace.
12-Week Half Marathon Beginner Schedule
While you don’t have to follow the exact days we have noted on our schedule, we strongly encourage you to stick to how the days are laid out in regards to the distance, rest, and cross-training.
|1||Rest||3 m run||2 m run or cross||3 m run||Rest||4 m run||30 min cross|
|2||Rest||3 m run||2 m run or cross||3 m run||Rest||4 m run||30 min cross|
|3||Rest||3.5 m run||3 m run or cross||3.5 m run||Rest||5 m run||40 min cross|
|4||Rest||3.5 m run||3.5 m run||4 m run||Rest||5 m run||40 min cross|
|5||Rest||4 m run||3.5 m run||4 m run||Rest||6 m run||40 min cross|
|6||Rest||4 m run||4 m run||30 min cross||Rest||5K race||40 min cross|
|7||Rest||3 m run||5 m run||2 m run||Rest||8 m run||50 min cross|
|8||Rest||3 m run||5 m run||3 m run||Rest||9 m run||50 min cross|
|9||Rest||4 m run||5 m run||3 m run||Rest||10K race||50 min cross|
|10||Rest||4 m run||5 m run||3.5 m run||Rest||10 m run||60 min cross|
|11||Rest||4 m run||5 m run||3 m run||Rest||11 m run||60 min cross|
|12||Rest||3 m run||2 m run||2 m run||Rest||Rest||Half Marathon|
As you can see from our beginner half marathon schedule, you will not be running over 11 miles at any one time before your half marathon race day. Since this plan is designed for beginners, it is best that you don’t try to push yourself beyond 11 miles within the 12 weeks you have to train, or you could become injured.
Best Cross Training For Runners
While it may feel like a distraction from the goal, the best way to be sure you to reach your half marathon injury-free is to cross train and not to skip the cross training days detailed in our half marathon training schedule. We recommend you try:
- Yoga – Practicing yoga can help you keep your flexibility up, which many runners lose. YouTube is a great resource to find plenty of free yoga workouts.
- Bodyweight workouts – With the added benefit of being able to workout anywhere, bodyweight workouts will strengthen all your muscles, not just the ones you are using while running.
- Cycling – To engage your leg muscles differently and keep your cardio endurance up, cycling is a great, low-impact activity for your cross-training days.
- Swimming – While not everyone has access to a pool or body of water to swim in, if you can, try to go swimming for your cross-training. Not only is it a low-impact activity, but swimming can engage all your muscles, so you are better supported as you run.
Can You Train For A Half Marathon On A Treadmill?
Here at Treadmill Reviews, we are often asked if it’s possible to train for a half marathon on a treadmill, and the short answer is—of course you can. The trick is developing the mental discipline to train on a treadmill.
Part of the effectiveness of training outside for races is that you literally have to finish your training run in most cases. There is no way to opt out of an 8-mile run if you are already 4 or more miles away from your home. With a treadmill, all you have to do is stop the machine. The temptation to stop a training run can make some people say they can’t train on a treadmill.
Yet, plenty of top-tier running athletes such as Scott Jurek have advocated for using treadmills as training tools, especially as you can incline to simulate hill running you may encounter. Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes even attempted to set the 24-hour treadmill record, and managed to run 130 miles on a treadmill!
Now, you don’t have to be a crazy running legend to train on a treadmill. If you find you often become bored on a treadmill when training, try these things:
- Load up on podcasts, audiobooks, and new music playlists to cycle through. Switching your entertainment can help keep you run fresh.
- Pick a few TV shows or Netflix series that you are only allowed to watch while you train.
- Try using fitness programs like iFit Coach to help shake up your training. The engaging personal trainers and videos can transport you outside of your home.
Treadmills We Recommend for Half-Marathon Training
There are several factors involved in choosing a treadmill for your half marathon training. We generally don’t recommend treadmills under $500 at all, as they are of questionable quality and tend not to last very long. And most budget treadmills between $500-$800 are often not meant for regular running and training but are aimed toward walkers who will occasionally jog.
So, with these considerations in mind, there are two treadmills that we would initially recommend for your half marathon.
ProForm SMART Power 995i – If you are going to be the only user of this treadmill or the one other user is only going to be walking, then we would recommend the Power 995i. This treadmill is a solid, affordable treadmill that can keep up with our half marathon training, but is not designed for heavy usage by multiple people.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – For households that need a durable treadmill for multiple users, the Commercial 1750 is the right choice. Not only can it take you pounding away, but the whole family can workout on this treadmill with no problem. There is also excellent adjustable cushioning to protect your joints as you train.
Running a half marathon isn’t easy, but you can feel confident that as you stick to this schedule, you will be ready for your upcoming half marathon.