Tackle your first half-marathon with our 12-week training guide.

We’ll give you everything you need to start developing the endurance and speed you’ll need to make it to the finish line! 13.1 miles is more achievable than you think. But you’ll need to put in the time to be race-day ready. Our training plan is divided into tempo runs, recovery runs, long-distance runs and rest days.

Weeks 1 to 3

The first couple of weeks are designed to help you get started.

To start tempo running, it is best to start with a 2-5 minute warm-up before running at tempo pace for 5-10 minutes. After this, keep going by jogging for a couple of minutes to let you recover before repeating. Hey presto - you’ve just completed 30 minutes of tempo running!

With your other running exercises, don’t worry about how fast you are going, the aim is to get your body used to covering these distances at a running pace. However, it can be helpful to have a look at your mile times.

Generally, many of us would be starting at 11 or even 12 minutes per mile but aiming to get it down to less than 10 minutes per mile for the race. That would get you round a half marathon in about 2 hours 20 minutes, which would be pretty good going and a more than respectable start!

Top Tip: Allow yourself time to cover – your body ideally needs 36 hours to recover from muscle fatigue.

  • Week 3

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run: 5 miles

  • Week 2

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 30 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run: 40 minutes

  • Week 1

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 30 minutes easy running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 30 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run: 3 miles

Weeks 4 to 6

By now you should be ready to crack the hour-long run and the tempo work should be starting to come along nicely.

Over these next three weeks, you should be hoping to increase your tempo running to 20 minutes at continuous tempo speed before taking a 2-3-minute recovery jog, and then taking the pace up again.

Your long runs will be building up in length, enabling you to run further in comfort. Because of this, it might be tempting to “go for it” and try to run at full tempo speed for the entire 30-40 minutes - but resist the urge. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself before the race, so keep cool and remember to always warm-up and warm down.

Top tip: If you have less time, why not try some speed intervals on the streets or the treadmill in the gym?

  • Week 6

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 50 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 30 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-8 miles

  • Week 5

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 30 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 40 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-7 miles

  • Week 4

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 50 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 30 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-60 minutes

Weeks 7 to 9

In this set of weeks, you will conquer another big hurdle - the 10-miler. Remember to tackle this milestone steadily and break it down into stages, either by 1-mile or 10-minute chunks. You may find that you need to drop your pace down to a crawl or even a walk.

For this reason, week 9’s 5-mile and 50-minute runs are a good opportunity to check out your running pace. If you are running an average of fewer than 10 minutes per mile you are doing well and on schedule to finish the half marathon in about 2 hours 20 minutes.

  • Week 9

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 50 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 50 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-5 miles

  • Week 8

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 40 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-10 miles

  • Week 7

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 40 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-60 minutes

Weeks 10 to 12

The main challenge will be the psychological effort of motivating yourself to keep going for the full 12 miles. The good news is that if you can do it now in training, then the extra mile and a bit on race day will fly past easily as the excitement and atmosphere of the race will carry you along.

After this big test, you will begin your two-week “taper”. This is a time of recovery and preparation for the race itself. Your aim is to keep the gains you have made over the past 10 weeks, while also ensuring that your body has time to recover and revitalise before the race.

Your last week is all about getting ready for the race, so take it easy. Make sure you carry out plenty of stretching to stay loose and avoid injuries. Your tempo run will be the last push, which is designed to keep the aerobic systems firing on all cylinders and to energise the muscles.

All the work is done - good luck and enjoy it!

  • Week 12

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 50 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Race day!

  • Week 11

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 40 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-6 miles (at race pace)

  • Week 10

    • Monday: Rest day
    • Tuesday: 40 minutes easy run/recovery run
    • Wednesday: 40 minutes tempo running
    • Thursday: Rest day
    • Friday: 40 minutes speed running or cross training
    • Saturday: Rest day
    • Sunday: Long run-12 miles

​Are you Royal Parks ready?

Royal Parks Half Marathon is a great opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of London’s crowds and world-famous landmarks whilst completing a fast, flat course perfect for beginners and seasoned runners alike.

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