“Three Runs a Week” Half Marathon Training Program


The “Three Runs a Week” half marathon training program is based on results from FIRST’s (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) 2003 and 2004 training studies. Results indicated that runners were able to run a successful half marathon running 3 days a week, following a specific training plan, and cross training.

Pacing is a crucial component to this training program. From our running experience and previous research, it appears that training intensity is the most important factor for improving the physiological processes that determine running performance. Training program paces are based on current best 10K.

This training program has produced good results with Key Run #1 run on Tuesday, Key Run #2 run on Thursday and the long run completed on the weekend. Runners can do the three key workouts in any order throughout the week; however, you need to allow at least one day between the key workouts. Runners are encouraged to either cross-train or complete easy runs on other days of the week.

The “Three Runs a Week” half marathon program follows, but if you would prefer a traditional half marathon program with 5 – 6 training runs a week then please click here

Key Run #1 Paces

(adjust from 10K race pace)

Key Run #2 Paces

(threshold runs)

Key Run #3 Paces

(long runs)

400m @ 10K pace – (55-60 sec.) Short Tempo (ST) = 10K pace Planned half marathon pace (PHMP)

is 10K race pace + 20 sec.

600m @ 10K pace – (50-55 sec.) Mid Tempo (MT) = 10K+15 sec.
800m @ 10K pace – (45-50 sec.)
1000m @ 10K pace – (42-47 sec.) Example: 42:00 10K race is a 6:45/mile pace;

* The pace for 800m would be a 6:00/mile pace or ~ 3:00 for the 800 m

* The pace for a MT run would be 7:00 / mile ( 6:45 + 15 sec.)

* The pace for a long run may be PHMP + 20 sec or 7:05 + 20 = 7:25/mile

1200m @ 10K pace – (40-45 sec.)
1600m @ 10K pace – (35-40 sec.)
2000m @ 10K pace – (30-35 sec.)

RI = Rest Interval; which may be a timed rest/recovery interval or a distance that you walk/jog

 

Half Marathon Training Program Sample Week

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Cross-train or Easy Run

Key Run #1

Cross-train
30 – 45 min.

Key Run #2

Off

Key Run #3

Cross-train 30 – 45 min.

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

18

10-20 minute warm-up

12 x 400 (90 sec. RI)

10 minute cool-down

6 mile run: 2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Short Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 8 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

17

10-20 minute warm-up

400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 (400 RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid Tempo pace Distance: 9 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec. / mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

16

10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 800m (90 sec. RI)

10 minute cool-down

6 mile run: 2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Short Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: No specific pace, easy effort run

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

15

10-20 minute warm-up

1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200 (200m RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ mid tempo pace Distance: 9 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

14

10-20 minute warm-up

5 x 1K (400m RI )

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy

3 miles @ short tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 9 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

13

10-20 minute warm-up

3 x 1600m (1 min. RI)

10 minute cool-down

6 miles @ Mid-Tempo pace Distance: 11 miles

Pace: PHMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

12

10-20 minute warm-up

2 x 1200m (2:00 RI);
4 x 800m (2:00 RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy, 2 miles @ MT pace

1 mile easy, 2 miles @ MT pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

11

10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 800m ( 1:30 RI)

10 minute cool-down

8 miles @ Long Tempo pace Distance: 13 miles

Pace: PMP + 15 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

10

10-20 minute warm-up

2 x (6 x 400) ( 1:30 RI)
(2:30 RI between sets)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid Tempo pace Distance: 12 miles

Pace: PHMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

9

10-20 minute warm-up

1 mile (400 RI), 2 miles (800 RI), 2 x 800 (400 RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid-Tempo pace Distance: 13 miles

Pace: PHMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

8

10-20 minute warm-up

3 x (2 x 1200m) (2:00 RI)
(4:00 RI between sets)

10 minute cool-down

6 mile run @ Mid-Tempo pace Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

7

10-20 minute warm-up

1K, 2K, 1K, 1K (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid_tempo pace Distance: 14 miles

Pace: PHMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

6

10-20 minute warm-up

3 x 1600m (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

6 miles easy & relaxed effort Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

5

10-20 minute warm-up

10 x 400 (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid-Tempo pace Distance: 15 miles

Pace: PHMP + 30 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

4

10-20 minute warm-up

3 x 2000m (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

1 mile easy, 2 miles @ MT pace

1 mile easy, 2 miles @ MT pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 10 miles

Pace: PHMP +20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

3

10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 800m (1:30 RI)

10 minute cool-down

5 mile run @ Mid-Tempo pace Distance: 12 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Weeks to Go Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

2

10-20 minute warm-up

5 x 1K (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

6 mile run: 2 miles easy,

3 miles @ Short Tempo pace

1 mile easy

Distance: 8 miles

Pace: PHMP + 20 sec./mile

Race Week Key Run Workout #1 Key Run Workout #2 Key Run Workout #3

1

10-20 minute warm-up

6 x 400 (400m RI)

10 minute cool-down

3 mile run easy & relaxed effort Half Marathon Race Day

Distance: 13.1 miles

Pace: Race Pace