8 Week Half Marathon Programme

The experienced runners will tell you that if you can run 10km, you can run a half marathon with just a little extra training. We agree, but preparation is everything and the simpler the plan, the better the plan.

The half marathon is the most popular distance in South Africa because it’s long enough to test even the most hardened ultra runner, but short enough for anyone to achieve.

It’s also a great way to see if you’ve got the metal to run a marathon and beyond – no matter how long the Two Oceans and Comrades are, running a half is certainly a significant athletic achievement. Also add in that the training is manageable compared to marathons and ultras, and you recover quicker.

Whether you choose to run a half or a full marathon depends partly on time and commitment: How much time do you have to train?

Marathon training programmes usually last from 12 to 18 weeks, with numerous long runs scattered throughout. In contrast, our half marathon training programme takes only 8 weeks, and it will get you to the finish line as well as ensure that you make it to the starting line healthy and ready to do your best.

Not only will you need to invest less training time while preparing for a half marathon than a marathon, your injury risk will be lower. Plus, you won’t need to worry about all those super-long runs on weekends, and there will certainly be less to worry about on race day. Many marathon veterans appreciate that half marathon training requires lower mileage, which means they can run those kays at a faster pace than they would for the marathon.

Get Started
Below you’ll find two different half marathon training programmes, each 8 weeks long. One is for novices and the other for slightly more advanced runners. Choose the one that suits your needs best and go for it.

Download the 21km Novice Training Programme Download the 21km Experienced Training Programme

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22 Responses to 8 Week Half Marathon Programme

  1. Nadine 20 October 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    The links are broken.

    • Avatar of Runners World
      Runners World 20 October 2011 at 1:19 pm #

      Our developers are looking in to it – apologies Nadine!

  2. Nadine 20 October 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Thanks it’s working now.

  3. Erica 22 August 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Can’t down load the program!

  4. Candice 3 September 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanks for this info it is great!

  5. LINDIE 19 September 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Kan ek my oefendae omruil of moet ek presies oefen soos op die 21km program. Dis gewoonlik moeilik om Sondae langafstande te doen, dit pas my beter.

  6. optrain 27 September 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Can’t download the programs….

  7. Lindsay 19 October 2012 at 11:26 am #

    I followed this 8 week programme to get me to my first 21km race and it worked!
    Now I need to know what programme to follow to maintain this level of running so that I can do another 21km before the end of the year.

  8. Diian 24 October 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Hi, with this program can i play squash as cross training?

    • Avatar of Runners World
      Runners World 24 October 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Sure! Just listen to your body – if your legs feel too heavy when you’re running, tone it back a bit on the cross-training intensity :)

  9. Kat 8 November 2012 at 11:39 am #

    The novice training program is super!
    I’m not fond of programs that include specific tempo/speedwork/fartleks because I run with music and judge my runs by distance and approximate time. I can’t always measure out 400m or 800m and I prefer to pick a fast song and do “speed work” or tempo work and then choose and easy song for the easy runs – managed to get from 5km to 10km injury free and was bags of fun!

  10. owen 20 December 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    thank you for this, i will use the novice program for my preparation for feb.17, 2013 18K race. i’m a cyclist and this will be my first run/race ;)

  11. Claire 22 December 2012 at 9:56 am #

    On both programmes what are you classifying as the ‘easy’ runs – is it those in a lighter colour at the start of the week? Thought I had better check!

  12. Andre 1 April 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Thanks so much for the program will start trying this. I have been running a few half marathons (5) but had no training and therefore did a lot of walking but with a pb of 2h:15 I believe with some training i can improve that time. Will be starting this plan now.

  13. Angelyn Vitug 7 May 2013 at 8:45 am #

    I registered for 21km run and it will be on
    June 2,2013. This will be my first.I only have less than 4 weeks to prepare.Any advice for me to finish the run?thanks,

  14. Heinrich 15 July 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    hoe kan ek my voorberei vir ‘n half-marathon

  15. Janis 8 August 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    I would like to follow the 8 week novice training for the half marathon.
    I maybe a bit dense but if rest days are important why cross train on rest days? Or is the time indicated on other days(Wednesday & Saturday) is that run time or cross train time?

  16. ryaN 26 August 2013 at 5:53 am #

    sir/maam do u have any suggestion for cramping legs in the middle of race
    actually i experience it when i took 16k run

  17. scott daily 16 September 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Which workouts are suppose to be “easy” and which should we push ourselves on?

  18. Sakshi 6 November 2013 at 6:51 pm #


    The marathon is on 15th Dec, so i have about 5 weeks to go. Im a first time runner. I’ll be starting with 3rd week of your program. I’m already running around 6 km as of today.

    Hope, this program works out for me.

  19. Adrian 3 March 2014 at 4:00 am #

    Thank you for the programme. I will definitely do this one.

    Thank you.

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