Half Marathon Training Plan – busy Mum style

‘That sounds pretty’ I thought as I happily clicked to enter a half marathon that is routed around the Northumberland castles.


A couple of weeks later I realised that being beautiful doesn’t detract from it being 13.1 miles.

I do run regularly, a few short runs during the week, but my maximum distance is usually around 6miles; An hour seeming to be a justifiable time for Mummy to be off duty. 

I’d like to find some more time to train. I’ve had a little look in my pockets, under the bed and behind the sofa. I found several coins, a lost hair band and several bits of duplo. No more time.

More sensible I looked for a bit of spare time in my mornings (Really?? getting up voluntarily before the children?), Lunchtimes (not really a discrete entity in my job) and evenings (full of bedtimes, household jobs and not infrequently work but realistically most practical for my training). 

Time still feels in fairly short supply. So I started researching half marathon training plans in the hope of finding the most time efficient way of training for a half marathon.

These are some of the key things I have learnt about half marathon training plans.

  • There are a huge variety of plans easily found on the internet. These range from schedules aimed at someone who has never run before; To more serious plans for runners aiming to complete a half marathon in under 1 hour 30 minutes. 
  • Half marathon training schedules recommend running anywhere from 3 to 6 times a week depending on the experience and aim of the runner. 
  • Most schedules suggest training for a minimum of 8 weeks, more usually around 12 weeks (phew just starting in time!) 
  • Most half marathon training plans involve one longer run that gets progressively longer week by week. So you might start running 3miles the first week and add a mile or two each week up to around 12 miles a couple of weeks before the race.
  • The last long run or two before the race should be a shorter distance. So realistically over the course of 3 months, you probably only need around 5 runs of longer than an hour.
  • There are many running training techniques designed to improve running fitness and speed without spending hours running at a consistent pace.

TEMPO RUNNING: This refers to running at a constant speed at a ‘comfortably hard’ pace or ‘8 out of 10’ on the effort scale for a defined set of time.

SPEED WORK: For example hill repeats, track work or fartleck training. 

I am still by no means an expert but I realise that it should be possible to train for a half marathon by running 2 or 3 times in the week for 30-45 minutes with one longer run at the weekend.

I’ve made a collection of schedules of Pinterest and then picked one of my favourites. I have now simplified it into something that looks achievable for me; three shortish runs in the week and a longer weekend run, with ideally a bit of Pilates thrown in at some point:  



WEEK Day 1 (30-60 min) Day 2 (30 min) Day 3 (30 min) Bonus (30-60min) Long Run
1 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 3 miles
2 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 5 miles
3 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
4 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
5 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 8 miles
6 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 8 miles
7 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 9 miles
8 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 10 miles
9 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 12 miles
10 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 12 miles
11 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
12 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle


I’m currently two weeks into training and needless to say my weekly running has not been quite as structured as this schedule; it has still provided a realistic framework and more importantly plenty of motivation. 

If you are busy and wondering about training for a half marathon I hope this might give you some ideas for fitting training around a packed shedule. Do have a look at my Pinterest site for lots more inspiration. 

I’d love to hear from you if you have any half marathon training tips; especially any for fitting training amongst the chaos of a busy life. 

Happy to be linking this post here;

Mums' Days

Fitness Friday

15 thoughts on “Half Marathon Training Plan – busy Mum style

  1. Helena August 23, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    I did quite a few organised 10ks and one half marathon the year before I fell pregnant with James. I found it difficult to motivate myself for longer than an hour of running, even then. I ran the half marathon without having done any more than one test run of that length!
    Northumberland castles nearly sucked me into signing up for the whole series due to the beauty of the countryside.
    Good luck with your training!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare August 23, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      I did the great north run years ago without any kind of training, I was reasonably fit so it was manageable. Less background fitness now and think a plan will keep me more motivated! The Northumberland castles does sound great.,. I contemplated the marathon but don’t think I’ll be ready by then! I’d love to be able to do the half in under 2 hours so that’s enough to be working towards at the moment. I’m not certain I’ll actually practice the full thing either… If I get to 12 miles in training that’ll be fine.


  2. amytreasure0 August 28, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Oh Rachel, I do wish I had your dedication but I like you am yet to find time lamenting behind my sofa just waiting for me to steal a few extra minutes..I feel I should really *make* the time though, as training for an end goal is certainly motivating for me. Thanks for the inspiration xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare August 29, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      I know it’s really difficult when time is in such short supply! I definitely find my training is better when I have a focus too. Thanks for lovely comment x


  3. mummyfever August 28, 2015 / 9:28 am

    Oh well done you for having a plan. I run marathons, most recently the Liverpool one in June but I don’t really have off-duty time from my 4 so I have to seriously improvise lol – I wrote recently about the busy mummies guide to running a marathon. It includes squatting whilst ironing lol! #TheList

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare August 29, 2015 / 8:47 pm

      I’m sure I’ve read your guide to recovering from marathons, I’ll have to get a bit of inspiration from your training too! Xx


  4. mummyofboygirltwins August 31, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    You’re amazing! 🙂 I must get my trainers out and start again. Since the big house move I haven’t been. Now I miss it so much! You’re tips are brilliant. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Jess x

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare September 2, 2015 / 7:07 pm

      I’m not surprised you’ve not had much time recently with moving! Hope you all get settled soon and maybe some time to yourself too. X


  5. You Baby Me Mummy September 1, 2015 / 10:34 pm

    Wow I can’t imagine running a half marathon. Good luck! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare September 2, 2015 / 8:59 pm

      Thank you… A year ago I couldn’t have imagined it either!! Xx


  6. Sam Kersley September 11, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    Firstly good luck with your half marathon, The thought of running that distance seems impossible to me…I started running around 9 weeks ago and last week I got some rather painful shin splints so have had to stop for a while. I was only just reaching the 5k mark lol.
    Good luck again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare September 20, 2015 / 7:46 pm

      Thank you! Shin splints are rubbish hope you’re feeling better now. I’m quite behind on my training plan this week so need to be a little more organised this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Kersley September 21, 2015 / 7:38 pm

        Yes, shin splints I think have gone now just need to get my butt in gear and back to running/working out been so easy to not work out. But as the saying goes, if it was easy everyone would do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mummy Melton (@MummyMelton) September 20, 2015 / 11:06 am

    I tried sticking to a plan but it didn’t happen. I made sure I did a long run a week then as many short runs as I could fit in. As long as you can manage 8 miles without stopping you should be able to run a half marathon. I did 9 miles the week before the Great North Run but I did 11 miles the week before my half in July. You’ll do great!!! Thanks for linking up to #FitnessFriday

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare September 20, 2015 / 7:49 pm

      Thanks! Im not very good at sticking to the exact plan but I’m hoping to get up to 12 miles a couple of weeks before the race. I’d love to do it in under 2 hours but I’ll not be sure I can do it unless I get close to the final distance!! Thanks for hosting the linky!


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