Half-Marathon Training Program for Walkers

Fitness, News and Advice
on September 5, 2011

Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced walker, this program will get you ready to complete the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles. You can swap days to match your personal schedule, but be sure to alternate rest days and walking days.

Use these training and race prep tips to help you reach the finish line.

  • Pay attention to how your body feels and adapt the training schedule to your needs. Age, fitness level, weight and specific health conditions all impact your ability to build up to the 13-mile goal.
  • Cross training, like weight training, biking or swimming, can be done on one or two “off” days per week. Again, trust your body. If you’re feeling too tired or grumpy, cut back.
  • For those trying to reduce body fat, don’t cut out your regular strength training workouts! Losing muscle mass is counter-productive and even long-distance walkers can gain body fat while training.
  • Substitute an interval training workout for your brisk walk and put some speed/intervals into your long walks if your goal is improve your race time. (You could even add a little jogging in if you like.)
  • Make sure your half marathon allows walkers!
  • Watch for hot spots on your feet and apply blister prevention immediately. (Carry specialized blister band aids and wear socks that wick away sweat.)
  • Start wearing the shoes you will race in no later than the 10th week.
  • On longer walks, (more than 4 miles) begin experimenting with snacks and hydration so you’ll know what you need to stay energized during the race.
  • Develop a stretching routine to do after every walk. At minimum, stretch your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. (If you feel you need to stretch before walking, always warm up by walking first.)