How Long is Half a Marathon? Plan for Beginner to Advance

  Mar 18, 2024
Reviewed by Vivek Upadhyay

Half marathons are all the rage among those who aspire to feel and look healthy. 



  • It’s ideal midway between shorter distances, like 5K miles or 10K miles. 
  • It’s less demanding and time-consuming when compared to a full marathon.

Given magnetizing buzz around half marathons, we’re often asked an array of questions about them.

And so, we’ve brought an all-inclusive guide on half marathons that aims to educate and enlighten those who are either new to the fitness world or are regulars at marathons but always curious to know more.

Across the length of this article, we will look into: 


How Many Miles/Kilometers is Half a Marathon?

“How many miles is a half marathon?” is a question commonly posed by beginners. 

The answer is 13.1 miles

And, if you want to know the half marathon distance in kilometers, it is 21.0975 km.

A half marathon requires runners to complete half a distance of a full marathon. It is quite popular among runners, and many cities around the world keep hosting half marathons as an impetus to making fitness a lifestyle. 

For the uninitiated, a full marathon measures 26.2 miles or 42.195 kilometers

That said, don’t let a half marathon offer you a rosy picture. It’s as difficult as a full marathon and requires a significant amount of training and dedication. 

Show some commitment, and the sky’s the limit.  

Many runners consider half-marathons as stepping stones to a full marathon, the fastest mile, or a facilitator of fitness without committing themselves to the hard labor of a full marathon. 

Half Marathon Average Time

There is no definitive method to determine the average time one takes to complete a half marathon. 

It depends on a host of factors, including: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Fitness
  • Terrain

A runner who has spent hours in training for a half marathon is expected to complete the race in around 2 to 2-5 hours.

But, beginners may take longer and complete the same distance in 2.5-3 hours or even more.

What’s important to know is that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ average time to complete a half marathon. The motives behind participating in the race may vary from person to person. 

Some may take it as a routine-breaker. 

Some as a leisure pursuit. 

Some as a part of their fitness regime.

Some may remain determined to complete the race within a certain time frame, while others may intend to participate and simply finish the race. 

Ultimately, the average time of a half marathon will depend on a participant’s individual circumstances, training, and effort during the race.


How to Train for a Half Marathon?

Participating in a half marathon is no walk in the park. 

It requires: 

  • Dedication. 
  • Consistency.
  • Training and planning.

Here are a few tips to train yourself right for a successful half marathon. 

  1. Start with a strong base

    Before getting started with the training, it’s pivotal to have a base of running fitness. To not hit the speed bump, build momentum, and be comfortable with running for at least 3-5 miles or 5-8 kilometers regularly for many weeks in a row. 

  1. Set practical goals

    Determine your goals, which can be anything—from finishing the race to improving the previous race time. The rule of thumb is to set realistic and achievable goals that don’t overwhelm you. 

  1. Build a training plan

    Create a training plan with both running and cross-training activities to beef up your core strength and do well at half marathons. Plan for at least 12-16 weeks of training while gradually increasing mileage and intensity. 

  1. Incorporate a mix of speed work and hill training

    Add speed work and hill training to your training plan to pace yourself up and improve endurance. These workouts can be challenging but will help you prepare for the race’s demands.

  1. Listen to your body 

    Pay attention to how your body feels during training, and don’t push yourself too hard. If you experience pain or discomfort, take a break, or reduce the intensity of your workouts.

  1. Rest, fuel, and hydrate properly 

    Allow your body to rest and recover from injuries if any. Focus on proper nutrition, hydration, and relaxation to complete a half marathon successfully. Eat a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, and stay hydrated before, during, and after your workouts.

These tips work like a charm for anybody looking to excel in marathons, let alone half marathons. Remember to be patient, consistent, and fulfilled about the journey you’ve embarked on. 

Benefits of Participating in a Half Marathon

Running a half-marathon has incredible benefits for your physical and mental health. 

Let’s take them up! 

Firstly, participating in a half-marathon keeps your motivation alive, deepens your focus, and improves your overall fitness to a T. 

How you may ask!

When you train for a half-marathon, you work towards building discipline, dedication, and consistency of efforts, which eventually translates into making fitness an indispensable part of your life and keeping your weight issues under check. 

A number of runners have come forward to tell about a ton of benefits of half-marathons, which include: 

  1. Improved cardiovascular health.
  2. Better endurance.
  3. Enhanced muscle strength. 
  4. Boosted happiness quotient. 
  5. Regulated blood pressure.
  6. And increased life expectancy. 

Secondly, running a half-marathon gives you a sense of achievement, a towering feeling of achieving something difficult and worthwhile. 

Your confidence reaches an acme, and you beam with pride. Plus, you create a life story worth telling; a story of achieving something that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Lastly, a half-marathon is the key to finding new connections in a community you take an interest in and start conversations that matter.

You may find yourself making new friends, learning more about the tricks of the trade, and sharing your passion for fitness. 

In hindsight, as a runner in a half-marathon, you can gain a rewarding experience close to none. You can find yourself amidst opportunities to improve your physical, mental, and social well-being and reimagine your life through strength, fitness, and flexibility. 

Half Marathon Training Plans for Beginners

As a beginner, it’s always confusing to figure out which way to go.

The internet is chock-full of beginner-level training guides for half-marathoners, and selecting one that works for you can be overwhelming, we understand. 

..which is why we’ve tried to kill the complexity and produce a training plan that is effective for the majority of individuals.

Ready to lace up your sneakers and start training? Let’s dig right in.

  • Mondays: Set your Mondays aside for rest and recuperation. Remember, restorative rest makes you more productive and improves your focus to accomplish goals faster. 
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: It’s time to face the moment and hit the frontline. Run the designated mileage at a moderate pace. But, if you feel exhausted, go easy. Trying a tempo run can also be on your to-do list. Run a few miles at your 5k-10k goal pace and test your pacing. Don’t forget to cool down and stretch. 
  • Wednesdays: You can either choose to rest or partake in cross-training (CT) activities on Wednesdays. By CT activities, we mean biking, walking, swimming, or using an elliptical trainer. Do these exercises for a good 30-45 minutes at your own chosen pace to boost muscle endurance and reduce the risk of injury. 
  • Fridays: Ideally, Fridays should be the cross-training days. But, if you’ve planned to do CT activities on Wednesdays, take a complete rest day. It’s more important to feel energized and strong for Saturdays.
  • Saturdays: Decide on taking a long, slow run on Saturdays. Place emphasis on the word ‘slow’ here. It’s important to run at an easy, conversational pace in order to warm up gradually and adjust to the physical demands of exercise. 
  • Sundays: Sundays scream recovery. Keep Sundays for the short runs that help loosen up muscles and allow you to build a strong aerobic base. Alternatively, you can plan a schedule that involves a combination of walk/run combination and cross-training exercises.

Factors worth considering before starting the training plan

  1. Don’t go into overdrive. Start slow and work your way up gradually.
  1. Set realistic goals according to your physical threshold. 
  1. Build your vision. Conserve energy and build endurance for long-term success. 
  1. Don’t go for strenuous training plans. Choose the one that helps boost your mileage and allows time to rest and recover. 
  1. Stick to your chosen plan. Stay consistent and dedicated. 
  1. Keep exploring different routes and terrain for more holistic training. Don’t let your body get used to the same routine and plateau. Experimentation is the key.
  1. Never miss your cross-training days. 
  1. Remember to have fun!

That’s it, folks! Keep these tips handy to crush your first half-marathon and pass with flying colors. That said, if you’re not a first-timer and looking for an advanced-level training plan, keep scrolling!


Half Marathon Training Plans for Advanced Runners

A seasoned half-marathoner needs a training plan that gives him a hit of dopamine. If you’re also a regular at half-marathons, we’ve good news. 

Below is a breakdown of what a training plan of an advanced runner should look like on a weekly basis. 

  • Plan it as a rest day or a cross-training activity day on the basis of your convenience, your health status, and your predetermined goals.
  • Tuesday
  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes at a relaxed pace.8-10 x 400m repeats at a moderate pace with a 200m recovery jog between each repeat.Stretch and cool down for 10 minutes. Consider it as a must. 
  • Wednesday
  • Warm up and build the momentum for 10 minutes at a relaxed pace.’3-4 miles at a tempo pace (slightly slower than your race pace).Get hold of yourself and relax for 10 minutes.
  • Thursday
  • Plan it as a rest day or a cross-training activity day on the basis of your convenience, your health status, and your predetermined goals.
  • Friday
  • Warm up and build the momentum for the run for at least 10 minutes at a relaxed pace.Run 4-5 miles at a moderate pace.Stretch and cool down for 10 minutes.
  • Saturday
  • Do a long run of 10-12 miles at a comfortable and easy pace with some race pace pickups throughout the run.
  • Sunday
  • Plan it as a rest day or a cross-training activity day on the basis of your convenience, your health status, and your predetermined goals.
  • What to remember?

    It must be noted that the above training plan isn’t set in stone. You can always customize it based on your preferences, health indicators, and fitness goals.

    What actually matters is how you plan to:

    • Build your staying power. 
    • Boost your weekly mileage.
    • Stay consistent.
    • Incorporate strength training. 
    • Create a recovery mechanism.
    • Achieve and track fitness goals.
    • Reinforce optimism.

    The Bottom Line

    That’s a wrap to this guide. 

    We hope we’ve answered all your pressing questions about: “How far is a half marathon?”

    If you’re planning to be a half-marathoner in the future, don’t forget to take insights from our comprehensive guide here. And just in case you need help, our health and fitness experts will be around the corner to assist you.