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Man uses a half marathon training plan with Peloton while running outside

Peloton's Ultimate Guide to Training for a Half Marathon

Here's what you need to know on your journey to completing 13.1.

By Kristine ThomasonOctober 6, 2023


Do you want to run a long distance race, but the idea of slogging through 26.2 miles sounds daunting—or downright absurd? Allow us to introduce you to the half marathon. 

“It’s a long way, but it's also an achievable distance for runners,” says Peloton instructor Susie Chan. “Even if you're new to running, you can definitely aim for a half marathon as an attainable goal.”

But whether you’re a seasoned runner or a total beginner, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Here, Susie simplifies the training process, offering smart tips that you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re clocking miles.

How Long Is a Half Marathon?

In short: A half marathon is 13.1 miles. As the name implies, it’s half the length of a full marathon, which is 26.2 miles. While all half marathons are the same distance, every race has a different course. Some have a lot of hills or gradual inclines, while others are flatter and more consistent. As a result, your speed and finish time will likely vary depending on the course you select.

How Long Should You Train for a Half Marathon?

The length and frequency of your training really depends on your running experience, Susie says. In general, she recommends spending anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks preparing for race day. If you’re a beginner, she advises adding a few more weeks to that timeline, in order to build up a stronger baseline. 

How to Train for a Half Marathon

If you’re brand new to half marathons, consider working with a running coach or following a specific training plan. However, regardless of whether you’re a novice or a seasoned competitor, here are some general guidelines to follow.

How Many Days a Week Should You Run?

While it varies depending on your experience, Susie generally suggests running three to four times per week. However, your runs shouldn’t all look the same. Over a seven-day period, your regimen may include a tempo run (running at threshold for longer periods), a Peloton interval workout, a recovery run, and a long run.

How Does Your Distance Ramp Up Over Time? 

When it comes to those challenging long runs, increase your mileage gradually. Just because you clocked a speedy seven miles—and feel great—doesn’t mean you should suddenly jump to nine. “I wouldn’t go up more than one mile per week,” Susie says. “If you’re running for time versus distance, add 10 minutes each week.”

Remember: You don’t need to run the entire 13.1 miles before your training is complete. Most plans will recommend running to nine or 10 miles before tapering—the process of slowing down your training two weeks before the race. 

Do You Need to Strength Train for a Half Marathon? 

The number of miles under your feet isn’t the only thing you need to consider during your half marathon training. “I say it would always be helpful to get little strength training sessions in the mix,” Susie says. Ideally, you’ll complete one to two of these workouts a week to become a stronger runner, support your body, and help keep injuries at bay. 
These sessions don’t need to last an hour—really. A 10- or 20-minute workout will suffice if you’re short on time. “I highly recommend the strength training for runners workouts on Peloton,” Susie says. “If you do 15 minutes of those, two days a week, it will do nothing but help you.”

What Should You Eat to Fuel Your Runs? 

With all this training, it’s crucial to consider how you’re fueling before (and after) runs—prior to the big race. “Think about how you’re going to fuel in the morning and give your body time to digest [that food],” Susie says. (She typically turns to oatmeal and peanut butter.)

This is especially critical on race day. “Since it’s a shorter distance than a marathon, you could really rely on your breakfast fuel a little deeper into the race,” she says. It’s also crucial to think about your hydration. Make sure you’re getting plenty of water and replenishing electrolytes after especially tough runs.

What Does Recovery Look Like? 

Rigorous training won’t be worth a whole lot if you get injured on the road to race day. That’s why Susie says it’s crucial to take smart, preventative measures. In addition to strength training, she suggests incorporating stretching and mobility work into your routine. “I like to do yoga, because it includes core work and stretching all in one go,” she says. However, if a flow isn’t your thing, opt for a stretch class on the Peloton App. (Psst: There are specific options for pre- and post-run.)  And don’t neglect the importance of quality shut-eye. Try to get as much sleep as possible, so your body has time to rest and recover. 

Proper footwear is also vital. “People need to have a good pair of trainers, that’s probably the most important investment,” Susie says. She suggests having your feet and gait checked at a running store to help you find the best option for your running style. (For instance, if you’re someone who overpronates or has a high arch, some shoes may be better than others.) 

Ultimately, Susie says it’s all about balance. “Make sure you're eating right, make sure you're resting right, and make sure you're getting those rest days in.”

3 Key Half Marathon Tips to Remember

As for other half marathon tips, Susie has a few key messages to leave you with: 

1. Be Kind to Yourself

No matter how much you plan and train, anything can happen on race day. “Bear in mind that weather is going to have a say,” Susie says. “The course terrain is going to have an impact, and there are so many things that can impact on your pace. So while it's great to have a goal pace, you should always go into it with the attitude that, as long as you try, that’s enough. It’s important to be kind to yourself, no matter the outcome.” 

2. Don’t Do Anything New on Race Day

This tip applies to the gear you wear—and the food that fuels you. “Don’t use some trainers just out of the box or try a brand new sports bra, and don’t try to eat anything different than your usual pre-run meal,” says Susie. “Opt for tried and trusted. If it works for you in training, it’ll work for you in the race.” 

3. Find a Friend

Training is always better with company. “See if you can talk someone into going through it with you, like a workout buddy or accountability partner,” Susie says. “Going through this journey with another person can be really motivating and encouraging.”

How to Train for a Half Marathon With Peloton

If you’re looking for some additional support prior to race day, the Peloton App has classes and programming that can help make your training journey even more enjoyable. These are the ones Susie recommends checking out: 


For half marathon training, Susie suggests trying the endurance classes in the running section of the Peloton App, such as a 30-minute Progression Run, or her own 45-minute Marathon Race Prep. Even though the latter caters to those striving for 26.2, Susie says the advice applies to half marathoners as well.  


If you don’t own a Peloton Tread, opt for one of the outdoor classes on the Peloton App. If you’re starting your training, try Susie’s 20-minute Advanced Beginner Run. Queue up her 30-minute Tempo Run on a day when you’re focused on speed.

Tempo and Interval

If you’re aiming to hit a certain pace (or clock a new personal record), Susie recommends mixing in some tempo runs. Try an outdoor 30-minute Tempo Run or a 30-minute Intervals Run.

Building muscle is a crucial component of half marathon prep. If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to picking up those weights, consider taking strength classes specifically targeted toward runners on the Peloton App.

Warm-Ups and Cool Downs

To prep your body for a run and stretch it out after your miles, make sure to warm up and cool down. You don’t need a ton of time—just 5 or 10 minutes. Want more of a recovery-based flow? Try yoga for runners.


Take your runs to the next level

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