(Half) Marathon Training Plans

/r/running requested, I delivered: the new version of the beautified training plans for the full and half marathon in metric and imperial units. Furthermore, adding and customizing plans has been greatly simplified!

Last week I presented a spreadsheet tool for generating beautiful A4 marathon training plans from a selection of plans of Hal Higdon’s website. I foolishly claimed:

In theory the formulas should be compatible with all tables from Hal’s website.

Was I wrong! The highly specialized Higdon interpreter I build suffered from limited training data (classic!) and was getting mixed results for the common half marathon plans. Higdon introduces new workouts in these plans and switches up his lingo. Adapting the spreadsheet for 12 week plans and incorporating the additional lingo is already a huge headache, but it doesn’t end there. A new and strange “-K” unit is thrown in the mix, long runs come in both duration and distance (and a 3/1 effort), there are optional workouts (e.g., “Rest or easy jog”), and interval workouts come in three tempos (5-K, 10-K and race pace).

Instead of getting discouraged, I fired up my spreadsheet program and wrote even more hacky formulas. The results are four sheets: plan (overview for printing, with all settings), source (containing unformatted plans and workout types), and raw_half and raw_full (all raw data and conversions). The updated list of features is now:

  • Support for 18 week and 12 week training programs.
  • Imported selection of Hal Higdon training plans:
    • Six full marathon plans: Novice 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2, and Advanced 1 and 2.
    • Five half marathon plans: Novice 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2, and Advanced.
  • Current plans can be customized and new plans (like Jack Daniels and Pfitzinger’s) can be added more easily in the source sheet.
  • Choice between metric (SI units) or imperial (freedom) units.
  • All units are clearly stated for each workout: either kilometer (km) (or miles (mi)), minutes (min), or meter (m).
  • Small calendar dates are displayed above each day, based on a settable race date (assumed to be on a Sunday).
  • If no race date is set the training day number is displayed above each workout (1 to 84 or 126).
  • Color-coded days distinguish nine separate types of training: regular run (no color), rest, cross, long, pace, race, tempo, interval, and hill.
  • Layout is optimized for A4 printing, leaving plenty of space in each cell for making small notes.
  • Week number and total weekly distance are reported at the beginning of the week.
  • Weekly totals contributions are estimated of non-distance workouts, such as interval workouts, duration-based long runs, pace runs, and hill repeats.
  • User-definable paces, hill lengths, and warmup/cooldown distances improve and personalize the weekly estimates.

Below are the downloads for the new spreadsheet or one of the PDFs versions. By using the PDF you are missing out on the calendar dates above each workout, personalized weekly totals, and other customization awesomeness. Hope you find these plans useful. All credits go to Hal Higdon for providing these plans for free. To properly train with these plans, check out the detailed descriptions for each on Hal’s website, follow the interactive training plans on TrainingPeaks, and/or buy one of his books:

  • “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” on Amazon.com
  • “Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training” on Amazon.com

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koffieanon Written by:


  1. MD
    June 20, 2019


    Just wanted to say I really appreciate that you shared this spreadsheet plan, Also, amazed that I may be the first to comment. I have been using it regularly. I just started an advanced 1 marathon plan and I have one question: the interval factor… in the example it suggests 800/400 should be 1.5, but shouldn’t that be 1.2?

    • koffieanon
      October 17, 2019

      Hi MD, thanks for your reply. Appreciate it! To answer your question (very belatedly), the factor is on the original distance. So 800 m running with 400 m recovery is 1,2 km in total, so that equals 0.8 km * 1.5 = 1.2 km. Think of it as 1 full interval length + half an interval length recovery: one and a half. The factor only is used for computing the total so it isn’t really critical. Happy running!

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