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6 Amazing Half Marathon & Full Marathon Training Workouts

Training for a Marathon or Half Marathon can be a large task. You have to run x amount of miles every week including hill training, speed workouts and of course cross training. I’ve learned so much training for 16 half marathons and 3 full marathons.

There is a certain mindset that comes along with the training, you need all the mantras and motivation you can get–However you also need something that keeps you going until the very end. 

Spinning as cross training

In addition to all the miles that you are completing every week, it is also recommended to do a little cross training. I’ve learned that spinning is one of the best workouts for me–I can take a class the day before (or after) a hard run because it works completely different muscles.

PLUS IT’S FUN! Spin class is one of those places where you can workout as hard or as little as you need to. Some days I go to class just to push as hard as I can, other days I go to experience the music and the vibes of the spin studio.

Whenever I have a huge race that I have trained for, I take a spin class the day before. Sounds crazy, I know but somehow my muscles feel SO much better the next day and I event run a better race. I’m looser, and able to go much long than I would if I didn’t take the class.

Check out some great cross training marathon and half marathon workouts to try!

Cross-training is a valuable component of any half-marathon or marathon training program. It not only helps to prevent injury by reducing the repetitive strain on the running muscles but also boosts overall fitness by working muscles in different ways. Here are some cross-training workouts designed specifically for half-marathon or marathon runners:

1. Swimming

  • Workout: Start with a 500m warm-up, followed by 5 x 100m sprints with 30 seconds rest between each. Finish with a 500m cooldown.
  • Benefits: Enhances cardiovascular fitness without the impact, works the upper body, and aids in recovery after long runs.

2. Cycling

  • Workout: After a 10-minute warm-up, do 8 x 2-minute hard intervals with 2-minute recovery spins in between. Cool down for 10 minutes.
  • Benefits: Builds cardiovascular endurance and strengthens the quadriceps and calf muscles without the pounding of running.

3. Strength Training

  • Workout: Focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, and planks. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each.
  • Benefits: Builds strength in core and stabilizing muscles, which enhances running efficiency and prevents injuries.

4. Pilates or Yoga

  • Workout: Engage in a 45-minute to 1-hour class or session.
  • Benefits: Improves flexibility, core strength, and mental focus.

5. Elliptical Trainer

  • Workout: After a 10-minute warm-up, do 10 x 1-minute high-intensity intervals with 1-minute moderate pace in between. Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
  • Benefits: Provides a cardiovascular workout without the impact of running, and engages both arms and legs.

6. Rowing

  • Workout: Start with a 10-minute warm-up, then do 6 x 500m sprints with 2-minute rest periods. Complete with a 10-minute cooldown.
  • Benefits: Total body workout that boosts cardiovascular endurance, strengthens the back, legs, and arms, and teaches rhythm and pacing.

7. Hiking

  • Workout: Choose a trail with varying inclines and aim for 60-90 minutes of hiking.
  • Benefits: Builds strength in the calves, quads, and glutes. Offers uneven terrains which can help improve ankle stability.

8. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • Workout: After a warm-up, perform 30 seconds of exercises like burpees, jump squats, or kettlebell swings, followed by 30 seconds rest. Repeat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Benefits: Boosts aerobic and anaerobic fitness, burns fat, and strengthens multiple muscle groups.

Always remember to incorporate at least one or two rest or easy days into your week to allow for recovery. Balancing running with these cross-training activities will not only help in improving your race times but also ensure you reach the starting line healthy and injury-free.

What are some other running posts to check out:

This month I am teaming up with my favorite running bloggers to share our favorite half and full marathon workouts. Check them out below!

What is your favorite half marathon or full marathon workouts?


Tuesday 4th of September 2018

Cross training with a cycle class or for me mountain biking what the thing that took my times to the next level. Thanks for sharing!


Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

I'm not training for anything, but Scarlet and Cassidy are training for a 5K. So exciting!


Thursday 28th of September 2017

I love this link-up! I've actually never taken a spin class, but several of the runners I coach logged big PRs when they took spinning for cross-training!


Thursday 28th of September 2017

So many great workouts!!...and just in time for my full on half marathon training. I love this link up!


Wednesday 27th of September 2017

I've never done a marathon before. I did complete a 5k a few years back and been talking about doing another one since my son has been born to see what my body is capable of. We'll see if it ever happens... If I do, I know where to go for my training regimen.