All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

Train for a Half Marathon with Non-Running Workouts

Last Updated:
January 17, 2023

Train for a Half Marathon with Non-Running Workouts

When you are training for a half marathon, you will likely be running more. However, you can also train for a half marathon with non-running workouts. A good half marathon training plan will help you to increase your mileage while boosting stamina, and strength.  The best way to do this is by using a cross-training plan.

Some training and workout ideas to incorporate include the following.

Strength training

Endurance running requires strong muscles, thus strength training should be an important part of your weekly routine. Make sure that you use workouts that are runner-specific, otherwise, you’ll be working the wrong muscles. Focus on hips and glutes along with core strength. These workouts will not only help you power through your training runs, but ensure that you also have good posture.

Having a strong core can also help improve your breathing and keep your stride consistent. This is because your entire body moves less overall, which makes it easier to keep your desired stride.

Many running coaches recommend adding short 10-15 minute strength training sessions into your workout routine 3-4 times a week. You could even do the exercises straight after you run. Exercises should include;

  • Front Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Squats (weighted or just bodyweight)
  • Lateral Lunges (weighted or just bodyweight)
  • Plank with Foot Touch


Riding a bike indoors or outdoors is a great way to boost strength in your legs. In fact, cycling can help strengthen your quads and calves while being more low-impact than running. Therefore, cycling is the perfect way to work on your stamina while helping to support tissue repair and reduce the impact on your joints. Try switching one run a week for a strenuous cycling workout instead. You can even cycle the same distance you would typically run. Ensure that you adjust the resistance level through your cycling workout to mimic hills and valleys. This will help you get a better workout and help your cardiovascular fitness.


Now this may seem like cross-training is actually triathlon training, but they do vary. However, swimming or deep water running are both great workouts for runners. Water running helps to develop hip strength and improve cardiovascular fitness. Basic swimming, on the other hand, helps develop your core and upper body strength. Having a strong core and upper body can help with your running arm swing. This is turn also helps with maintaining stride and pace. Especially, as you near the end of the race. Aim to spend 30 minutes in the pool, twice a week for the best results. Here is an example of a 30-minute water running session;

  1. Warm up – 5 minutes of easy lap swimming
  2. Sprint for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of recovery. Complete 5 sets
  3. Sprint for 1 minute, 30 seconds followed by 3 seconds of recovery. Complete 5 sets
  4. Sprint from 15 seconds with hands above head, then 15 seconds of recovery. Complete 10 sets
  5. Swim 5 minutes of easy laps.

Everyone has a limit to how much they can run, while still improving on their performance. As a beginner, you should try running twice a week as you train. Overtraining can lead to decreased performance, injuries and frustration. Thus, you should keep three key factors in mind when looking to improve endurance and performance. These factors are volume, frequency, and intensity. Be sure that you use cross-training practices to increase these three factors, and focus on one per workout. Any cardio activity can help you to improve endurance, however, cycling and swimming and both easier on your joints making them a great running alternation. So as you train for a half marathon, consider the non-running workouts above.

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