2016 Indy Runners & Walkers Spring Half Marathon Training Program

2014 Mini Training Program Logo

Why Choose the Training Program from Indy Runners and Walkers?

  • Started in 1986
  • Largest training program in central Indiana (400+ participants per year!)
  • Only training program providing a full array of running and walking pacers
  • Runs primarily held along the Central Canal Towpath, a crushed limestone path that's easier on the legs. We choose routes that rarely cross traffic, so you're not constantly stopping at intersections.
  • Are you a beginning runner or walker? Our program is geared toward you with a weekly long run on Tuesday evenings and longest walks on Saturday mornings. We'll help you reach your goal of completing the Mini!
  • Are you an experienced runner looking to get faster? Are you already running substantial mileage? Consider joining our training program and find new friends at your race pace. Join the optional new speed work sessions with Personal Best Training (PBT) Coach Matt Ebersole on Thursday nights (Get the information here!), then join our regular Saturday morning club run where many participants run further than the suggested Tuesday training program distance. It it the perfect way to train with others to achieve your best race times ever!
  • Indy Runners is the most comprehensive and largest running club in central Indiana. We direct the Sam Costa Half Marathon (oldest currently run race in Indiana) and Quarter Marathon, and the Groundhog 7 race (another of the oldest races in Indiana). This website includes the most comprehensive race calendar in the state. We partner with Personal Best Training (PBT) at a discount for our runners and walkers. We invite you to get involved in our year-round club runs on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We strongly encourage you to train with us several days of the week! Are social events your thing? Of course, we offer those too!

Get a document with some basic training information!


General Information

For beginning runners and walkers through the fastest competitors, the 31st Annual Indy Runners and Walkers Spring Half Marathon Training Program has a training pace to help you achieve your goal for the 500 Festival Mini MarathonSam Costa Half Marathon, the Geist Half Marathon, half marathon at the Carmel Marathon, or any other spring half marathon around that time. While our training program schedule will be geared toward the 2016 500 Festival Mini Marathon, alternate suggested distances will be made available for the last few weeks leading up to other half marathons.

Our training program groups similar pace runners and walkers for weekly group runs and walks leading up to the race. Every Tuesday evening, participants will meet at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse (Map). Runners and walkers will be lead by experienced pacers along the scenic canal towpath bordering the White River.

9:00 Minute Pace Group

2016 Indy Runners Spring Half Marathon Training Program Participant Benefits Include:

  • 2016 Indy Runners club membership
  • Training for a spring half marathon with over 400 participants
  • Multi-level training schedule which allows you to train with others at your own pace
  • Access to alternate speedwork sessions on Thursday nights (additional cost)
  • Recovery snacks after runs/walks
  • Free pizza nights courtesy of Hot Box Pizza in Broad Ripple
  • Training routes include the historic Central Canal Towpath and Butler University campus
  • Knowledgeable guest speakers delivering informative seminars
  • Commemorative gender-specific long-sleeve technical shirt
  • Opportunity for consultation with sports medicine professionals and experienced runners
  • Local running store discounts (Runners Forum, Endurance House)
  • Social gatherings

Hinkle FieldhouseLocation

Tuesday activities (kickoff expo/packet pick-up and weekly runs/walks) take place at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse (Gate 1) located at 500 West 49th Street. Get directions to Hinkle Fieldhouse. The longest walks for walkers will take place on Saturday mornings on the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple at the corner of E. Westfield Blvd. and Winthrop Ave., from the wooden deck (behind Brugge Brasserie).

Kickoff Expo and Packet Pick-Up

The kickoff expo and packet pick-up is Tuesday, January 12, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Update: 5:00-7:00pm due to a conflict in the gym) at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Come to check out our sponsors, pick-up your training packet, and meet your 2016 pacers. If necessary, you may also pick-up your packet prior to the first training session from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, but we strongly recommend doing so on January 12, 2016 as things will be hectic on January 19, 2016.
Note: Registration at packet pick-up will be online only by credit card only (laptops will be available). Please sign-up in advance if you can to help us with logistics. 

What to Expect the First Week (Runners)

The first training session will be on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The runners will start at 6:00pm. Please arrive no later than 5:45 p.m. to find a place to park. If the parking lot in front of the fieldhouse is full, you may park along the neighborhood streets to the south. There are restroom available for changing, etc., prior to the training session.

The training distance on January 19th will be 3 miles. Please come prepared to run the full distance.

What to Expect the First Week (Walkers)

The first training session will be on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The walkers will start at 5:45pm. Please arrive by 5:30pm to find a place to park. If the parking lot in front of the fieldhouse is full, you may park along the neighborhood streets to the south.

Walkers entering the program should already be capable of 2.5 miles at 20 minute/mile pace or faster. In other words, 50 minutes for 2.5 miles. Unsure of your pace? Time yourself on the Monon Trail (miles are marked) or find an outdoor track (typically 4 laps to a mile). Identify your pace then work on distance and speed over the fall and winter. Don't wait until January to begin preparation. Your chances for success are significantly enhanced when you show up on January 19th knowing you've met or exceeded the minimum requirements!

We want to reach out and encourage anyone who has dreamed of completing the 500 Festival Mini Marathon or other spring half marathon that we have a roadmap for you. We firmly believe that everyone who completes the walking program at Hinkle will surpass the 500 Festival Mini Marathon requirement of 18:18 minutes/mile for a 4 hour half marathon. You may start out slower, but we are confident our training will quicken your pace as you become accustomed to the longer walks. If you are walking another spring half marathon, be sure to note the minimum pace required so that we can assist you to be prepared to walk that pace.

We will note your pace at the first training walk. (Consider bringing a watch if you have one). This will be used for aligning everyone with the appropriate pacer starting on week 2. Our 2016 walker goal is this: Provide the environment and support to all walkers so they have the best opportunity to complete the program and finish the Mini. If we do our part, and you put in the work and complete the training, success is almost assured!

To enhance your experience, walkers will often take alternate routes from the runners to avoid trail congestion. In addition, walks of 8 miles and longer will take place at 8:00am on Saturday mornings in Broad Ripple as noted during the program.

Weekly Runs and Walks

The training program includes a weekly run or walk on Tuesday evenings from January 19, 2016 through May 3, 2016. The walkers start at 5:45pm. The runners start at 6:00pm.

Fall Back Runs and Walks

Some runs/walks will be a specific time (e.g., 30 minutes) rather than miles. Those are special "fall back" weeks in which we cut back the mileage to give your body a chance to recover. To discourage pushing too hard at those runs/walks, we will go with a mass start instead of starting pace group by pace group and run/walk a particular number of minutes rather than a set distance. All participants should then be able to finish around the same time. We offer many of our best education sessions at the conclusion of these timed sessions to allow everyone to participate.

Sam Costa LogoSam Costa Half Marathon and Quarter Marathon

The Indy Runners Training Program has been designed to encourage participation in Indy Runners’s “Sam Costa Half and Quarter Marathon”, Indiana’s oldest road race. Strategically located at the midpoint of our preparation, the “Costa” on March 19, 2016 provides an authentic racing experience for both novice and experienced runners and walkers. 

The week preceding the “Costa” will have a shortened, relaxed training distance to facilitate maximum participation by our program members. All of our walkers, and those runners beginning or restarting their training, are strongly encouraged to enter the “Costa Quarter”. For the veterans in our group, the iconic “Costa Half” may be your choice. In either case, we want all of our training partners to have the “Costa” experience as an integral part of the Indy Runners Training Program!

Pace Groups

We will have pacers for the following groups (mins/mile):

Running Pace Groups:

7:00 mins/mile
(Top 500 group)

7:30 mins/mile 8:00 mins/mile 8:30 mins/mile 9:00 mins/mile

9:30 mins/mile 

10:00 mins/mile 10:30 mins/mile 11:00 mins/mile 12:00 mins/mile 13:00 - 14:00 mins/mile

Each year, the top 500 finishers at the 500 Festival Mini Marathon receive a special second medal. The 7:00 min/mile pace group will help participants crack the top 500 at the race. The required time varies, but somewhere between 1:29 and 1:31 is a good guess as to the cut-off time. For that reason, some training runs may end up a bit faster than 7:00 min/mile pace. Are you up for the challenge?

Walking Pace Group

15:00 - 20:00 mins/mile

All of the walkers head out at once, with an array of pacers walking 15:00 to 20:00 mins/mile. 
That's right. Our training program is participant friendly with a wide array of walking paces!

Registration Price:

Spring Half Marathon Training Program (Online registration completed before Jan. 1, 2016) $65
Spring Half Marathon Training Program (Online registration completed on or after Jan. 1, 2016) $75
Spring Half Marathon Training Program: Full-time college, high school or lower school student only (Online registration completed before Jan. 1, 2016)
Student must show student ID at packet pick-up
Spring Half Marathon Training Program: Full-time college, high school or lower school student only (Online registration completed on or after Jan. 1, 2016)
Student must show student ID at packet pick-up
Spring Half Marathon Training Program: Additional Family Member Rate

Immediate family member discount only for spouse, child, and/or significant other/partner, living in same household of a registered participant paying full price

Training program applicants also receive a 2016 membership in Indy Runners good through December 31, 2016!




On-Site: At the kickoff expo and packet pick-up on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:30pm 5:00-7:00pm (changed due to gym conflict)
Tuesdays during the program starting January 19, 2016 from 5:30 to 6:00pm

(We try to ensure everyone receives a shirt, but shirt availability may be limited for registrations on or after January 1, 2016.)


At least four of the Tuesday run/walks at Hinkle Fieldhouse will be followed by a seminar. Start time and topics will be posted before each run/walk near the front desk. The seminar speakers are recognized as experts in their field. The seminars provide a chance to maximize your training experience and meet fellow participants. There will be time during each seminar for questions and answers.


A list of frequently asked questions is available. Other spring half marathon training program questions can be directed to the Program Director Lesley Stoeffler at halfmarathontraining@indyrunners.org.


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