Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Train for a Half Marathon

Now, I don’t claim to be the expert on this. I have run one half marathon, which I didn’t train well for. But I am committed to training well for my second, which I will run exactly two months from today. So I am testing this out, but I am optimistic about it. Here is my plan:
  • Run one long run on the weekends. Begin with 8 miles about 2 months out from the race and increase by 1 mile each week. Plan to run 13 miles four weeks before the race and then scale down by a few miles on the following three Saturdays.
  • Do a light run or fun workout on the other weekend day. In my case, this often consists of a frisbee or soccer game. (Always fun, not necessarily light, workout)
  • During the week alternate between running and strength training.
    • On the weekday runs, go a shorter distance (3-5 miles) and push yourself to go faster than normal. If it feels good, you can also do a tempo run- alternating between sprinting, jogging, and walking.
    • Use any strength or cross training workouts that you find successful. For my training, I am using the Nike Training Club workout app advanced 30-45 minute workouts and they are challenging and effective.
  • On Friday, or the day before your long run for the week, take the day off. 
  • All the while, eat plenty of good calories and stay well-hydrated.
  • Good luck!

I have taken pictures of my calendar for the next three months so you can see more specifically what I plan on doing.

I realize it will be challenging to follow this to a T, so I give myself some leeway with switching up days, etc. Today, for example, I ran my long 8 mile run (and then played frisbee afterwards- not so smart) instead of doing the run yesterday. I did a shorter run with a friend yesterday instead. Having it all down on paper, though, gives you a schedule to follow and to keep you going. Once it's on your calendar, you are pretty committed.

You may notice the frequent "Nike [insert weird name here]". Those are the workouts on my app. If you have a smartphone, I highly recommend these. But if you have a gym, maybe you'd prefer to replace them with a workout on the eliptical or with freeweights. Or maybe you'd rather go for a power bike ride and do crunches afterward instead. Believe me, there are sure to be days where a bike ride workout might have to replace one of my training runs or workouts.

I hope this is even remotely helpful. It is still a work in progress but it is feeling good so far. And I already feel more prepared for a half marathon than I did for my first in March. Check back on Friday for the first edition of Fit Folks, in which Nikki P. will share with you her experience of training for her first marathon. Her routine is sure to be more credible than mine!

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