Saturday, February 15, 2014

Half Marathon Training Plan

On June 1st, I will be running my fifth half marathon. As any other runner can probably affirm, my running habits and style has evolved significantly in the past three and a half years. When I first started training to run races, I did what any millennial would do and googled training plans. My first race was a 10K and within three months, I was training for a half marathon. My first half marathon plan was Hal Higdon's Novice 1, which was great for getting a recreational runner off her butt on Sunday mornings to do long runs. I started a Hal Higdon plan again for my marathon this past fall, but that's a story for another post.

However, as I got to be more experienced as a runner, I began to realize that some parts of Hal's plan didn't help me and that some other things I did (STRENGTH TRAINING) were more beneficial. So I did what any millennial would do and did whatever I want and made up my own plan to fit my own needs and schedule. I'm selfish, I do what I want.

If you are thinking about training for a half marathon, or even a full, my best advice is to run less than you think you need to. I know this sounds weird and counter-intuitive, but bear with me. Most training plans have you running 4-6 times per week. In fact, up until six weeks before my marathon, I was running at LEAST 5 days a week, and doing little else to improve my fitness. Although it's awesome to build up running endurance (because trust me, you need it), overuse is the worst thing I've done to my joints and muscles. My knee problems and ankle problems have probably started due to overuse and continuing to run before I'm healthy again. 

After I hurt my knee, I cut back to running three days per week and doing lots of other types of exercise. I am a strength training/lifting enthusiast, so I integrated that into the training plan I designed for me and Dana this time around.

Here’s our plan:

As you can see, we are only running 3 times per week. This is new for me, since the only time I’ve trained with running so infrequently was when I was having the knee problems I posted about a while ago. But Dana and I both have ongoing knee issues in addition to very busy schedules, so we are hoping that our cross and strength training will help us build endurance while saving our beloved knees some of the wear and tear that most runners experience when they run 5+ days per week. So we are operating with one short run, one medium run, and one long run with some days of cross training and lifting mixed in. We are just wrapping up week one our training, and I just bought some new shoes for the season: Brooks Ghost 6

Can't wait to take 'em for a spin tomorrow morning for my long run!

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer or professional coach of any kind. Just a girl who has run some races and is continuing to figure out what works for my body.