Half-Marathon Training Guide
- Set a goal before you begin training. Your goal should be a challenge, but also fun, enjoyable and achievable. Trying to get back into shape? Beat an old-time record? Hoping to simply finish? Whatever your motivation, keep it in mind, and use it to really stick to your training regimen.
- Wear the right gear. Get a good pair of shoes designed for running. All feet are different, and a special pair of shoes tailored to fit yours will help prevent injury and keep you feeling good. Visit a local running retailer for information on purchasing the best shoes for you. Socks and other running attire made from wicking fabrics help to keep you cool and dry and can reduce friction-induced injuries.
- Hydration and balanced nutrition are essential for staying healthy during training. While it is best to consult with a trainer or nutritionist to see what fits your individual needs, know that carbohydrates provide important fuel for runners. During training periods, it is often necessary to increase your total consumption of carbohydrates and fats to 60 to 70 percent of your diet. Consuming a healthy amount of protein is also important for maintaining strength and reducing recovery time. On runs that last over an hour, carry fluids and consume six to eight ounces every 20 minutes. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending. It will typically let you know when it needs fuel or water.
- Avoid injury by resting on non-running days or spending time doing non-impact cross-training such as biking, yoga or swimming. Ice any soreness, especially in the knees and shins and consider doing combination of running and walking when starting out.
- It is a good idea to monitor the age and mileage of your running shoes. Worn out shoes can exacerbate or contribute to injuries to the ankles, hips and knees. Consider owning two pairs of running shoes and alternating them daily.
- There are many views on the effectiveness of stretching for injury prevention. While the jury is still out on static stretching, many find dynamic stretching very helpful in loosening and warming muscles before and after a run. Activities such as walking, an easy jog, butt kicks, side shuffles and lunges are all good examples of dynamic stretches.
- Staying motivated is a common challenge for all athletes. We are all motivated in different ways. One way to stay enthused is to set a goal and publicize it through one or more social networks. The more you share, the more likely you will be to stick to your goal. Another option is to find a friend or a running group to join. Knowing that others are relying on you to show up at a specific time can be a huge motivator. Still others find inspiration in music or tracking performance and progress in a daily log.
- Most importantly, you should gradually increase your distance each week. Alternating your exercise days throughout the week will give your body a chance to rest and recover between efforts. Your weekly schedule might not fit nicely into the weekly schedules provided. Consider these schedules as guidance, and feel free to modify them to fit your own schedule.
- Finally, pay attention to those minor aches and pains and learn to recognize the difference between mere muscle soreness and something more serious. Since most running injuries result from over use, it is often best to take some time off and let your body heal than to continue to run through the pain.
The schedules below fit in time for strength training, such as push-ups and sit-ups, and cross training. Cross training days are meant to be "easy days." Potential cross-training activities include swimming, cycling or walking. These lower impact days will allow your body to rest while still moving and increasing your aerobic fitness.
They say running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. That statement is seemingly more true the longer the distance one is trying to run. Mental toughness is defined as the ability to will oneself through less than ideal situations and conditions. A couple of suggestions for improving mental toughness include "positive thinking" and "thinking in the present."
Practice being aware of negative thoughts and images and replacing them with "can do" notions helps to develop positive energy, emotions and habits. Dwelling on the past may be helpful if those conjured visions resulted in the ideal outcome. However, it is better to concentrate on the present. Breaking your current race or training run down into manageable chunks and focusing on the here and now is a good way to build confidence and increase self-satisfaction. After all, you should enjoy what you're doing while you're doing it.
12-Week Training Program
|1||Stretch/Rest||3-mile run||2-mile run
|3-mile run/strengthen||Rest||30 minute cross||4-mile run|
|2||Stretch/Rest||3-mile run||2-mile run
|3-mile run/strengthen||Rest||30-minute cross||4-mile run|
|3||Stretch/Rest||3.5-mile run||2-mile run
|3.5-mile run/strengthen||Rest||40-minute cross||5-mile run|
|4||Stretch/Rest||3.5-mile run||2-mile run
|3.5-mile run/strengthen||Rest||40-minute cross||5-mile run|
|5||Stretch/Rest||4-mile run||2-mile run
|4-mile run/strengthen||Rest||40-minute cross||6-mile run|
|6||Stretch/Rest||4-mile run||2-mile run
|4-mile run/strengthen||Rest or easy run||Rest||5K run|
|7||Stretch/Rest||4.5-mile run||3-mile run
|4.5-mile run/strengthen||Rest||50-minute cross||7-mile run|
|8||Stretch/Rest||4.5-mile run||3-mile run
|4.4-mile run/strengthen||Rest||50-minute cross||8-mile run|
|9||Stretch/Rest||5-mile run||3-mile run
|5-mile run/strengthen||Rest or easy run||Rest||10K run|
|10||Stretch/Rest||5-mile run||3-mile run
|5-mile run/strengthen||Rest||60-minute cross||9-mile run|
|11||Stretch/Rest||5-mile run||3-mile run
|5-mile run/strengthen||Rest||60-minute cross||10-mile run|
|12||Stretch/Rest||4-mile run||3-mile run
|2-mile run||Rest||Rest||Half Marathon|
19-Week Training Program
This plan incorporates a run-walk strategy. Sample ratios are listed below, but you should feel free to experiment with the run-walk ratio that works best for you. You can also periodically change your ratio to add more time running, or if having a difficult day, increase your walking portion. The key is to keep moving.
8-minute mile: Run 4 minutes, walk 35 seconds
9-minute mile: Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute
10-minute mile: Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute
11-minute mile: Run 2½ minutes, walk 1 minute
12-minute mile: Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute
13-minute mile: Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute
14-minute mile: Run 45 seconds, walk 45 seconds
15-minute mile: Run 30 seconds, walk 45 seconds
16-minute mile: Run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds
|1||Off||30-min run||Off||25-min run||Easy walk||Off||3 miles|
|2||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||4 miles|
|3||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||5 miles|
|4||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||2.5 miles|
|5||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||6.5 miles|
|6||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||3 miles|
|7||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||8 miles|
|8||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||3 miles|
|9||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||9.5 miles|
|10||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||4 miles|
|11||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||11 miles|
|12||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||4 miles|
|13||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||12.5 miles|
|14||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||4 miles|
|15||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||14 miles|
|16||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||5 miles|
|17||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||Half Marathon|
|18||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||5 miles|
|19||Off||30-min run||Off||30-min run||Easy walk||Off||6-8 miles|