I mentioned last week, but I am completely honored to be apart of the Pittsburgh Marathon Bloggers. Over the next few months, I’ll be talking about a few different components key to any half marathon. I assume the topics will lead themselves to talk about marathons, too, but I have never run one of those, so I can’t speak from experience!
Today I wanted to talk about training, specifically how to create a training plan for a half marathon (or any distance!). For any race to go well, you need to train. Some people can go out and just run 13 miles having only run a few times before, but I can assume they probably don’t feel so well at the end. I’ve run two half marathons before (please don’t think I’m some expert!) and two 10 mile races. I didn’t run either of them without training.
How to Create a Training Plan for a Half Marathon (or any race)!
1. Look at a time line– How much time is left or how long do you want a training plan for? For the Pittsburgh half, there are 10 weeks left for training. If you haven’t started to train now, you will need to find a plan that works with the 10 weeks left.
10 Mile race training schedule- pink was my schedule, blue was my husband’s .
2. Ask yourself questions– Think of your schedule. When will runs work best/ How many days do you want to run? Do you want to take exercise classes too? Do you want to strength train (hope you’re answer is yes!)? Can you run in the morning or are the runs going to be after work in the evening? Is a PR a goal? You need to add in speed work, if so. All of these questions play out and need answered before you can develop your own training plan. There are many running plans out there that you can use, or at least alter a bit to fit what you want.
Now, keep in mind, your training may not be perfect. You may not get in all the runs, or something comes up pushing strength training to the side. That’s ok! A few set backs won’t hurt you- but you need to try to stick to the training as much as possible.
3. Determine your starting distance– Can you easily run 6 miles already? You don’t need long runs that are shorter than that, then. Take into consideration what you can already do. If this is your first, you might need to start at 3 miles and build on to that.
4. Don’t set unrealistic goals– Please, don’t build a plan that has you starting at 7 miles, but you can’t run 4 without stopping. Wherever you are at is PERFECT! You can build on that, and you will reduce your risk of injury if you start low.
5. Add in an easy day, speed day, and rest day!- Speed workouts work. The end. Yes, they are hard, but they are really effective at increasing your speed. However, remember to have a rest day built in every week! Some prefer them before their long run, and some prefer them after their long run. Some prefer both and that’s fine!
For this half marathon, I know I want to finish in less than 2:00 hours. I also know I will still be teaching Monday nights and Tuesday nights. I will be running three days a week- it’s just what works best for me. I would actually love 4 days a week, but then I would be running one day when I teach, and it just doesn’t work out. I also know I want core two days a week- ideally the two running days during the week, and possibly another strength day, along with a rest day. I think I may change my running days to Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, instead of Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday. That’s still in the air right now as I love and look forward to my longs runs on Saturday.
As far as my training schedule, it hasn’t started yet. Since I’ve trained for a few races, I’ve realized I don’t like long training schedules, especially since I have a good starting base. With that said, I am planning to start my training the week of March 15, tentatively. After looking at my past race training logs, the “long runs” early on were less than I run now. I decided I will take a week off from running the week before to go into my training with fresh legs. I also will be starting with my long run of 7 miles, and go up from there. I will check back in with what my plan looks like when I start! With that said, if spring weather could come by the middle of March, that’d be great
Hopefully you learned something new about starting a training plan and building one! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m not a running coach, but I do like to run and have been through this a few times, so I may be able to help!
How do you plan your training schedules?
What day do you like to have your long run scheduled for?
I’ve done them on Saturdays for as long as I’ve been running! Sundays are usually reserved for relaxing with the family, and church in the morning. I love Saturday morning runs and passing everyone else who is training!