Monday, March 5, 2012

Beginner Half Marathon Training Schedule

Photo credit Eva Kolenko
The half marathon is the fastest growing race distance and it's no surprise because it's a challenging but also doable distance. It takes much less time to train than a full marathon and is much easier on your body as well.

Have you ever wanted to do a half marathon?
Below is a 12-week training schedule designed for a beginner. Remember, please check with your doctor first to make sure you are in good health before starting a strenuous training program.

Before starting this schedule, you should be consistently running 3 miles (2-3 x's/week) at an easy, leisurely effort, and your longest run in the past few weeks should be 4-5 miles. You have maybe even run a 5k or 10k race already but it is not essential.


IMPORTANT: In the training schedule below, you can choose to run anywhere from 3-6 days a week (if you have been running four days a week regularly prior to this, it's best to continue with that) but stick with the same number of days per week throughout the 12-week training schedule. The mileage is set to increase slowly for the set number of days you choose so as to avoid injuries and/or overtraining. (If you are fairly new to running then I would take at least 2 days off each week to allow your body to recover from the increase in miles.)

The most important 3-days to run are highlighted in blue (Tue., Thurs., Sun.) and are the required days to run minimally in order to comfortably finish a half-marathon. You can choose what other days to run based on the number of days per week you have been running regularly and what best fits your work/family schedule. You can also choose to do some cross training on those days instead of a run in order to let your body recover.

Warm-up & Cool-down: (Noted as wu & cd in the workout schedule below) You should always take time to properly warm-up before a workout as well as end with a proper cool-down as it will help to reduce your risk of injury. While there are many different approaches, we suggest jogging easy for 10 to 15 minutes which can be incorporated into any workout.

Strides: These drills are short intervals (generally 50-100m) done at a fairly quick pace. However, they should be run on a flat, even surface and should feel controlled and relaxed.  Broken down into thirds, slowly increase your pace for the first part, hold that speed for the middle third and then decrease your pace for the last third. There is no need to time these and you should feel fully recovered before beginning the next one.

Long Runs: These runs are the most important when preparing for your half marathon as they will help you both physically and mentally to finish your race. These workouts are also a great time to practice your race day nutrition plan to see what your body can tolerate on race day. They should be run at an easy, relaxed pace- comfortable enough that you could hold a conversation during it. Speed is not important during these sessions; simply try to run at a pace you know you can hold for the entire distance. The following day after your long run should be a rest day in order to allow your body to recover.

Hill Training:
Running hills is a great addition to training for any race distance (even if the race course is flat) because of the many fitness benefits- which you can read more about here. Training on hills is even more important if the race you are training for is hilly. When doing the hill workouts described below, try to push through the top of the hill (where it begins to flatten out) before backing off and recovering during the downhill portion. As you run downhill, stay in control and run at an easy pace, allowing your heart rate to drop before starting your next hill repeat.
  •  Short hills: Find a moderately steep hill that is long enough in length so that you can run uphill for 30 seconds. Start the hill repeat at an easy pace and slowly increase your speed as you climb to the top. Your pace at the top should feel hard but in control (not an all-out sprint). Slowly jog down the hill and let your heart rate drop before repeating the hill for the designated number of repeats in your workout schedule.
  •   Long hills: Find a fairly steep hill that is long enough in length so that you can run uphill for 60-90 seconds. Run the first repeat at a fairly easy pace (slightly faster than your warm-up pace) and then try to increase your speed a little for each consecutive repeat until you are running at a pace that is similar to your 10k pace. If you don't know your 10k pace, run at a pace that feels hard but in control (not an all out sprint). Slowly jog down the hill and let your heart rate drop before repeating the hill for the designated number of repeats in your workout schedule.
Note: If you don’t have any hills near you, you can simulate them on a treadmill. Make sure to warm up for 10 minutes with no incline and then slowly increase the incline on the machine to reach your desired hill height.

Tempo Runs: Tempo runs are an effective way to increase your speed, as they teach your body to maintain a quicker pace over longer distances. These runs should be comfortably hard, meaning you might be able to mutter a few words but you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation easily. Your pace should be a steady, consistent speed that you can maintain for the entire tempo distance. If you know what your estimated half marathon time is, these should be run at the pace per mile you plan to run your race in.


Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Wk 1
 OFF
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy

3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy


OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

4 miles
Long Run  
Wk 2
 OFF
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy


3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

5 miles
Long run

Wk 3
 OFF
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2-4 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy
6 miles
Long run
Wk 4

 OFF
3 miles
wu & cd: ~10min.
Short hills: 2-4 x 30 sec.
OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

2 miles
Easy


OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

5 miles
Long run


Wk 5
 OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min.
Short hills: 4-6 x 30 sec.
OFF or 
2 miles
Easy


3 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 1 mile at half marathon goal pace

OFF or
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy


7 miles
Long run

Wk 6
 OFF
3 miles
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 2-3 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy


4 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 2 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy



8 miles
Long run

Wk 7
OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

4 miles
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 2 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

9 miles
Long run

Wk 8
OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.
OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

8 miles
Long run 

Wk 9

OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

5 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 3 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides 

10 miles 
Long run
Wk 10
OFF
3 miles
Easy 
Finish w' 4 strides 

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

5 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 3 miles at half marathon goal pace

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides

12 miles
Long run
Wk 11
OFF
4 miles
Easy
Finish w' 4 strides  

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

6 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 4 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides  

8 miles 
Long run 

Wk 12
OFF
4 miles
Easy
Finish w' 4 strides 

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

3 miles
Easy


OFF

OFF or
2 miles 
Easy
Finish w' 2-3 strides 
RACE DAY!



 Happy training!



2 comments:

  1. I live in a place where the ground is as flat as flat can get. Thanks for the suggestion on the treadmill incline. Do you think this - rebook 910 treadmill, will be enough for my husband and I?

    The training looks very well structured. Do you mind if my husband and I print this out and follow it for a 10k event we're going to train for?

    <3 Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Janet, I'm no expert on treadmills but I would take a look at the reviews as that will help out. Yes, feel free to use it and best of luck in your race!

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