I made the mistake of committing to running a half marathon by December several months ago when I was required to set a personal health plan for my employer’s worksite wellness program. At the time, I must have been inspired by some silly “Inspirational Running Quote” that I saw on Pinterest but now as the end of the year is approaching I want to renege on my commitment. Unfortunately, not completing a half marathon by year’s end means $300 less in my wallet come January 2013. What happened with incentives like a water bottle or pen for participating in wellness activities at work???
I‘ve chosen to train (and document said training) for the Heart Center of the Rockies Half Marathon on November 3rd, 2012. I figured running a half marathon close to one of Northern Colorado’s major medical centers was a good idea and it gives me a solid 10 weeks to get my endurance and speed up-to-par.
I’ve been running recreationally since I was 9 years old (YES, I did just say 9 YEARS OLD) and have participated in several 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons and 4 Full Marathons (including Boston) before, but have never truly documented the experience of any, aside from pictures and the memories in my head. So I thought I’d give this a go!
With every successful half-marathon there is a training plan behind it. Considering the Heart Center of the Rockies Half Marathon is 10 weeks away I figured I’d better get a plan together. The challenge in creating this plan is that *little* thing called full time worker and mother of two. There are a lot of unknowns with my day to day schedule, the most concerning being how tired will I be and how can I possibly add one more thing to my plate! To be successful my half marathon training plan is going to require a lot of flexibility. My goals each week are to get in one easy run, one long run and one tempo workout in addition to the requirements for Crossfit which I promised my husband I would do with him over the next several months. As always, I will have to listen to my body and adjust any training for injury, and tiredness.
My plan is a hybrid of Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon plan (I’m only following his recommendations for the once-a-week long-run distances), a plan my friend Wendy sent to me, and my own running desires.
The plan I’ve created for myself that I will follow looks like this:
- M: Total-body strength training, 25 min. cross training (if desired)
- Tu: 5 mile run
- W: Total-body strength training, 25 min. cross training (if desired)
- Th: 5 mile run
- F: Total-body strength training, 25 min. cross training (if desired)
- Sa: Long run (Increasing mileage by 1 mile a week)
- Su: Off + Stretching
For now, this plan looks like it might work for me. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and all of the challenges I know I will encounter.
I used the following resources to come up with the above training plan.
For my fellow first-time half-marathoners, I hope these resources will help you too!
Basic Half-Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners by About.com
Half Marathon Training: Novice by Hal Higdon
12-week Half Marathon Training Program by Endurance Sports Training
Besides that, here is a roundup of the advices and tips that I have received:
- Take it slowly and gradually, and avoid pushing yourself too hard. This will only lead to burnouts and injuries.
- Increase your mileage soundly (not more than 10 percent per week) using the 10 percent rule (10PR)
- Do abdominal breathing when you run to get rid of side cramps or “stitches.”
- As your mileage increases, you may find yourself chaffing “down there”. Wear spandex shorts under regular running shorts to avoid such pain.
- Buy a pair of proper fitting shoes. Get them professionally fitted if possible. Ill-fitting shoes may cause injuries in the long run.
- Invest in running socks.
- For ladies, do invest in a few good sports bras.
- Learn to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- To aid recovery the most crucial time to eat and drink is in the hour immediately after you run. Experts say that it’s best to eat within 15 minutes after your run.
- Build rest into your schedule. Rest is important for recovery and for getting stronger.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Forgive yourself. Over-ambitious goals usually lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan. If you miss a goal or milestone let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it. (I like this !)
This should be all for now. To end off, this is a quote that I think is worth pondering on.
Let’s remember that each day is a new beginning. Take a deep breath, forget the blunders, and start it with a high spirit!
Question of the Day? Have you ever followed a Half Marathon/Marathon training program? Which training programs are best?