My Half Marathon Training Plan

September 17, 2013 · 12 comments

I’m running my first half marathon of the season the first Sunday of October in New England. This will be my second and my third will be down in Disney World in November! I ran sprint distances in High School so training for longer races is not something in my bag of tricks. I used the Runner’s World Smart Coach App last year and finished in 1:47:54. I felt amazing afterwards as well so I’m going to use the same app again. Sadly though, you can’t download it anymore from iTunes.

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The app allows you to enter a recent race time, your goal distance for training, current weekly running distance, training level, long-run day and length of training plan. My plan is based on all of this information! If you live in Australia, I believe you can still download it for some reason. When I bought the iPhone 5 this summer (my 4 finally broke with just 3 months left to hold out until the 5s), I didn’t transfer all my old apps so I searched for a new program first.

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Pear offers audio programs that coach you through each workout using your heart rate and current level of fitness. It reads how hard the workout is for your body and recommends speeding up or slowing down. These programs cost between $19.99 and $49.99. Worth it in my opinion as it’s like having a personal coach. I do wish you could preview the plan but the descriptions do a thorough job.

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RunKeeper, my other favorite fitness app has programs too but after looking at the free 13.1 training plan, it was way too aggressive. It had a me running 6 miles on Wednesday, 9 miles on Thursday, Friday off, 6 miles Saturday and 15 miles on Sunday! It thinks my race is in November as well. I’ve only run one half but the longest training run I did was 10 miles. I don’t think it’s necessary for average runners to be doing 14 mile runs with 6 miles the day before and after. It’s just not necessary in my opinion. The program is for someone aiming to finish under 2 hours, but I did that already with a MUCH lower mileage per week plan.

As a result of my hesitation to put money down on a program I wasn’t sure was for me, I downloaded my Runner’s World app from a back up. Here is what the last 6 weeks of my plan look like.

Week 1

  • Monday: Rest or Cross Train – I spin at Recycle or take a yoga class at Back Bay Yoga
  • Tuesday: 5 mile, Tempo Run – Warm up 1 mile, run 3 miles @ 8 min/mile, cool down 1 mile
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy run @ 9:30 min/mile
  • Thursday: Rest of Cross Train
  • Friday: 8 mile long run @ 9:24 min/mile
  • Saturday: Rest of Cross Train – I do Yoga
  • Sunday: 4 mile easy run @ 9:24 min/mile

Week 2 – Same as Week 1 EXCEPT Tuesday (5 miles Speedwork, Warm up 1 mile, Run 1 mile in 7:32 w/ 800m jog recovery, repeat. Cool down with 1 mile jog) and Sunday (5 miles, easy).

*Week 3

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or XT
  • Tuesday:  5 mile, Temp Run
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy Run
  • Friday: 9 mile long run @ 9:24 min/mile
  • Sunday: 5 miles, Easy Run

Week 4

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or XT
  • Tuesday: 6 miles, Tempo Run
  • Wednesday: 4 miles, Easy Run
  • Friday: 9 miles, Long Run
  • Sunday: 5 miles Easy

Week 5

  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday: Rest or Cross Train
  • Tuesday: 7 miles, Speedwork (Warm up 1 mile, Run 1 mile in 7:28, jog a 1/2 mile as recovery, repeat 3 times before 1 mile cool down)
  • Friday: 10 mile Long Run
  • Sunday: 4 mile, Easy Run

Week 6

  • Monday, Friday & Saturday Rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles, Easy Run
  • Wednesday: 3 miles, Easy Run
  • Thursday: 5 miles, Tempo Run
  • Sunday: RACE DAY!!!!! Goal pace 8:07/mile for a 1:46:30 finish.
*This is actually the last 4 weeks plus two weeks from earlier this summer. My plan was 12 weeks long and included a week that gave me an 5 miles on a Friday as compared with the 9 miles the Friday before and after.
Are you training for a specific race this fall? What are you using to train?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie September 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

I’m running the tavern 5k this Sunday. I used the couch to 5k app and it is good, just talks you around. After an injury a few years ago this is my first attempt back a ‘long distances’ and am pretty happy with the training.

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2 Heather September 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I ran a Half last year and admittedly haven’t trained since. I am def getting the itch to race again, though, so I’m looking to start training again soon. Good luck with your training and first Half! :)

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3 Tonya September 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I have two halts and Ragnar comming up! For the first time ever, I signed up for coached training through my local running store. It was totally worth the money. I will run my 15th half marathon in two weeks and have never felt this strong!

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4 Sarah September 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I have a near by running store that offers the same thing and have contemplated joining something.

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5 Chris September 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I think the benefit to getting up to 15 mile long runs is to help a person get even stronger and potentially run faster. You kicked butt only running 10 mile long runs. If your goal was to hit a PR of 1:40 (or lower), you would have to run longer long runs.

I have a half marathon this weekend, and did 14 mile long runs 4 weeks in a row. I feel really good about my race–and well prepared to kick butt!

Good luck, Sarah.

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6 Sarah September 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I can see that. My issue is that I enjoy running and I’m nervous if the mileage gets to be too long to be enjoyable I won’t want to do as often as I do. Good luck!!

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7 Chris September 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Very good points, Sarah!

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8 Jess September 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Runkeeper is my favorite app for running. Good luck with the marathon!

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9 Sarah September 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Are you running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon? So am I! It will be my first, and I’m trying to train as much as possible for it. Good luck :) I’ve been using RunKeeper to track my progress, it’s my favorite running app!

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10 Sarah September 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I am indeed :) So excited!!

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11 fred July 12, 2014 at 6:07 am

Going to give this 6 weeks plan a go, I have only run up to 4 mile after running and 1:53 in my first half 6 weeks ago

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12 stacey September 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Great info. I just signed up for Run like Hell in Portland. I’ve been working out (spin, bodypump, yoga) but not running. I’m trying to find a program to increase miles but avoid injury.

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