Curly Crafty Mom: How I train for a half marathon...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How I train for a half marathon...

When I signed up for my very first half marathon I knew that I would need to select a training plan and follow it leading up to the race day. There were a lot of different training plans out there, but since I was still using my Nike+ pod then, I decided to go with the Nike+ half marathon training schedule. I am now training for my third half marathon and no longer use Nike+, but I still use its training schedule because it seems to work really well with my busy schedule. I have looked at other training schedules and I just do not see one out there right now that I think would work better for me at this time.

I am going to show my training for my last three half marathons, starting with the training I am currently doing for the St. Louis Go! this April. You'll notice that the training is 12 weeks long, so I always mark my calendar 12 weeks out for when I need to start training. This is good to do, because there is 3 months in between the race date and when your training starts. You don't want to forget (and it is easy to do!) that you need to start training in January for an early April race.

You'll also notice that this training plan has 3 weekly runs, with one long run at the end of the week. Except, on week 7 there is 4 weekly runs with a long run at the start of the week and at the end (and, I always hate this week! Its a toughie!). You'll also notice the training starts out slow, but gets more difficult as the weeks go on. Then, you get a little breather week before that toughie week and also another breather week before the actual RACE. This is because racing these long miles is HARD work. You really need to give your body time to recover, or you will be sorry... as in soreness, less energy and you could cause an injury. Which is another reason why I do not cram in more runs into another week if I miss one, nor do I change the order of the runs (ie: doing the long run at the start of the week on some weeks and the end on others... which can result in you running TWO super long runs back to back).

I keep my training schedule in a .txt file and I view it in Notepad. I love Notepad for its simplicity. You'll look at the first race listed, the Go! 2013 Race(the one I am currently training for) and you'll see I am currently in Week 8. You'll see ()'s around a lot of the numbers, this means I have completed a run. So far, I have met every run for training for this race!!! woohoo! But, if you will look at the two other races below it (Disney Wine and Dine - 2012 and Go! 2012 Race), you'll see I missed an average of 8 runs per training period. It happens. You get sick, you get busy... unmotivated. Your kids get sick. Its just that this time, I am realllly trying to do all of the runs. Its sort of a little torturous goal I've given myself. But, if I miss one, I'll be ok, I promise. :)

Ok, so here we go... here is a peak into Carrie's training world! ha! :)

Go! 2013 Race 
Week 1: (4)-(4)-(6)
Week 2: (4)-(4)-(7)
Week 3: (4)-(5)-(7)
Week 4: (4)-(5)-(8)
Week 5: (4)-(5)-(5)
Week 6: (5)-(3)-(2)
Week 7: (10.2)-(5)-(6)-(10)
Week 8: (6)-6-11
Week 9: 6-6-11
Week 10: 6-6-12
Week 11: 6-6-8
Week 12: 5-4-2

Disney Wine and Dine - 2012
Week 1: (4)-4-(6)
Week 2: (4)-(4)-(7)
Week 3: (4)-(5)-(7)
Week 4: (4)-5-(8)
Week 5: (4)-(5)-(5)
Week 6: (5)-(3)-2
Week 7: 10.2-(5)-(6)-10
Week 8: (6)-(6)-(11)
Week 9: (6)-(6)-(11)
Week 10: (6)-(6)-(12)
Week 11: 6-6-(8)
Week 12: 5-(4)-2

Go! 2012 Race
Week 1: (4)-(4)-(6)
Week 2: (4)-(4)-(7)
Week 3: (4)-(5)-(7)
Week 4: (4)-(5)-(8)
Week 5: (4)-(5)-(5)
Week 6: 5-3-(2)
Week 7: (10.2)-(5)-(6)-10
Week 8: (6)-(6)-11
Week 9: (6)-(6)-(11)
Week 10: 6-(6)-(12)
Week 11: (6)-6-(8)
Week 12: (5)-4-2

Now that you've seen my training schedules for my last three races, you'll see that I have a pretty good system in place. There are websites that will keep track of your runs, such as Daily Mile. These websites can be almost like Facebook, but for runners. I have used Daily Mile in the past when I am training with friends for the same race. Its fun to see how many miles they are logging in or their pace on a recent run. Nike+ and also Garmin (what I use now) will also log your runs for you and chart them, etc. But, I still really like to keep my little .txt file of my runs and its easy to whip open, log and close.

Another advantage of this training is that you can add in weight training (I aim for 2x a week) or any other fitness on non-running days. I also try to add more hills to my runs if I know the race will be hilly (Go!) or I don't torture myself with as many if I know the course will be flat (Wine & Dine). You really have complete power over it. For this race I am adding a lot of hills (or incline if I run on the treadmill) and I am also trying to run faster than I normally do a quarter of every mile so that I can hopefully gain a better race time/PR. I try to be consistent with this as I know I need to be able to continue this pace/incline on the shorter runs as well as the longer ones.

If anyone reads this and they happen to be training for a half, too, I would love to hear how you train. All I know is that I have 5 weeks left and then I plan to take a little break on these long runs!!! :) Which, is actually good to do, because it takes your body a couple of weeks to recover after running a half.
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