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My Favorite Beginner's Half Marathon Training Program

Friday, July 09, 2010

I am posting this since I talk about how much I liked this plan and others have asked me for it. I initially pulled this off of the coolrunning.com website, although it's no longer posted there. They have another beginner's training program that has more miles than this one. I thought I had posted this on my blogs earlier, but I can't seem to find it, so I am posting again.

I did two half marathons using this plan, and found it to be perfect for anyone who has a busy life, as you're only running 3x a week.

ALWAYS do at least 10 minutes of warm up prior to your workouts and 10 minutes of cool down. For the long runs, you can use the first 10 minutes as your warm up, but just go very slow for those first 10 minutes.

First, some definitions and explanations:

Fartlek - Swedish for "speed play", this is where you run at a comfortable pace, then speed up your pace for a 30-60 seconds, then go back down to your comfortable pace.

Tempo - Run that is at or just below race pace (the race you're planning to do)

Hills - Run up the hill at a 5K or 10K pace and do an easy jog or walk down. If these are hard, you can rest in between sets, or better yet do an easy jog, walk, or walk/jog for about 1/4 mile after coming down the hill.

Cross-Training - Anything except running. You can do eliptical, swimming, cycling, etc.

Rest Days - Do nothing on this day. This day gives your body a chance to heal, build and strengthen. If you must do something on this day, do yoga, pilates, or an easy walk. If you workout on a rest day, you're only setting yourself up for poor progress later and/or injury.

Week 1 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu Fartlek 4 Mi
W Off (Rest)
Fri 4 Mile Tempo
Sun 6 Miles Easy
Week 2 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu Fartlek 4 Mi
W Off (Rest)
Fri 3 Mile Tempo
Sun 7 Miles Easy
Week 3 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 4-5 Hills @ 5K-10K pace
W Off (Rest)
Fri 3 Mile Tempo
Sun 6 Miles Easy
Week 4 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 3-4 Long Hills@ 5K-10K pace
W Off (Rest)
Fri 4 Mile Tempo
Sun 8 Miles Easy
Week 5 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 5-6 Hills 5K-10K pace
W Off (Rest)
Fri 4 Mile Tempo
Sun 7 Miles Easy
Week 6 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 3 x Mile @ 5K-10K pace
W Off (Rest)
Fri 6 Mile Tempo
Sun 9 Miles Easy
Week 7 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 3 x Mile @ 5K-10K pace
Wed Off (Rest)
Fri 5 Mile Tempo
Sun 7 Miles Easy
Week 8 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 6 x 800s @ 5K-10K pace
W Off (Rest)
Fri 6 Mile Tempo
Sun 10 Miles Easy
Week 9 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 6 x 800s @ 5K-10K pace
Wed Off (Rest)
Fri 7 Mile Tempo
Sun 8 Miles Easy
Week 10 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 4 x Mile @ 5K-10K pace
Wed Off (Rest)
Fri 7 Mile Tempo
Sat 12 Miles Easy
Week 11 M, Th, Sat Cross Train
Tu 5 Mile Tempo
Wed Off (Rest)
Fri 7 Mile Tempo
Sun 8 Miles Easy
Week 12 Monday Off (Rest)
Tuesday 5 Mile Tempo
Wednesday Off (Rest)
Thursday 5 Mile Easy
Friday Off
Saturday 3 Mile Easy
Sunday RACE DAY

I will say that when I started getting into the 8, 10 and 12 mile ranges for the first time, I would think I could never compelte 13.1 miles. I thought this when I did the 8 mile run for the first time, but when I did the 10 mile run, the 8 miles wasn't bad at all. Same for when I did the 12 miles - 10 miles two weeks earlier was a killer but no problem for the 12 mile run.

TRUST THE PLAN!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TENISWHIZ
    I especially like your last paragraph. I was the same! Even in triathlon training, I used to wonder how I would do it. But after each training day, and then recovering from it, it got easier.

    So here I am, the day after completing my very first half marathon. My legs are killing me! My quads are especially sore to the point that it affects my walking for the first minute of getting up. Am I never going to do this again? Did I make a mistake thinking I could do this? NO.... The next time I do run a half marathon, it is not going to be as painful as it is today. This is how it's been with every new distance of anything I've done. Hard recovery first time, much easier the next time. I love these challenges and breaking through walls! :) Maybe I should blog that! Stay tuned!
    4020 days ago
  • LOGOULD
    Thanks so much for posting this blog - most of the training plans that I have been looking at had me running everyday - or at least 5 days a week...I am not quite ready to complete a 10K yet, so maybe slowing down the intensity of the training to give my body more time to adjust is what I should be looking toward. I have no misconceptions about how long it will take me to get ready for a half. Am planning on preparing for my first 1/2 in about 15 1/2 months. That SHOULD be enough!
    4023 days ago
  • LLLAWSON
    OH, this is just what I was looking for. The group I run with is thinking of 1/2 in November and we have been talking about the training for this. I am going to print and share with the group and see what they think. Thanks for posting.
    4037 days ago
  • JOPAPGH
    The Hal Higdon beginner half plan is also a good option. The focus there is on easy and long, slow runs to 10 miles rather than speedwork, fatleks, etc. Also 3 runs a week.

    I added a couple of weeks and got my long. slow run up to 12 miles.
    4042 days ago
  • FELIXC
    Thanks, Carolyn! I'm looking to increase my speed in my future HMs, so I appreciate you sharing this!

    From emoticon to emoticon !!!!

    emoticon
    4044 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2010 8:54:02 PM
  • WINNERINKY
    Perfect for those of us who can only run 3x per week, thanks for posting.
    4044 days ago
  • SLEEPYDEAN
    Yeah, this is great. I have been trying to lock down which plan to use for my half in November. I've seen ones with 10 weeks, 12 weeks or 16. I think I like the 12 week plan best.

    4044 days ago
  • MOM2ALEX2004
    Awesome, Caroline! Not only a great plan, but great defnitions as well- for those of us who either don't know or can never remember! :)
    4044 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2035636
    I like this plan - however, I am trying to reduced the Tempo distance (Thanks Coach Nancy) and I replaced speed workouts of any kind with Easy Runs - but I saved this and will look at it for a 2nd one???
    4044 days ago
  • JWOOD635
    Thank younso much for posting this!
    4044 days ago
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