Monday, July 22, 2013

Half Marathon Training Plans

My big running goal this year is to run my first half marathon, and I've entered the adidas Auckland Half Marathon in early November.  This year it sold out in a record 8 days, so I'm glad I got in!

At the moment I am looking at training plans and there are tons available from so many different sources - running books, running magazines, running websites, online coaching, etc.

And then there are the different levels of training plans too - run to finish, run to a PR, or run to win (lol!).  This will be my first half so I don't have a PB to beat, but I don't want to merely aim to finish.  A lot of run to finish plans seem to be aimed at total beginners - like the non-runner who signs up for a charitable cause or a Friday night dare and then thinks: "Gee, I better do some running, where do I start..."  Not that there is anything wrong with that, in fact I admire anyone who does, it's just that I have been running for 18 months now and 'just finishing' seems under-ambitious to me.

I would like to train for a time goal estimated by the McMillan calculator from my 10 km PB.  I haven't run a 10 km race recently, but did run a 5k last weekend.  Going by my 5k time of 28:39, the McMillan calculator it gives me a guesstimate of 2:12.

Before my injury I had a few training plan options bookmarked, but post injury they are looking seriously ambitious.  I've had to cut back my expectations a lot as I'm just not ready to jump into long runs yet.  To be honest I'm pretty gutted about this and it has taken a while to accept. Especially as my previous prediction time was 2:04 (and I was harbouring a secret ambition to run under 2 hours...)

I need to start at a level where my long runs are between 5-10 k, so I'm considering following a 10 k plan to begin with, then merge like a zip into a half-marathon plan.

Paula Radcliffe's 'new intermediate' training plan for the 10k starts around the level I want, and if I cut a couple of weeks out (the 10km taper ones), that and the HM plan brings me exactly to Sunday 3 November. As long as I stay injury-free of course...

What I like about Paula's plan is that she schedules in strength training days and cross training days - something I need reminding of!

Rest day + core strength exercises and stretches!

It also suits me that it starts with four days per week and builds to five.  But the mileage does increase considerably, and I am concerned that there are no cut-back weeks - I think these are important for me post-injury.

The final weeks have long runs of 12, 12, 13, 14, 14, 13 and 10 miles

 Maybe I should stick to the plan in the book I have been following all along, where the final weeks are 10, 11, 8 miles:

Where oh where is the perfect half marathon training plan?!  I suppose I will just have to see how my ITB behaves.
Which training plan did you follow for your first half marathon?  As you can see I am still open to recommendations!
At the end of the day I want to a) run all the way, and b) finish happy with my effort, so c) next time I will have a time to beat!


  1. I think for my first one I followed a Jeff Galloway plan.. I can't remember now. I wouldn't worry about doing so many 13 and 14 mile runs for your first half marathon if I were you. I think the farthest I did before my first half was 11 and I was fine. although now I prefer to do at least one 14 mile run.

  2. It's fun to look around for "the perfect plan", but you can feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. I think Christy makes good points about your longest runs. Congrats on not only running the 5K, but being well enough to do so after your injury!

  3. Congrats on getting in! Best wishes with finding the perfect training plan. I hope you find one that is perfectly suited for you. :)

  4. It's been so long since my first half marathon that I can't even remember what kind of plan I followed. These days I create my own. I would be concerned about all the long runs with no cut back weeks in Paula's plan. That is an awful lot for a first half marathon. I just ran like my millionth (or so :-) ). and ran one 14, one 13, and I included cut back weeks.

  5. I'm so excited for you!
    I like that Paula's plan has cross-training, too. I think that's key in coming back from injury, and preventing injury!
    You could always do this plan and make your own cutbacks every few weeks?


Thanks for commenting!

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