My Tried and True Half Marathon Training Plan

First a disclaimer: I am not a running coach nor do I have any running certifications or affiliations. What I am is a runner who has been running races since 2000 and I’ve run a half marathon in all 50 states (plus a marathon, 5ks, 10ks, a 10-miler, and a 15k). Over the years, I’ve used many training plans including ones I’ve gotten from books, online, and from other runners. Since I’ve run more half marathons by far than any other distance, that’s what I’m going to focus on here.

When I discovered this particular half marathon training plan several years ago, I liked it for a few different reasons, which I’ll cover in a moment, but I did tweak it over the years. At first glance, you can see there are 5 running days with an option for another. When I first used this plan I was going by the “Run Less Run Faster” training plan where you only run 3 days a week so it would have been a stretch for me to go from 3 days a week to 6 and even jumping from 3 to 5 concerned me. It turns out running 5 days a week was the perfect sweet spot for me.

If you’re not familiar, the Run Less Run Faster program focuses entirely on speed work and a long run; there are no easy recovery days. This seemed to be working for me for a while but I began to feel like I was in a running rut and I needed a new plan, hence the training plan I will go over here. I feel like this training plan needs a name so I’ll just call it “Donna’s Half Marathon Training Plan” to keep it simple, or “Donna’s Plan” to keep it even more simple from here on since we all know it’s a half marathon training plan.

I finished first in my age group with this training plan (in Missouri)!!!

In Donna’s Plan, there are both timed runs and distance-measured runs, so for example, some days you may run for 45 minutes and other days you may run 5 miles. I like this mix of both timed and distance-measured runs because I feel like if you’re only running by time all of the time it may be not give you enough time on your feet to prepare you for the race. If a training plan says to run for 60 minutes and you’re super-speedy you’re going to cover much more ground than someone who’s running 11- or 12 minute-miles. No matter what your speed is you need to get that time on your feet before the half marathon.

On the other hand, if you only run by distance, it can get to be a bit of a head game for some people. You see that you have to run 12 miles and you think, “I’ve never run that far before. I’m not sure I can do that” and you may talk yourself out of it and run for 9 miles instead. Likewise, if you see you’re supposed to run for 6 miles during the week and you work full-time and have a family and a million other things to do, it’s too easy to tell yourself it’s ok to just run 4 miles even though the plan calls for 6 miles. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like people are more likely to get hung up on the distance-measured runs than timed runs.

Having a mix of both timed and distance-measured runs seems like a good mix to give you the confidence you need as you gradually build up both the distance and time you run. Speaking of gradual build-up, it’s important to give yourself the full 14 weeks to complete the plan. You don’t want to jump into the plan by skipping the first few weeks nor do you want to cut the training plan short by skipping the last few weeks. Donna’s Plan also assumes you’ve already built up a base of at least 25 miles/week and have been consistently running at least 5 miles for your long run.

I’ll discuss some of the terms used in the plan now.

Distance Runs are timed by minutes. They’re meant to be easy runs.

Intervals are speed workouts that include tempo runs and runs at interval pace. Tempo runs are meant to be about 25 seconds per mile slower than 5k race pace. Interval pace is supposed to be close to your current 3k or 5k race pace. This could also be referred to as a VO2max workout.

Fartlek runs are divided into three parts, a warmup, then faster brief segments that are usually repeated such as 8 x 45 seconds, and a cooldown. These are timed runs in Donna’s Plan.

Long runs sometimes include part of them at your goal half marathon pace or they can be at even distance/long run pace.

One day is slated as either a rest day, aerobic cross training (such as cycling, eliptical, rowing or some other non-impact activity) or an easy 30 minute run. If you’ve never run a half marathon before or haven’t run one in a while, I suggest you take this as a rest day.

Strides are usually done at the end of a run but can be done in the middle if you need a little pick-me-up. They aren’t meant to be sprinted all-out but help improve turnover. Focus on your form; you want to be relaxed with light footfall landings, and quick push-off. These are 15-20 seconds each.

One last note, the plan starts on Monday and includes runs on Monday, Tuesday, (optional on Wednesday), Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday is a rest day every week. If you prefer to do your long runs on Sundays, you should shift everything so that you’re still running three days in a row. In this case, your day off would be Thursday instead of Wednesday and you would run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I PR’d with this plan for my 51st half marathon in state number 49 (Iowa)!!!

Week 1

Monday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 15 second strides.

Tuesday- Intervals- Warmup 1 mile easy running, 6 x 400 meters at interval pace with 1:30 jogging recovery between. Cooldown 1 mile easy. Total 5 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 35 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 2 x 3 minutes at tempo effort with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 35 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 15 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 5 to 6 miles at even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 2

Monday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 15 second strides.

Tuesday- Intervals- Warmup 1 mile easy, 10 x 300 meters at interval pace with 1:00 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 5 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 35 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 5-7 minutes at tempo effort with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 35 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 15 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 5 to 6 miles at even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 3

Monday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 15 second strides.

Tuesday- Intervals- Warmup 1 mile easy, 8 x 400 meters at interval pace with 1:30 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 5 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 40 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 3 x 3 minutes at tempo effort with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 40 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 6 to 7 miles at even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 4

Monday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Intervals- Warmup 1 mile easy, 6 x 1000 meters at tempo pace with 1:00 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 6 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 40 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 8 x 1 minute pickups at 5k race effort with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 40 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 8 mile long run. First 4 miles at long distance easy pace then last 4 miles at half marathon goal pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 5

Monday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Intervals- Warmup 1 mile easy, 10 x 400 meters at interval pace with 1:30 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 5-6 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 3 x 4 minutes at tempo effort with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 9 to 10 miles at even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 6

Monday- Distance Run- 40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo run- Warmup 1 mile easy, 4 x 1 mile at tempo pace with 1:00 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 6 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 15 minutes easy, then 12 x 30 seconds pickups at 5k effort with 30 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-45 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 11 miles. First 5 miles at long distance run pace, last 6 miles at goal half marathon pace.

Week 7

Monday- Distance Run- 40-50 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 4-5 x 1 miles at tempo pace with 1:00 jogging recovery. Cooldown 1 mile. Total 7-9 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 40 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 10 x 30 second pickups at 5k race pace with 30 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 40 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run- 13-14 miles at easy even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 8

Monday- Distance Run- 40-50 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 3 miles at tempo pace with 5 minutes jogging recovery, 1 mile at tempo pace. Cooldown 1-2 miles. Total 6-8 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 10-15 minutes easy, then 10 x 45 second pickups at 5k race pace with 45 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-45 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 12 miles. First 6 miles at easy long distance pace, last 6 at half marathon goal pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 9

Monday- Distance Run- 40-50 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 2 x 2 miles at tempo pace with 2 minutes jogging recovery. Cooldown 1-2 miles. Total 6-8 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 10-15 minutes easy, then 8 x 1 minute pickups at 5k race pace with 1 minute easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-45 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 13-14 miles at even pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 10

Monday- Distance Run- 40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 3 miles at tempo pace followed by 2 miles easy, followed by 2 x 1 miles at tempo pace with 1 minute rest between. Cooldown 1-2 miles. Total 8-10 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 10-15 minutes easy, then 4 x 1:30 minute pickups at 5k race pace with 1:30 minute easy between then 4 x 1:00 minute pickups with 1:00 easy + 4 x 30 seconds pickups with 30 seconds easy. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-45 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 11 miles. First 3-4 miles at long distance pace then increase last 7-8 miles to goal half marathon pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 11

Monday- Distance Run- 40-50 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 4-5 x 1 mile at tempo pace with 1 minute rest between. Cooldown 1-2 miles. Total 6-9 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 40 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 10 x 30 second pickups at 5k race pace with 30 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 40 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30-40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 13-14 miles at easy pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 12

Monday- Distance Run- 40-50 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1-2 miles easy, 6-7 x 1000 meters at tempo pace with 1 minute rest between. Cooldown 1-2 miles. Total 6-8 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 45 minute run. Start with 10-15 minutes easy, then 8 x 45 second pickups at 5k race pace with 45 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 45 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 11 miles. Run first 3-4 miles at long distance pace then increase final miles to half marathon goal pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 13

Monday- Distance Run- 40 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1 mile easy, then 3 miles at tempo pace. Cooldown 1 mile easy. Total 5 miles.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Light Fartlek- 40 minute run. Start with 10 minutes easy, then 8 x 30 second pickups at 5k race pace with 30 seconds easy between. Cooldown easy to reach 40 minutes.

Friday- Distance Run- 20-30 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Saturday- Long Run 7-8 miles. Run first 3-4 miles at long distance pace then increase final miles to half marathon goal pace.

Sunday- Rest Day.

Week 14

Monday- Distance Run- 30 minutes + 6 x 20 second strides.

Tuesday- Tempo- Warmup 1 mile easy, then 4 x 1000 meters at tempo pace. 1 minute rest between. Cooldown 1 mile easy.

Wednesday- Rest day, aerobic cross-training 30-45 minutes, or easy 30 minute run.

Thursday- Easy short run 30 minutes + 6 x 10 second strides.

Friday- Rest day.

Saturday- Easy 20-30 minute shakeout run.

Sunday- RACE DAY!

That’s it! That’s Donna’s Half Marathon Training Plan. It’s worked well for me because I was able to PR using this plan for my 51st half marathon in Iowa, my 49th state last October. I like the plan because it’s challenging enough but not so overwhelming that I’m not able to hit my goal times or run the specified distances.

What about you- do you have a tried and true half marathon plan you use for races? Or would you prefer to just wing it and run by feel on race day? Do you feel too “locked-in” or are you just too busy to follow most training plans?

Happy running!

Donna

What Did and Didn’t Work for Me in Relation to Running in 2018- Good Decisions and Bad Decisions

I got the idea for this post when I was listening to a podcast I often listen to called Marathon Training Academy. On the podcast, the hosts Angie and Trevor were discussing taking action and setting goals for running. At one point, Angie was talking about some things that she did during 2018 that were good decisions that ultimately helped her achieve some of her goals for the year. Likewise, not all of her decisions were the best which ended in not-so stellar results. Marathon Training Academy podcast link

While I was listening to the podcast and running, my mind began to drift to some of the running decisions I made in 2018 and how things ended up as a result of those decisions. I’d say overall, 2018 was a roller coaster for me when it comes to running. Right off the bat in January I wanted to do things a little differently and wrote about it in my post Shaking Things Up a Bit. One of the biggest things I changed is going from running hard three days a week with an emphasis on cross-training (with no easy running days) to running five days a week.

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Running in the Canary Islands in my Topo shoes that turned out to be a poor purchase

I wasn’t sure how my body would handle those extra running days but honestly I feel like it was a great decision for me and my body. The training plan seemed considerably harder than what I was used to, but I would say I handled it well and didn’t end up with injuries, other than some caused by running gear that wasn’t right for my body, which I’ll get into later. The training plan I followed for my half marathons in Idaho-42nd stateAnchorage, Alaska-43rd state, and Arkansas-44th state allowed me to finish in times that I was mostly happy with, but again, I’ll get into more details on that later. More importantly, I was able to follow the plan and only rarely did I find myself not having enough time to fit all of the runs in as specified.

Early in 2018 I also began Heart Rate Training, which honestly wasn’t anything that did much for me either way. Maybe I didn’t give it long enough (I’ve heard you really need to spend several months or even a year on it for you to really see changes) or maybe I just wasn’t doing it like I was supposed to. Either way, I’m not sure I would spend a ton of time on heart rate training again unless there was a specific reason I was seeking it out, like I had plateaued and felt like I needed to try something else to get faster or have more endurance.

A decision I made that ended up to be one of the worst decisions I made in 2018 was to try new shoes without fully understanding the mechanics behind them and how they would work for me. I vowed early in the year to try new shoes instead of sticking with the same brand and style for years on end like I previously had, so I tried two brands that were completely new for me, On and Topo. Not long after running with these shoes, I began experiencing calf tightness and pain when I would run. It got so severe I would have to stop and stretch my calves and my feet started falling asleep when I was running. Initially I thought surely it’s not both pairs of shoes that’s causing my problems, but yes, it really was both pairs of shoes. I finally looked into the shoe specifics and learned that both pairs that I was running in had a much lower heel-toe offset than I was used to. You can read all about the details on that here. I switched to running shoes with a 10 mm heel-toe offset and haven’t had any calf issues since then. Lesson learned, no matter what you may hear, minimalist shoes are not for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine.

One of my better decisions was to do more trail running. That not only helped me cope with the hot, humid weather since it was cooler on the shady trails but it also undoubtedly strengthened my ankles and feet. I won’t lie, though, summer was tough to get through. I couldn’t take any time off from running during the summer since I had a race in Alaska in August and after that I had to pretty much jump right into my next training plan for the race in Arkansas in November.

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Rediscovering trail running

In 2018 I ran my first “fun run,” Color Vibe 5k,in September and honestly I can’t say now if I think it was a good decision or a bad decision to run it. I had very mixed emotions after that race, mostly because of it not being a timed race. Apparently I’m too competitive to run a race that’s not timed, and this is coming from someone who has only rarely (three times to be exact) placed in the top three in my age group, one time each at first, second, and third place. I think I need to see an official time if I’m going to run a race, otherwise I’ll just go out and run on my own. I also now have mixed feelings about running a timed 5k in 2019. I’ve only ever run three 5k’s in my life; my first race ever, with my young daughter at her first 5k, and this fun run. Although I feel like I’m long overdue to see what I’m capable of running a 5k at, I’m not sure I want to put myself up to that test. Let’s face it, to truly race a 5k is tough, much tougher than a half marathon, in my opinion. Do I really want to do that to myself? I’m not sure that would be the best decision for me.

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Color Vibe 5k

To cope with the abnormally long summer that stretched well into fall, I began exploring new running routes and other ways to fight boredom on my runs. This in itself was a good decision but I began to develop other issues unrelated to my running route or the heat. Gradually I began to notice my runs were getting harder and I was out of breath more and more. I chalked it up to the heat and humidity but when things finally started to cool off and I was even more out of breath than normal, I went to the doctor to get my iron levels checked. Sure enough, I was anemic once again (I have a history of it). The even worse news is this was just a couple of weeks out from my next half marathon in Arkansas in November. No way were my iron levels going to get anywhere close to normal before the race since they were so low.

I made the decision to run the half marathon despite being able to barely run a mile on training runs without getting out of breath. To my shock and awe, I ended up running one of my fastest half marathons in quite a while in Arkansas, thanks to the downhill course and nice weather conditions. Running that half marathon and especially finishing it strong was definitely a good decision for me. I have no doubt my doctor would have told me to not run the race, had she known, but if I hadn’t run it, I wouldn’t have known what my body is capable of even when it’s not at peak condition.

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Finishing strong at the half marathon in Arkansas

That pretty much ended the year for me as far as running goes. I decided to take it easy in December and let my iron levels come back up so I just ran when the weather wasn’t too bad and I felt like running. Since my iron levels have come back up, I’ve been experimenting with pushing myself even more. I’ve seen some split times on runs that I haven’t seen in years and I owe that to the ability to push through the pain and focus more on the mental aspect of running, some tricks I picked up after reading Deena Kastor’s book “Let Your Mind Run,” which I have an upcoming review on.

What about you guys? Do you reflect back on the previous year to figure out what worked for you and what didn’t work? This is the first time I’ve done this for an entire year, although I’ve done it for individual races before.

Happy running!

Donna

 

 

 

Update on Half Marathon Training Plan-Round Two

After my debacle of a half marathon at the Superhero Half Marathon in New Jersey in May 2017, I decided I needed to find a new training plan for my next races. I felt like my endurance had dropped so much that I would start off fine at races but then I couldn’t maintain the pace and by the end I was just defeated. However, for the race after the one in New Jersey, Marshall University Half Marathon in West Virginia last November, I stuck with the same plan but made other changes like my running shoes and different stretches and did much better in WV. Still, I felt like I could do better and I needed to make some major changes in my training plan.

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Post-race Marshall University Half Marathon

For many years I had been following a “run less, run harder” kind of plan where I would run three days a week. One day was a hill or tempo run, one was speedwork, and the other was a long run. There were no easy or recovery run days. On other days I would lift weights, do yoga, or ride my bike. I think it worked pretty well for me for the first several years but I probably got used to it and my body wasn’t challenged enough any more.

I discovered a half marathon training plan that seemed considerably tougher but not so hard that I didn’t think I’d be able to complete the runs. With this plan, there are five running days consisting of two relatively easy days with strides at the end, a tempo or fartlek run, a speedwork day, and a long run. I still do yoga once a week, do strength training at the gym, and ride my bike once a week when I feel like it won’t be too much for that week.

The first real test for this training plan came at the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon  this past May. If you didn’t read my post on the race, I’ll cut to the chase. I felt like I did much “better” than at my previous several races. I usually am more interested in my age group placement than my actual finish time. Although I really enjoyed the course at the Marshall University Half Marathon in West Virginia, I finished 11th of 66 in my age group. In comparison, at the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon, I finished 7th out of 59 in my age group. I would say both races are pretty comparable as far as difficulty with the race in Idaho being a bit hillier so it seems like a fair comparison and there were similar number of women in my age group at both races. I’ll take this as an indication that my current training plan is a good idea for me and I’m going to stick with it.

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Post-race potato bar at the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon!

I’ve been running through the heat and humidity for my next race, which is in Alaska, so hopefully the hot weather training will only help. I had forgotten just how much harder it is to run through the summer months. The last time I trained for summer races was in 2015 when I ran Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon in South Dakota in July and Dixville Half Marathon in New Hampshire in September so I was training throughout the summer. My fastest finish at any half marathon was at Spearfish Canyon and I finished second in my age group at Dixville, so I’d say my summer training paid off. We’ll see if that holds true in Alaska next month!

How about you guys- how many times do you use and re-use the same training plan for races?

Happy running!

Donna

 

New Training Plan for my Next Half Marathon

As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, I’ve started a new training plan for my next half marathon, which will be state number 42 and half marathon number 44. I’m in the fifth week and so far it’s going well. For my last several half marathons I had been following a plan that includes only “hard” runs, so no easy runs, and you only run three days a week. For me, I was cycling on Sunday, running tempo runs on Monday, lifting weights on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday, either hill repeats or speedwork on Thursday, core work on Friday, and long runs on Saturday. So even though I was “only” running three days a week, you can see I was still doing a lot overall.

For this new training plan, however, things have gotten a lot tougher. I cycle on Sunday, run 40-45 minutes followed by strides on Monday, alternate doing tempo or interval runs on Tuesdays followed by weight training, yoga on Wednesday, fartlek runs 40-45 minutes on Thursday, run 30-45 minutes followed by strides on Friday and do core work, and long runs on Saturday. This plan is also longer than I used to train for before a half marathon. I used to train for 10-12 weeks, depending on how far apart my races were but this plan is for 14 weeks. I’ll be doing more long runs than I used to do but the beginning long run distance is the same. There are also no cut-back weeks, where I cut back on my mileage for that week, like I used to do.

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Taken after running with my daughter in the Canary Islands

So why the big change anyway? Well, last year I started feeling like I was stuck in a running rut so I started making some changes. I tried new shoes with a brand completely new to me and I’ve continued doing this since last summer. Another thing I did that was extremely hard but I was able to do is change my running gait. I also read “Runner’s World Your Best Stride” by Jonathon Beverly and reviewed the book here. This book is full of information and includes tips, suggestions, stretches, and exercises that I’m trying to incorporate into my daily routines. The final thing to add to my running repertoire is the new training plan. Oh, and I almost forgot I’m also doing Heart Rate Training.

My next half marathon isn’t until May so I still have some time left in my training before the race. I guess the true test will be how I do at that race, but honestly if my finish time is pretty much like it has been in the past, I won’t think it was all for nothing. I realize there are many factors involved in race day such as the weather, the course, and just how you’re feeling that day.

So how’s it going so far you may ask? Surprisingly very well. Honestly, I expected to be far more tired than I have been or have little nagging aches and pains pop up, but (knock on wood)I haven’t had any of that so far. I even managed to get in every scheduled run when I was on vacation in the Canary Islands recently. Running in Gran Canaria and Tenerife in the Canary Islands was an adventure at first until I figured out where to run, but once that was done, I loved it, hills and all.

So until my half marathon in May, I’ll keep plugging along as I have been and enjoying the signs of spring all around me. I don’t know about you all, but I’m always happy when winter is over.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I still have one code left for 37% off Honey Stinger for anyone not part of the HSHive. I can send it to you if you just let me know. It’s good until April 1.

Happy running!

Donna

 

 

Shaking Things Up a Bit

Last winter when I was training for a half marathon in Utah in February and I had to run my peak miles during some of the worst weather where I live in North Carolina, I was cursing my choice of a race in February and vowed to not make that mistake again. If you want to read about my race in Utah, the Dogtown Half Marathon, you can find it here. For those of you that aren’t aware, I’m running a half marathon in all 50 United States and ran my 41st state in West Virginia last November, the Marshall University Half Marathon.

I should state that my husband and daughter always go to races with me and since my daughter is in middle school now, I plan my races around her school schedule. She’s currently in a year-round school, which means she’s basically in school for nine weeks and out for three weeks throughout the year. One of her current breaks is during February, hence my decision to run a half marathon in February last year. I’ve ran all of the southern states except New Mexico, if you consider that a southern state, and I refuse to run in a state like Minnesota or Nebraska in February.  Call me crazy or call me a wimp, but I’m done running races in February and all other winter months for that matter.

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Photo taken last January. For a southern gal like me, this isn’t good running weather!

This all means I’ll go from running a race last November to my next one which isn’t until May. That’s a pretty long time to go in-between races, but that’s the way it’s going to be as long as my daughter has this school schedule. When she’s in high school, she will no longer be in year-round school, so I’ll have the option of running during the early spring again, as long as I can find a race during her spring break, which should be possible.

Sooooo, what have I been doing during this long break between training plans? Well, I’ve still been running to keep up my fitness level, but it’s been more “run for fun” kind of thing. I haven’t been doing any speed work of any real kind although I’ve done a little bit of playing around with increasing my speed on some treadmill runs and doing some sprinting here and there. I’ve also bought some new shoes in preparation when I do start my next training plan next month.

As I mentioned in a post last year, I tried some new shoes in a completely different brand and style than I had ever ran in before and that worked out well for me. They were Newtons and while I definitely like them, my next pair of new shoes aren’t Newtons. See, for years I had been running in Asics Gel Nimbus shoes and really liked them so I kept buying them for many years. However, after reading Jonathan Beverly’s book, “Runner’s World Your Best Stride: How to Optimize Your Natural Running Form to Run Easier, Farther, and Faster–With Fewer Injuries,” I began to re-think some things. My full post on Beverly’s book can be found here.

For 2018, I plan on incorporating more of the concepts from Beverly’s book such as not always wearing the same shoes, not always running on the same routes, not always doing the same stretches, etc.. In other words, shake things up a bit. I know many runners have the mentality, ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ but for me, I think I need to mix things up. My 20-something and even 30-something body didn’t need much variety and got by just fine without switching things up, but I feel like my 40-something body needs variety if I intend on running forever (which I do).

My last few years-worth of training plans have been the same, namely running three days a week, cross-training twice a week including cycling and yoga, strength training one day and core work one day. On the days where I ran, there were no easy runs but every run was either a tempo run, hill repeats, speed work, or long run. This next training plan I will start in a few weeks includes running five days a week, so I’ll have to double-up and go to yoga class for example after running earlier in the day to fit it all in. My plan is to at least try it and if it’s too much for my body (i.e. if I’m getting injuries) I’ll cut back to four days a week and try that.

Wish me luck! How often do you guys shake things up with your running?

Happy running!

Donna

 

 

 

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