Hey guys! Happy Sunday! I hope you’re doing fabulously!
I realized the other day, that, although I’ve mentioned the fact that I’m running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon next month, I haven’t really gone into much detail about how I’m actually preparing for the race.
Here’s my background: I’m definitely a casual runner; I’ve run a few 5Ks, and enjoy running for pleasure, but I don’t even have a time goal for the half marathon. I trained for the Seattle Marathon a year and a half ago, but didn’t actually end up participating in the race, because of a conflict with work, so this is technically my first half marathon.
When I first decided that I wanted to sign up for the Seattle R’n'R, I started searching around on the web for training plans. I hadn’t run in a couple of months, and needed a plan that would give me adequate time to get back into running shape. The training plan that I created is a bit of a cross between the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program, and the recommended training plan in Thrive Fitness.
I’m sure that many people train for races without training plans, but I am not someone that can pull that off. I’ve realized that unless I have a plan in front of me, telling me what I’m supposed to be doing, that I will slack horribly. Actually, my main reason for signing up for the race in the first place, was as a motivator to get my booty back in gear after a long winter of sitting around.
Really, though, my training plan became more of a guideline for me, than a strict schedule. If a certain workout didn’t fit in on a certain day, then I had no problem switching it around, or occasionally skipping it. Skipping workouts isn’t ideal, but it really won’t hurt you in the long run, as long as you’re completing the majority of your plan. I skipped my long run this weekend (the first of my 10-milers), in order to take a quick road trip to Portland, but you better believe that I’ll be tackling that run next weekend!
In reality, this is what my training plan has actually looked like so far:
I’ve taken more rest days than planned, and done less weight training than I wanted to, but I really do feel that I’m going to be well prepared for this race. My long runs have all felt strong so far, and I’ve even been able to hold my pace throughout the miles.
Overall, the things that have been most important to me in my training plan are:
- HIIT runs. Doing speed work has really made running easier for me. For me, HIIT is usually a short (~20 minutes) run, divided into intervals of running my fastest, and running at a recovery pace. I’ve thought about doing a full post about HIIT work.
- Long runs. If I tried to go from running 3 miles to running 13.1 miles overnight, I think I would have a stroke. Not because my body isn’t capable, but because of mental stress. Building up gradually not only teaches your body to run longer distances, it also helps your mind adjust to running for two hours straight.
- Yoga. I’ve been trying to get some yoga in at least once a week to help keep my joints flexible, and to help strengthen my body. Yoga is great for injury prevention, as well. I’ve mostly been using the 45 minute Yoga for Runners class from yogadownload.com. I also supplemented with a few varying 20 minute classes that are available to download for free, on days that I just wanted a good stretch.
- Shorter runs. Having a couple 3-5 mile runs during the week is important. It’s a great time just to get in the movement, get your head in place, and sweat.
- Strength training. I have been horrible about this aspect of training. I usually don’t give myself enough time to run AND weight train, so of course I choose to run. I do think that strength training can be very beneficial for training, in that it gives your body the power that it needs to propel you forward for 13.1 miles. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure that if I were to run until I dropped, it would be my legs that would give out first, rather than my lungs. Train your weaknesses.
- Rest days. Taking a day or two a week to allow your body to recover from all the physical stress that you’re putting on it is crucial. If you push yourself everyday, you will get injured. I also find that if I workout everyday, that my energy is zero. I was feeling particularly drained this last week, so I took a few extra days off. If you need it, don’t be afraid to take it easy. Your body will thank you, and so will your running. Everyone handles the physical stress differently. You might only need one rest day a week, or you may need two or three. Do what’s best for you, and listen to your body.
I titled this post, “How I’m Training for a Half Marathon” for a reason. I could have titled it “How To Train for a Half Marathon”, but as I just stated above, everyone is different. Everyone has different physical and lifestyle demands, and the same training plan isn’t going to work for everyone. This is a great guideline, but do some research on your own, and see what is out there.
What are some of your training tips? Are you currently training for anything in particular?
Have a wonderfully blessed day!