Friday, February 22, 2013

How I Train for a Half-Marathon

I love the part of half-marathon training when my body had adjusted to the distance, my mind has overcome the mental hurdles and I just settle in and enjoy longer and longer runs.

My half-marathon training is a three-month process. It's one that I've worked out for myself based on training plans given to me by the fabulous Runners' Edge running club. Each month is pretty similar in that there are three hard weeks and one easy week.

During the first month, my weekday runs are usually a 6-7k run on Tuesdays and hill or interval training on Thursdays. Saturday long runs are usually 12k, 14k and 16k. They are usually my hardest long runs. My body has been running 10ish kilometre long runs for the last month or so and working up to 16k is physically and psychologically difficult for me.

Then I have my first easy week which I look forward to and am grateful for. Two easy 30-minute runs during the week and a 10k run on the weekend.

Month two is a little different. I focus on increasing my mileage and I avoid hill training because it puts too much strain on my shins and increases my chance of injury. So I run 6-7k on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Saturday long runs are 18k, 20k and 22k. I'm always nervous for the 18k run because the 12-16k runs were so hard but, more often than not, the worry is for naught. Maybe it's because my body has toughened up, maybe it's the fact that I just finished an easy week but I usually sail through 18k feeling strong. I carry that confidence into the next two long runs and they too usually work out well.

Then it's easy week again. This time, the 10k run on Saturday feels ridiculous. My body wants to head out for 2+ hours of running and it rails at having to stick to 60 minutes. I love and hate that run. I love that I feel so strong that it seems too easy and I hate that I can't spend my morning running down country roads.

Month three is taper time. My weekday runs are still 6-7k runs and my Saturday runs are 16k, 12k and 10k. I love the 16k run, particularly after struggling with the shortness of the week before. The 12k is pretty easy and the 10k feels critical because the next weekend is race day.

After the race I take a week or so off and then go back to running three times a week with Saturday long runs hanging out around 10k.

Repeat every few months and every year I add a few more half-marathon medals to our medal wall.

I like the training plan and it works well for me. But I particularly love this part of it. Twenty-two kilometres are behind me and I am full of energy. Wish me luck tomorrow - I have an easy 10k to run.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck tomorrow! It sounds like your training has gone very well and the "hay is in the barn". One thing I would love to pick your brain about is how you fuel your runs (nutrition during them) and also what you set your basal rates at and why. I have been hesitant to go over 15km and just need that boot. In training previous to D I always brought gels and water. I wonder it I can just try this again. I am very excited for you to run your race!!