As a part of my Newbie Runner Diaries series, I've been training for my first half marathon with an online coach and training program from RunnersConnect.net. Is the program I've been doing the most effective half marathon training plan out there? Who knows. What I do know, however, is that this plan has been great for me. It has worked conveniently with my normal weekly schedule and has helped me add mileage while simultaneously improving my pace.
As I transition from a newbie runner to my first half marathon, here's what my typical week of training has looked like over the past couple months, as well as my scheduled workouts for the week starting Oct. 27.
Monday1 of 10
Monday has been a rest day or a cross-training day. I always listen to my body to decide if I need to rest or not. I also like to use Mondays as a day to get a lot of stretching and foam rolling in if my muscles are feeling sore or tight. On Oct. 27, I played ultimate frisbee on the beach, one of my go-to cross-training workouts, for two hours.
Tuesday2 of 10
Tuesday has been an "easy run" day, and usually the shortest run of the week. These started at two miles, and there was nothing "easy" about them. These eventually became my favorite runs of the week, and have gradually worked up to 3.5-mile treks that I can finish with ease, hence the name. On Oct. 28, I ran 3.5 miles at a comfortable pace.
Wednesday3 of 10
Ah, the dreaded fartlek speed workouts. These are usually the toughest workous of the week. My first fartlek workout was a 2-mile run, alternating with running at an 80-to 90-percent intensity for two minutes, and easy jogging for two minutes. On Oct. 29, I ran 6 miles with a half-mile warm-up, 5 miles of alternating between six minutes of high intensity running and four minutes of easy jogging, and a half-mile cool-down.
Thursday4 of 10
A much-needed rest day after the fartlek workouts. I have typically used these days to get off my feet, but still get some form of exercise in at the gym, or do some stretching and foam rolling. Weight training and core workouts have been common on these days, although sometimes I just rest completely. On Oct. 30, I did a quick gym workout that involved some weight training and core workouts.
Friday5 of 10
Friday is another "easy run" day, but the distance has usually been a little more than Tuesday's workout. I like to push myself on Fridays, because I know I get to rest on Saturdays. On Oct. 31, I ran 5 miles at a fairly comfortable pace, but tried to finish strong and run the last mile faster than usual.
Saturday6 of 10
College football is on, so that means I'm resting. Saturdays have been a complete rest day during my training program. No gym workouts, no running, just enjoying the start of my weekend. I do occasionally get some stretching and foam rolling in if I feel like I need it. On Nov. 1, I rested completely.
Sunday7 of 10
It's time to finish the week on a high note. These runs started at a mere five miles, and have slowly increased to double digits. I was often impressed that even though I was adding mileage each week, my pace was improving. This is how I knew my training was working. On Nov. 2, I ran 11.5 miles at an easy pace.
Half Marathon Training Program: Weeks 1-78 of 10
Here's the training program for Weeks 1-7.
Half Marathon Training Program: Weeks 8-139 of 10
Here's the training program for Weeks 8-13.
Note: Missed Week 8 due to illness