|Contact local running groups to get started
(Y in training at YMCA, Charleston Running Club)
For training plans for every level visit:
Below is an excerpt from Hal Higdon's website:
probably should see your doctor for a physical examination. But assuming no major problems, most healthy people can train
themselves to complete a 13.1-mile race.
The following schedule assumes you have the ability to run 3 miles, three to four times a week. If that seems difficult, consider a
shorter distance for your first race--or take more time to develop an endurance base. For information on how to train for shorter
distances, see my Beginning Runner's Guide or The 5-K Training Schedule on this Web site.
The terms used in the training schedule are somewhat obvious, but let me explain what I mean anyway. Further information and
explanations are included in my InterActive Training Programs available through TrainingPeaks, where I send you daily emails telling
you what to run and how to train.
Pace: Don't worry about how fast you run your regular workouts. Run at a comfortable pace. If you're training with a friend, the two of
you should be able to hold a conversation. If you can't do that, you're running too fast. (For those wearing heart rate monitors, your
target zone should be between 65 and 75 percent of your maximum pulse rate.)
Distance: The training schedule dictates workouts at distances, from 3 to 10 miles. Don't worry about running precisely those
distances, but you should come close. Pick a course through the neighborhood, or in some scenic area where you think you might
enjoy running. Then measure the course either by car or bicycle. In deciding where to train, talk to other runners. They probably can
point you to some accurately measured courses for your workouts.
GPS watches seemingly make measuring courses easily, but trees and tall buildings sometimes can interfere with their accuracy.
Rest: Rest is as important a part of your training as the runs. You will be able to run the long runs on the weekend better--and limit your
risk of injury--if you rest before, and rest after.
Long Runs: The key to getting ready to finish a Half Marathon is the long run, progressively increasing in distance each weekend. Over
a period of 12 weeks, your longest run will increase from 3 to 10 miles. Don't worry about making the final jump from 10 miles in
practice to 13.1 miles in the race. Inspiration will carry you to the finish line, particularly if you taper the final week. The schedule below
suggests doing your long runs on Saturdays, but you can do them Sundays, or any other convenient day, as long as you are
consistent. (See "Juggling," below.)
Cross-Train: On the schedule above, this is identified simply as "cross." What form of cross-training works best? It could be
swimming, cycling, walking (see below), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or even some combination that could include strength
training if you choose to do it on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of as indicated on the schedule. And feel free to throw in some
jogging as well if you're feeling good. In fact, on Wednesdays I offer you the option to run or cross-train. What cross-training you select
depends on your personal preference. But don't make the mistake of cross-training too vigorously. Sports such as basketball or
volleyball that involve sideways motions or sudden stops and starts do not qualify as cross-training. In fact, you may increase your
risk of injury if you double up on these sports, particularly as the mileage builds. Cross-training days should be considered easy days
that allow you to recover from the running you do the rest of the week.
Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise that a lot of runners overlook in their training. I don't specify walking breaks, but feel free to
walk during your running workouts any time you feel tired or need to shift gears. When you go to the starting line in your twelfth week,
nobody will care whether you run the full Half Marathon; they're more concerned that you finish! If this means walking every step in
practice and in the race, do it! Be aware that I also offer a separate half marathon training program for those who plan to walk all the
Stretch & Strength: Mondays are the days on which I advise you to spend extra time stretching--and do some strength training too.
This is actually a day of "rest" following your long run on the weekends, so don't overdo it. It's wise to stretch every day, particularly
after you finish your run, but spend more time stretching on Mondays. Strength training could consist of push-ups, pull-ups, use of free
weights or working out with various machines at a health club. Runners generally benefit if they combine light weights with a high
number of repetitions, rather than pumping very heavy iron. I also suggest that you strength train following your Thursday workouts,
however you can schedule strength training on any two convenient days. If you have not strength trained before beginning this
program, you may want to postpone starting that activity until after your race.
Take Time: Does the 12-week progression from 3 to 13.1 miles seem too tough? Do you have more than a dozen weeks before your
selected Half Marathon? Lengthen the schedule; take 18 or even 24 weeks to prepare. Repeat the week just completed before moving
up to the next level. Don't be afraid to insert "stepback" weeks, where you actually cut your distance every second or third week to
gather forces for the next push upward. To see how this "stepback" approach works, check out the training schedules for the
Racing: It's not obligatory, but you might want to run a 5-K or 10-K to see how you're doing--and also to experience a road race, if you
have not run one before. You will be able to use your times to predict your finishing time in the half marathon, and what pace to run that
race. I have suggested a 5-K race at the end of Week 6 and a 10-K race at the end of Week 9. If you can't find races at those distances
on the weeks suggested, feel free to modify the schedule.
Juggling: Don't be afraid to juggle the workouts from day to day and week to week. If you have an important business meeting on
Thursday, do that workout on Wednesday instead. If your family is going to be on vacation one week when you will have more or less
time to train, adjust the schedule accordingly. Be consistent with your training, and the overall details won't matter.
Running 13.1 miles is not easy. If it were easy, there would be little challenge to an event such as the Half Marathon. Whether you plan
your Half as a singular accomplishment or as a stepping stone to the even more challenging full marathon, crossing the finish line will
give you a feeling of great accomplishment. Good luck with your training.
This Half Marathon training schedule is only a guide. Feel free to make minor modifications to suit your work and family schedule.
Also, consider signing up for the interactive version of Novice 1 available from TrainingPeaks for more detailed information on what to
run each day and tips for your training. I also have an app from BlueFin that you can download into your iPhone to assist you as you