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Monday, August 5, 2013

Half-marathon training plan

Celeste and I post-race the last time I ran Jazz. We are so awesome.
I've never followed a training plan for a half-marathon, but I think that needs to change. I have the Jazz half-marathon coming up in mid-October, and it's far enough away from any marathons that it can be a stand-alone race, one that is a goal in itself rather than a step along the path to a marathon.

Pros to having Jazz as a goal race:
- Will hopefully finally break 1:30
- Historically great weather (60's)
- One of my favorite local races
- No other races near it to interfere with dedicated training

- I usually like to run this in costume, which doesn't bode well for a massive PR
- The course has been short twice in its 3-year history
- Race is earlier this year, and could potentially feature weather in the upper 80's
- I will be in less than superb shape, given my low mileage summer featuring the current bout of sheer laziness I am in

I'll need a training plan for Jazz whether I think I can PR or not, so I welcome suggestions for a good half-marathon specific plan.
Things I'd like to see in a training plan:
- Running 5 to 6 days a week
- No mid-week run longer than 10 miles
- Only one really hard day per week. More than that = fast road to overtraining and injury for me
- No key lead-up races, as it will be too hot and there aren't many races before Jazz.

Any suggestions? Don't say Brad Hudson. I was using his plan last year and I don't have enough knowledge to adapt the "adaptive" part! I ended up overtrained, slow, and then injured.


  1. I'm not sure if you are up to paying any $$ but Run S.M.A.R.T. makes great customized plans at a very affordable rate. ($55 for the basic 15 week half plan. I always picked the basic plan since it's cheaper!) You can specify all of those things. You enter your current PR's, recent race times, future races and A and B goal races. You specify how many days you like to run. what day you want your long run on, etc. In the "other comments" section I usually put in all my other weird requests. I've ordered Run Smart's full marathon, half marathon and 5K training plans before and have never been disappointed.

    1. It is very easy to follow- organized and breaks down each workout with pace range and description.

  2. Sounds like you're all abuzz about half-marathon training. That's a pun. What really helped me this past year was reducing the mileage during the week, running only 5 days, and really focusing on speed workouts and tempo runs. I did both every week leading up to the race. The speed work really increased my leg turnover, and the tempo runs helped me focus on the faster paces for extended periods. But I think the furthest I ran for my long run was 15-16 miles. You'll break 1:30 easily!

  3. Dude. That's the worst pun I've ever heard.

  4. It sounds like you know enough about what you want out of a training plan to craft your own: low mileage during the week, a couple of speed workouts and eliminate that part that got you injured! But I'm sitting here icing my shins and eating cream cheese frosting straight from the container, so what do I know.

  5. I think you should still run in costume!! I'd rec my coach... you can get a customized plan based on your needs and history. $100 I think???? with no coaching, just plan. I've seen great results so that's why I would rec him.

  6. A couple of friends have used the Hansons plan to great effect, and here it is, totally free: I'm sure you could simply replace the midweek tempo run with an easy run of the same distance.

    Also re: costume - those are great costumes (I loved the cowgirl one you mentioned once. Jean shorts!). You could have a regular PR...and a costume PR.

    - Grace

    1. I've used Hansons as well - they're really easy to follow ~ Penny

  7. I used the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) program for my spring half-marathon and had success with it. I was worried because it was relatively low mileage but it really improved my time. I bought the book ("Run Less, Run Faster") but there are many articles online about it. A good one is at .

    You basically run 3 days a week: tempo, intervals, and long run and cross-train on the other days. I was skeptical but it really worked for me.

  8. After many many HM cylces, this one is still my favorite! Though it specifies only the "quality" workouts, not the overall mileage, long runs, or short/easy maintenance days, & assumes you'll fill that in based on how many miles per week you want to be running.

    It's also only a 7 week plan, so it assumes you have a solid base & are already in shape to tackle the harder workouts.

  9. You could dress up as a gymnast - that should make you more aerodynamic, therefore faster.