A new half marathon goal, a new half marathon training plan!
It’s really crazy to think that the upcoming NYC Half Marathon (which I’m running with Team for Kids!) will be my SIXTH half marathon. It still feels like only a short time ago when I signed up for my first, which was on a total whim and supposed to be a one-time deal. HA!
Obviously that plan didn’t pan out how I had planned! Of course, that’s definitely a good thing. I can’t imagine my life without running now and I’m so excited to embark on my first goal race in a really long time.
A little bit of background: my first half marathon I ran just for fun. I was an inexperienced runner and I ended up injuring myself while training because I amped up my mileage too quickly. Still, somehow I managed to make it to the start line healthy and ran the race in the fastest time I’ve managed to run a half marathon to date (1:58). Go figure…
Since that race I have not been able to run 13.1 miles in under two hours and this time around it’s my goal to change that!
What’s different this time around? Well I can honestly say that I feel like a much more experienced runner at this point, and obviously that was only something that could have come with time.
Looking back now I can see that my previous half marathon training plans did not prepare me for the race well enough — I wasn’t logging enough miles and hardly did any speed workouts or my speed workouts weren’t specific enough for what I was hoping to achieve.
For this training cycle I made sure to build a solid base of consistent running before starting my official 12-week half marathon training plan (detailed below), meaning in the four weeks leading up to the start of training, I ran four days a week and steadily built up my long run miles on the weekends so that my body would be ready for the increase in miles when training officially started.
So far, that’s seemed to be a huge help, because I’m running more weekly miles than I ever have before, but also feel stronger than ever — as opposed to tired, sore and like my body is breaking down because I’m running too much.
Additionally, I’m taking my nutrition, recovery routine and sleeping habits much more seriously. I’ll share more about my nutrition and recovery routines in separate posts coming soon, but right now I will say that I’m pretty adamant about getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and so far I’ve passed up two Friday night outings so that I could get a good night’s rest for my Saturday morning long runs.
It’s all the little pieces of the puzzle that really add up to make a training cycle really successful and I feel like I’m learning that more than ever right now because I can feel that each is paying off when it comes to how I feel during and after my workouts.
Speaking of my workouts, here’s a look at the half marathon training plan I’m currently following. It’s from Competitor Running and was developed by Jeff Gaudette, a very well-respected, expert running coach.
For the most part, I’m following it to a T, but I did move the workouts around slightly so that my long runs would fall on Saturdays instead of Sundays. The one other change I made was that on the “option days” I’ve been going to a 45-minute spin class for cross training instead of the optional easy, 3-mile workout.
Anyway, like I said earlier, it’s more weekly miles than I’ve ever tried to tackle before, but after four weeks of following it, I feel myself getting stronger and I’m pumped to keep at it and to see where it can take me.
Disclosure: I am not a coach, I just enjoy putting together my training plans. Before you start a new exercise routine, consult your doctor and/or a running coach.
— My 2016 Half Marathon Training Plan —
As you can see, I’ve color coded the workouts, simply because I can be a huge organizational freak sometimes and it soothes my soul to see each workout labeled with it’s corresponding color.
At the bottom of my spreadsheet I also made pace notes, these were included in the PDF of the plan that Jeff Gaudette made so it was important for me to include them so I would know what pace to run for each workout. It also meant that I had to log into my NYRR account and look up some of my old finish times so I could get an accurate idea of what my race paces actually are for the different distances.
If you’d like to stay up to date on where I’m at in my training, just follow along on Instagram or Facebook for daily updates. You can also subscribe to my newsletter (see the box at the top of the right hand sidebar, just below my picture and bio) for direct updates about new blog posts. Race day is on Sunday, March 20 and I’m certainly aiming for a shiny new PR!
My goal time: 1:57 or faster. And aside from my A goal (a PR), my B goal is simply to give 110% on the course all in honor of the kids I’m running in support of, but also as a thank you to every single person who contributed to my fundraising campaign.
Thanks to everyone who’s made a donation so far! Like I said, in addition to the kids, I’ll be running those 13 miles on March 20 for you all too!
In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about my training plan in the comments below! And if you’re currently training for your own race, let me know! I’d love to hear about what you all are working towards!