Monday, April 19, 2010

Training for my first half marathon

When I decided back in December that I wanted to run a half marathon in April, I knew I would need a little expert advice in devising a training plan that would help me to build up my milage safely. At this point the farthest I had ever run was only 4 miles, so the 13.1 that a half marathon entailed felt a bit ambitious.

I decided to create a training plan through Runner's World, which allows you to input race times and other factors and then produces a somewhat personalized plan based on those variables. My plan was 14 weeks long. It started slowly with just running shorter distances 3 times a week. But those 8-9 mile long runs, even though they didn't start for several weeks, sure seemed daunting on paper.

I decided to just trust the plan and go for it. The nice thing about having a training plan was that it definitely helped to keep me accountable. On days when I didn't want to run, I knew I needed to so I could get an adequate amount of miles in for the week. I didn't follow the plan exactly; I made my own modifications as needed, and there were a few weeks when I was sick and unable to run that threw me off a bit. Doing so much of my training in the winter was really hard too. I hate the treadmill, so the majority of my runs were outside. There were days I ran in 4 degree weather or in the snow, which was crazy and added a whole additional challenge to the run. I did, however, feel pretty hardcore after those runs.

Somehow in those 14 weeks, 5 miles became an easy run, 8 miles not so bad, 10 miles tough, but doable. The farthest I ran before the race was 10 miles. In hindsight I wish that I had run the full distance before the race, but I'll talk about that later when I do a race recap.

For an simple and free training plan, I would totally recommend the Runner's World site. The plans are easy to mold to your schedule, and they provide different types of workouts to help with speed and things like that. Having a well-designed plan is important, especially to prevent injury.

Stay tuned for a recap of the race in my next entry!

1 comment:

  1. This is really exciting! I am actually training for a marathon for the fall. I will check out runner's world thanks!