Your First Half-Marathon – A Detailed 20-Week Training Plan
You’ve been running for a while, and still enjoy it, but maybe it’s getting just a little bit boring? What you need is a goal to work towards, like a half-marathon.
The half-marathon is a long enough race that it’s important to go into it properly prepared. Without proper conditioning, your race experience may be a painful one, and that pain may last for days after the race. Consider, for the moment, that during a two-hour half-marathon, you are going to be taking over 20,000 steps. That’s over 10,000 times that you’re going to be lifting your right leg, driving it forward, and taking the next stride. It’s a lot to ask from unconditioned hip flexors. Shoulders, core, and, of course, heart and lungs, all need to be trained for the upcoming event.
tempo runs – medium-distance, sustained-pace run. These workouts “improve your lactate threshold pace.”
- short intervals – run 400m, then cool down by walking 2 minutes; repeat. Intervals “improve our anaerobic capacity”, as well as promoting muscle development, and building speed.
- hills – find a hill, roughly 5% grade, and mark out a 400m length on the hill; starting at the bottom, run up at a pace you can barely maintain from bottom to top, then cool down by jogging slowly to the bottom; repeat. Hill training “improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride, expands stride length, develops your cardiovascular system, enhances your running economy and can even protect your leg muscles against soreness.”
- Yasso 800 – run 800m, then cool down by jogging for the same number of minutes; repeat. Yasso 800s have the same benefits as shorter intervals, as well as improving the ability to buffer lactic acid.
relaxed run – medium-distance, relaxed-pace run. These are ‘recovery’ runs – they provide additional aerobic conditioning, and keep the muscles loose, without causing fatigue.
distance run – long distance, relaxed-place run. This is where you build your endurance.
Don’t neglect stretching – all that running can lead to seriously tight neck, shoulders, lower-back, and hips!
Format each week
Monday – rest day
Tuesday – Tempo training
Wednesday – Rest day
Thursday – Speed work
Friday – Relaxed run
Saturday – Rest day
Sunday – Distance run
Continue on to page two for the Half-marathon training schedule.
Note: before entering into an intense running training program, you should consult with your doctor.