Check In: Half Marathon Training

Somehow, I am already in week five of training for my third half marathon!! It seems like just yesterday I was starting the plan, but now I’m gearing up for an 8 miler this coming weekend! I have to say, I really enjoy being on a training plan because it takes the guess work out of exercising for me. When I have a plan in place, I feel obligated to make the time for working out, and definitely push myself harder than I do otherwise.


Overall, training is going quite well. I’ve been sticking with almost all of my planned runs and have moved from 5 to 7.3 miles for my long runs so far. My weeks have been looking something like this workout-wise with 3-5 workouts per week (mostly 3-4):

    • 1 easy run, starting with 3 miles and now up to 4
    • 1 day of speed work, alternating between tempo runs and intervals
    • 1 long run, starting with 5 miles and working up to 8 this coming weekend
    • 1-2 days of strength training
    • 2-3 days of rest

You can see the actual by clicking here for my workout spreadsheet.

That said, there are definitely some areas for improvement so that I’m ready to rock on 3-17-2012.

rnr dc

When I wrote my initial post with my training plan for my third half marathon, I said I wanted to make sure to incorporate hill training, and that has not been something I’ve been focusing on enough. One good thing is I’ve been doing all of my runs outside except for the speed work, whereas with previous training I was doing almost all of them on the treadmill except for the long runs. The areas around me are pretty hilly, though I have been choosing flatter courses than I can and I want to make sure to step up the hill training for the rest of training.

Going forward: My goal is to do at least 1 hilly run a week.

Besides that, I’ve definitely been trending towards 1 day of strength training a week and while 1 is more than I’ve done any other time, I’d like to move that towards two per week for the rest of training. Based on recommendations from yesterday’s post, I went ahead and ordered Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism, and also found a Yoga for Runners: Intermediate Program that I ordered as well. I want to try to do the Yoga DVD on some Sundays after my Saturday long runs and will count it as strength training as well even though it’s not strictly strength. Having a bunch of options at home for strength training will give me less excuses to not get my two-a-week in!

Going forward: My goal is to trend towards two days of strength training per week.

Finally, I need to stretch more! Last night I did 4 miles after work and stretched because I was SO sore from No More Trouble Zones the day before. I realized while I was stretching that it was the first time in weeks that I actually stretched after a run. I have to change that!

Going forward: Stretch for at least a few minutes after every run!

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress so far and can definitely feel myself getting faster. I ran a 5k on the treadmill the weekend before last because my plan called for a 5k, but I wasn’t signed up for one. I ran it in 27:49, which is an 8:55 pace and by far the fastest I’ve ever run a 5k on the treadmill, and while it was challenging, I felt great! My runs have been trending in the mid 9:00s overall, and my pace at my last half marathon was 9:59, so I really want to keep my eyes on the prize and make a PR happen come March 17th! I think if I continue to focus, I can definitely make that happen.

Do you have any races coming up that you’re training for? Do you tend to readjust your training plan/goals as you go?

16 Comments on Check In: Half Marathon Training

  1. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    January 24, 2012 at 9:07 am (9 years ago)

    I love that you’re two weeks ahead of me… gives me some perspective when it comes to what to expect (as I’ve totally forgotten all the feelings I went through when training for the other two).

    More strength is something I’ve been trying to work on (it’s an ongoing issue) and throwing in more yoga as a new variation to my schedule. Other than that, the running thing has gone well… 🙂

  2. Life's a Bowl
    January 24, 2012 at 9:59 am (9 years ago)

    Awesome progress and best of luck with your goals! Since making a few 2012 goals I’ve realized that it def helps making a few short-term [weekly] goals to make those bigger goals possible… And, that some of my “big” goals really aren’t goals, rather lifestyle changes 🙂

  3. Christy
    January 24, 2012 at 10:32 am (9 years ago)

    I am also trying to run more hills. Hopefully that will make me faster on the flat roads, right? I had a question about your plan. What does 5x400k mean? And how do you run your tempos? I am not sure I am doing it right!

  4. Amanda @ Running On Waffles
    January 24, 2012 at 10:47 am (9 years ago)

    I’m doing the full, and I’ve also been neglecting stretching and strength training. My goal this week is to make it a priority again…it can’t just be about getting the running workouts in! Good luck with the new JM workout…it’s killer!

  5. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    January 24, 2012 at 11:07 am (9 years ago)

    I used to do races all the time, but it’s been a year and a half since I’ve run any. I don’t know why- I think I just haven’t felt like it. And really, I haven’t run on the road much at all- only on trails, which is way different.
    My advice is to always, always train on hills. That will help you big time. And, this might sound weird, but to really learn how to breathe and control your heart rate. There’s all kinds of research that I learned when I trained to become a spin instructor about how lower-heart-rate-training can improve your endurance.
    It sounds like you’re doing REALLY well though!
    So glad you ordered the other Jillian DVD… now you just need to get Bob’s… don’t be scurred. 😉

  6. Hilary
    January 24, 2012 at 11:30 am (9 years ago)

    I don’t have any races comin up…taking a bit of a break after last year. I found that when training for my first big race (full marathon), I was pretty religious about my trainign schedule. The second time around, for my hlaf, I was much more relaxed. And I hear you on stretching…definitely one of those things I know I need to do but don’t do nearly enough of!

  7. Jennifer
    January 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth, great job on the training work!!!

    I wanted to get some restaurant recommendations from you, but couldn’t find a way to send you an email. I’m taking my mom to D.C. for a birthday trip in April and we’re staying in Dupont Circle. I want to check out some great restaurants and thought you could recommend a few. If you can see my email when I post this, feel free to shoot me a note that way, too. Thanks!!

  8. Cortney @ Nerd on the Run
    January 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m training for my 3rd half marathon as well! I’m hoping to PR b/c the course will be flat instead of hilly like the past 2. I have been going to PT to work on my crampy calf issues and it has seemed to help a lot. Who knew running distance makes your hips weak and you have to focus on them more?! I certainly didn’t until I started PT.

  9. Kim
    January 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m training for an’s on St. Patricks Day in Virginia Beach! 🙂

  10. Megan
    January 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm (9 years ago)

    Running Arlington Cemetery would be pretty and add hills to your workout. May be worth a try if you don’t mind schlepping over there.

  11. Dee
    January 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm (9 years ago)

    I also have a half coming up on March 11, and I also recently recommitted to stretching consistently. It really does make a huge difference! I’m not yet ready for, but am intrigued by, adding speedwork and hill training to my regimen. Congrats on your training improvements- I bet you will PR at your race!

  12. Laurel
    January 25, 2012 at 12:56 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth!
    So, ready or not, I have just committed to training for my first 1/2 marathon. I lost 30 pounds last year, and a total of 85 pounds since my highest weight in 2004. The longest run I’ve ever done is 5 miles, so I feel like I have a LOT of work to do!!

    My question for you is about this part of your training:
    “1 day of speed work, alternating between tempo runs and intervals”

    For someone who knows nothing about speed work (or what a tempo run is) do you have a source or guide you could share as a reference? Any information or recommendations you could provide would be really helpful. I can tell that incorporating hills into my runs have REALLY helped overall stamina, but speed is just something I can’t seem to get better at. Any insight you could offer would be really helpful! thank you!!

  13. Jennifer
    January 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Your training is really inspiring! Life has been so hectic for me lately that I’m lucky if I get two short runs in each week, in addition to one long run on Sundays. I have a 1/2 marathon on Feb. 12 and I think I’ll be OK, but the next few weeks I want to get more miles on my legs, even if it’s just 3-miles a day, every day! That and a 10-mile run this weekend and 11 miles the following weekend, and I should be ready. I hope!


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