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1027 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: May 16, 2013 8:08 PM by Running4urlife
SLStaley Rookie 1 posts since
Jul 7, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

May 7, 2013 11:22 AM

How to train for a half marathon?

I have looked at some different training schedules- most of what i have seen are generally the same... you run shorter runs during the week and a long run on saturday.  i don't really want to train that way- i like the idea of being comfortable with running a certain distance then bumping it up...  right now my "long run" is 6 miles- that's my max so far- because it is spring in Michigan the weather is finally nice enough (for me) to run outside, i'd like to run 6 miles a few more time before adding any distance.  i have not found any training methods that work like this yet- is it because it is an aweful idea or i've just not found it yet?  i'd like to run a half by fall- as in early september- however i don't have a specific one picked out yet.  any suggestions on the training?

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 7, 2013 3:46 PM (in response to SLStaley)
    How to train for a half marathon?

    I'm not quite sure what you're suggesting. Most people find it easiest to do (relatively) shorter runs, typically in the 4 to 6 mile range, on weekdays when time is limited, then a longer run on the weekend when more time is available.  Generally, you are better off doing one long run a week, several shorter runs with specific goals such as intervals, speedwork, hills, easy days etc. (not necessarily all in the same week) and possibly a "mid-distance" run (longer than most daily runs, shorter than the long run) during the week.  Of course, you can (and maybe should) train in whatever way makes you comfortable.  But most commercially available plans will be more like those you have found online.


  • justamaniac Legend 240 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 7, 2013 8:12 PM (in response to SLStaley)
    How to train for a half marathon?

    I'm an ex-Michigander - I just left Ann Arbor a couple of months ago....  I remember those ugly winter runs and loved the release of spring.


    I understand what you mean about the way typical training schedules are set up. I'll use a training schedule as a guide and modify accordingly.  But note that there is some sanity to why those plans are set up the way they are: they help prevent us from injuring ourselves from overtraining, and to get us to run a sufficient number of miles.


    One of the first things that I would recommend is to pick an event.  Set a target so that you have a date and a goal to work towards. Don't just run a bunch of miles and then decide "ok, I think I can run a HM" for example.  If you are wanting to run a HM, select one, and then establish your plan to run it.  Your training will be better focused and you will be better committed to the task. 


    In my short running career, and at the ripe age of 56, I have figured out what works for me and I'll share it below with you.  Just please remember, everybody's needs are different, so modify as necessary:


    - during a "running base period", i.e. more than 18 weeks prior to a long event, I like to run at least a couple, maybe even three 6-10 miler's per week. This helps me build up a nice endurance base.  And oddly enough, I really enjoy the runs.

    - I always have a rest day before those longer runs.

    - I will always do a short "shake out" run the day after a long run, usually 2-3 miles and not care about the pace.

    - I pick one day during the week to do hill repeats or some kind of speed work. This is usually 3-4 miles.

    - I run no more than 5 days a week. 

    - If my life/work schedule permits me to do more than one really long run (15+miles) that week, I'll only run 4 days that week.

    - I make sure that my schedule has a nice taper in there so that my legs are adequately rested for the big day.  For a HM or more, I'll hit my max long run 3 weeks out, cut that long run in half 2 weeks out, then cut that again by 3/4 one week out, and then do only 2-3 slow miles 3 or 4 times the week of the event.

    - On rest days I try to do something different that is not running and is non-impact. Cross training, so to speak... bike, swim, stairs or stairmaster, maybe some plyometrics... sometimes I just walk.

    - But as the miles build up, sometimes rest days need to be just that:  "rest days".


    So what I do is take all of the above and then with a typical training plan as a guide, literally map out what I want to accomplish running-wise for each week up to the date of the event.  For example, I will be running the Marine Corp Marathon in October and I have then next 24 weeks planned. I'll adjust the plan as necessary as things happen (life, work, kids, etc.), but the important thing is that it gives me specific goals to hit every week and focuses me on the end goal.


    Good luck - and pick an event and have fun with it !! 


  • Running4urlife Pro 72 posts since
    Oct 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. May 16, 2013 8:08 PM (in response to SLStaley)
    How to train for a half marathon?

    SL Staley - I can only speak from my own experience which is short distance running of 3 - 6 miles 4-5 times per week.  Lots of 5k runs and I've been training for my first 1/2 marathon since March and the 1/2 is in June.  I have made 10.5 miles twice now.  I usually run 4 -5 days per week and my long run is on Sunday or Monday depending on what I have going on.  I am 50 years old and a slow runner, so with that said, I would not run 13.1 miles without first doing several long runs.  It has helped me get a feel for how long it actually is.  At the end of your 6 mile run ask yourself if you feel strong enough to turn around and repeat what you just ran.  When I asked myself that a few weeks back I got scared...haha...I realized that it was going to take a number of weeks to be able to build up to that.  When I get to mile 9/10 I'm STILL struggling and thinking "how will I ever make 3 more miles!!!" 


    While everyone responds differently to training, I think most programs are pretty spot on about having one long run a week in the schedule.  It has helped me see that my feet get hot, my calves burn, my hips start hurting and none of that happens at mile 6, 7 or even I'm glad I've been following a training schedule.  I have less than 6 weeks and I'm really hoping I can do 13 miles at least ONCE before my big day!!!


    Good luck and I hope you find the best fit for you!!


    2010 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---47:24 (walked...first race in 10 years!)

    2011 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---- 33:53

    2012 - St. Paddy's Day 8k/5k Run....58:59....FIRST 8K!

    2012 - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack....35:38

    2012 - Short Run on a Long Day 5k in Frankfort....34:43

    2012 - Fort2Base - 3 Nautical Mile (3.45 miles).....36:44

    2012 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.....31:46...PR!!

    2013 - Mar - St. Paddy's Day 5k/8k Run...34.26

    2013 - Apr - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack...34:36...2nd place in my "old age" group

    2013 - May - Solider Field 10 Miler...2:01:26

    2013 - June - Chicago Color Run (not timed)

    2013 - June - Women's Chicago 1/2 Marathon....2:43:04

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