View Full Version : Half Marathon training, anyone??

Apr. 7, 2012, 11:42 PM
I have been considering training for a half marathon, and was looking for any advice/suggestions from anyone on here who has completed one!

A little about me- healthy, active 20 something year old. Very comfortable doing 5K (working on getting faster) and getting more comfortable with the 10K, although I am not very fast. Running about 20 miles a week, split over 5-6 days. My goal would be to do a half marathon by next spring, so that's almost a year to train from where I am at right now.

For those that have completed a half marathon, what was your training program like? Did you have a personal trainer/running coach to assist you along the way, or did you do it yourself? Did you use help off the internet/informational books/running club buddies? I know it is good to mix up the workout so you aren't running 5 days a week. Right now I am also riding :winkgrin: and using the elliptical. Any other exercise that you found to be particularly helpful?

Also, any diet tips from runners would be great. Favorite meal ideas and healthy snacks?

Thanks for any help!!

Apr. 8, 2012, 02:14 AM
I'm not training for a half, but my long runs are up there with someone who is. I have found biking to be a very good cross training option because it builds fitness without as much joint stress.

As for a training program- I started out gradually increasing my distance over 6-8 months (which is really WAY longer than you need if can already run even just a mile) and found the most success longevity wise in joining a group - I run with two different ones.. one from the local YMCA and one with a group from our local running store. It keeps me motivated, and keeps me working toward being faster. (horse shows have taught me to hate being last.. lol) I strongly recommend running with a group. A great place to start looking for one is at your local running specialty store, but I like the camaraderie of the YMCA groups, even though they tend to be a lot more laid back.

Apr. 8, 2012, 09:43 AM
I ran my first half this past February. I started running on October 6th!

You're in FAR better running shape than I was when I started. The fact that you're already logging 20 miles/week is tremendous. You actually run more weekly miles than I do, and I'm running my 2nd half next Saturday!

I found several training plans that I liked (there's Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, Furman Institute, etc.) and tweaked it for what I needed. I only wanted to run 3-4 days/week (preferably 3) and cross train 3 days.

I run on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Wednesday is always my rest day and I cross train on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Tuesday runs are always 3 miles at a faster than normal pace followed by another 1 1/2 miles of hillwork (run up, walk down, rinse repeat). Fridays I generally run 4 miles and Sunday is my long run.

My Tuesday and Friday runs were the same each week. I would have liked to have made Friday runs longer, but I'll be honest, I despise running after work...my legs are shot after a day of teaching.

My actual half training began just after Thanksgiving (so late November). I had used the C25K program to that point and was able to run 3 miles Thanksgiving week. My Tuesday and Friday runs stayed the same for the next 3 months, but my Sunday run was always my long run. I simply added 1/2 mile every week, sometimes running more than my allotted distance if the legs felt good. By the time my half rolled around, I had run up to 10.5 miles. I had planned on one final run of 11+ two weeks out from the marathon, but I got sick and missed almost 10 days of training before the half. Still, the first 10 miles were pretty good...the last 3 were tough (but manageable). I finished in just under 2:15.

I had 6 weeks between my February half and the one this week. I've worked more on running a faster pace during my shorter runs, and ran up to 12 miles on my long run last week. I feel fitter, but there are still days when I feel as though I'm dragging an anvil.

I was amazed at how good my mile paces were during my February half. The adrenaline of being with all of those people definitely makes you feel like you can run easier. The shiny medal at the end is nice, too. : )

Oh...one more thing. I used my Droid to log my runs on an app called "Endomondo." It's a GREAT app. I run solo...I'm not much of a group runner, and you can play tunes through the app. I just found an arm band that my phone will fit into, put it on, push start and head out the door. I don't like to carry water when I run, so I stash a water bottle at my mailbox (and a Gu gel if it's a 8+ mile run) and swing by the house around mile 6, drink some, hit the Gu, then finish up the rest of the run).

Apr. 8, 2012, 10:49 AM
Hey, I've run quite a few half marathons& training for my first full in September.

Best plan out there is this one-

Good luck with everything ..don't forget to treat yourself to something really great when you've crossed the finish line! My girlfriend& I run together& we put a $1/ mile in a jar from start of training until day of the race, then buy something awesome when we finish the course!

Apr. 8, 2012, 11:54 AM
There's nothing wrong with running 5 days a week. You probably don't want to run 5 days in a row to start with, but it's more a question of building up slowly and not getting hurt than anything else. The big thing is that you want to alternate hard and easy runs.

I didn't really have a plan the first time out-- I ran a couple of 5ks, then a ~7 mile trail race (because it was the only local race I could find in January) and that was so much fun I decided to do a 15k put on by the same people, and then I had been going to do a 10k a month later but there was also a half option-- so I did that instead. I think I did the 15k and then one ~10 mile LR, and it was fine.

I've done the Higdon plans (with modifications for the eventing season) and they worked well. The best thing you can do in the meantime is slowly up your mileage.


Apr. 8, 2012, 12:17 PM
I did the half marathon thing by myself in 2010, but this year I've found it much easier to train with a team. I am running the Country Music Half Marathon with Team Rio (http://www.teamrio.org/) for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The fundraising has been fun and easy and it's been really motivating to have an entire team of folks to cheer you on. Our coaches give us a general training schedule based on our level. There are 2 group runs a week, which aren't mandatory, but are really enjoyable when I can make it to them!

I have to admit, I've not been as aggressively training as I should this time around, but I still have the fitness. I've been running 3 days a week, with one of those runs being a "fast" short run, one "long" run, and the other just for maintaining my fitness. I also try to do something else besides running at the gym once or twice a week. I had my longest training run thus far last weekend (12 miles) and I felt fine.

Apr. 8, 2012, 04:29 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas!! I will look into the different training plans, and I am hoping to find a running club in my area to train with this summer.

Keep 'em coming!