Half Marathon Plan

I’m thinking of doing a half marathon.  I’ve never done one before.  Before this year I’d never even run a 5K but as of December 31, 2009, I will have done:

  • 4 5K’s – I walked the first one in June due to my knees, ran the second in August in 27:01, and have two more between now and the end of the year.
  • 2 sprint triathlons – August and October
  • 1 10K – October

I had so much fun 🙂 with the 10K distance that I decided within several days of that race to try a half marathon.  I know a couple of people who are planning to do the Shamrock race in March so that’s what I’m shooting for.  Now I just need to get up the courage to enter before it fills up.

I used the Runner’s World SmartCoach tool to train for my 10K.  Due to unforeseen circumstances I didn’t finish it completely but it got me far enough to be able to  race within 1 minute of the time it had estimated.  Not bad!  I’m going to use it again to train for this half mary knowing that things probably won’t go exactly according to plan but it should get me close enough. 🙂

I’d love to train harder than this but from experience I’ve learned I need to go as easy as possible on my joints.  I’ve used easy settings for this plan (currently training 6-10 miles per week, how hard to train: moderate) and will be using my usual walk breaks during both the training and the race.

Runner's World
TRAINING: SMART COACH


Your current race time is: 0:55:28  for a 10 K
Your distance training goal is: Half-Marathon
You currently train: 6 – 10 miles/week
How hard you want to train: Moderate
Your long-run day: Sunday
Your training program Starts: Monday, 11/30/2009 and Ends: Sunday, 3/21/2010
Length of your training schedule: 16 weeks
Wk Dat Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun Total
1 11/30
12/6
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
6 miles
2 12/7
12/13
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:49
7 miles
3 12/14
12/20
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:49
9 miles
4 12/21
12/27
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 5 mi
@10:49
10 miles
5 12/28
1/3
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:43
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:08; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 6 mi
@10:43
13 miles
6 1/4
1/10
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:43
Rest
/ XT
Speedwork
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 2×1600 in 8:37
w/800 jogs; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 6 mi
@10:43
13 miles
7 1/11
1/17
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:43
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:08; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 7 mi
@10:43
14 miles
8 1/18
1/24
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:43
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:43
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:43
10 miles
9 1/25
1/31
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 6 mi, inc
Warm; 4 mi @ 9:07; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 7 mi
@10:36
15 miles
10 2/1
2/7
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Speedwork
Dist: 7 mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:32
w/800 jogs; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 8 mi
@10:36
17 miles
11 2/8
2/14
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 6 mi, inc
Warm; 4 mi @ 9:07; Cool
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 8 mi
@10:36
18 miles
12 2/15
2/21
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:36
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:36
12 miles
13 2/22
2/28
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 7 mi, inc
Warm; 5 mi @ 9:07; Cool
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 9 mi
@10:30
20 miles
14 3/1
3/7
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Speedwork
Dist: 8 mi, inc
Warm; 4×1600 in 8:27
w/800 jogs; Cool
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 9 mi
@10:30
21 miles
15 3/8
3/14
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 7 mi, inc
Warm; 5 mi @ 9:07; Cool
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:30
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 10 mi
@10:30
21 miles
16 3/15
3/21
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:49
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:13; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Race Day
Dist: Half-Marathon
@9:11
Time: 2:00:30
20 miles
<!– REVISE YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM –>
Legend
Example What it Means
Easy Run
Dist: 2mi
@12:00
Run a total distance of 2 miles at a pace of 12 minutes per mile.
Speedwork
Dist: 5mi, inc
Warm; 3×800 in 4:00
w/400 jogs; Cool
Run a total distance of 5 miles. Your run should include:
– a warmup of about 1 mile
– 3 repeats of 800 meters each; each repeat should take 4 minutes
– a 400-meter recovery jog after each repeat
– a cooldown of about 1 mile
Note: Warmups and cooldowns are generally 1 mile each. But on some days, you’ll need to make them longer to reach the total distance for your run.
Rest
/XT
Take a rest day, or do moderate cross-training activity.
Race Day
Dist: 5K
@7:00 Time: 21:44
On a race day, run your 5K at a 7-minute per mile pace. Your time will be 21:44.
BACKGROUND AND SPECIFICATIONS

The RUNNER’S WORLD SmartCoach is a free, interactive tool that combines science, mathematics and 40 years of collective running wisdom to bring you a proven, individualized training program. You can return to it as often as you want.

Run run run.

Saturday’s easy run:

Two miles inside to test out my new shoes.  At first I was a bit unsure about the fit but after stealing the SuperFeet inserts out of my old shoes and throwing them in these, they were perfect.

Five miles outside.  It was c~o~l~d and kind of windy.  I don’t have much experience with cold-weather running (and most of it took place 10 or so years ago!) so I layered up with whatever I had on hand and went with it.  I also took a GU and Sports Beans.  Figured I’d be in the mood for one or the other at some point.

During this run I saw two other girls wearing gloves.  Smart move.  Next time I’m definitely wearing gloves.  They were also wearing running tights.  Smart move again.  My warm-up pants were noisy, slightly cumbersome, and didn’t seem to handle perspiration very well.

On top I wore a performance t-shirt, my new Mizuno vest (in blue) that I picked up this week from the running shop during a 70% off! sale, and my warm-up jacket.  The jacket was a last minute addition found in my car after I belatedly realized just how chilly the breeze made the air.  Ideally I’d like to have a long-sleeved performance shirt to go under the vest and ditch the jacket.  It, too, was not ideal for handling perspiration.

I got really overheated about a mile in, ended up tying the jacket around my waist for a few miles, then had to put it back on as the sun set and it got chillier.  Make up your mind, Sam!

I passed three deer grazing at my turn-around point.  They accepted my first pass and simply watched me go by.  However, I think they’d had enough of my leaf-crunching by the time I’d turned around to make my second pass and they bounded into the woods.

… How about that.  I just used Runner’s World’s “What Should I Wear?” tool and it told me to wear gloves, running tights, a vest, and long-sleeved shirt in this weather 🙂 : http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/whattowear/0,7152,s6-240-325-330-0-0-0-0-0,00.html?ambient_temp=16&temp_units=0&wind=1&conditions=1&preference=2&x=&y= .

The first two miles were done at about a 10:40/10:50 pace.

Splits from the five miles outside:

10:22

10:33

10:52

11:01

11:07

Avg – 10:47

I noticed my energy dropping around mile three of the five-miler as it had been a while since I’d last eaten, so I dug into the sports beans and that helped.  I had a few more at mile four.  Once I got home I also had a recovery shake with a 2:1 carbs:protein ratio plus a yummy Kashi oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.  Veggie pizza for dinner with green peppers, mushrooms, and spinach.

I’m counting todays’ runs as a 7-miler since there was only a brief break between the two and the five (driving from the gym to the running trail 10 min. away).  It’s the longest I’ve run yet (um, probably not a good idea for someone breaking in new shoes!).  I wanted to KNOW that I can do 6.2 miles for the 10K next weekend.  I’ve noticed that whenever I add an extra mile onto my long runs, I always get a bit sore and really have to push through that last mile.  However, the next time I go out and do that distance I’m fine.  I’m a little stiff now but I iced the knees when I got home and it seemed to do the trick.  Hopefully next weekend I’ll handle the 6.2 miles at race pace with ease.

10K Plan

I think I’m training for a 10K now. Maybe.

Here’s the plan according to my buddy, Mr. SmartCoach. The goal is to ramp up slowly in order to avoid injury.

Here’s your individualized training program:

Your current race time is: 0:26:30 for a 5 K
Your distance training goal is: 10 K
You currently train: 6 – 10 miles/week
How hard you want to train: Moderate
Your long-run day: Saturday
Your training program Starts: Monday, 8/24/2009 and Ends: Sunday, 10/25/2009
Length of your training schedule: 9 weeks


{ var sched = getScheduler(); var pacer = getPacerFromPR(); var allWeeks = getFullProgram(sched); { var pcob = getRaceDistDict(); var s = “”; for(var raceCode in pcob) { var rDist = pcob[raceCode]; var pCoef = logRegressionPaceCoef(rDist); s += (raceCode + “=” + rDist + “=” + pCoef + “n”); } //alert(s); } checkWarning(allWeeks); if(startDate!=null){ var curDate = new Date(startDate.getTime()); } for(var i = 0; i “); dw(“

“); dw(“

“); // Last week of program has pace that reverts to first week’s pace. var targPaceWeek = (i == allWeeks.length-1) ? 0 : i; for(var j = 0; j ” + wo.days[xj].getDescLine(0) + “
“); var toD = wo.days[xj].getDescLine(1); if(wo.days[xj].cde == “race”) { // don’t use targPaceWeek here, because want to run fast! toD = toD.replace(/xpacex/, pacer.getRacePace(isMetric(), i)); toD = toD.replace(/xtimex/, pacer.getRaceTime(isMetric(), i)); } else { toD = toD.replace(/xpacex/, pacer.getPaceString(wo.days[xj], isMetric(), targPaceWeek)); } dw(toD + “

“); } dw(“

“); dw(“

“); curDate.setTime(curDate.getTime() + 7*24*60*60*1000); } }

Wk Dat Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun Total
” + (i+1) + “ ” + dateS1 + “
” + dateS2 + “
” + wo.totalDistDisp(isMetric()) + “
1 8/24
8/30
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
6 miles
2 8/31
9/6
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
7 miles
3 9/7
9/13
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 4 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
9 miles
4 9/14
9/20
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 3 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 5 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
10 miles
5 9/21
9/27
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:12; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 6 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
13 miles
6 9/28
10/4
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
Speedwork
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3×800 in 4:07
w/400 jogs; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 6 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
13 miles
7 10/5
10/11
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:12; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 7 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
14 miles
8 10/12
10/18
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 6 mi, inc
Warm; 4 mi @ 9:17; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Long Run
Dist: 7 mi
@10:47
Rest
/ XT
15 miles
9 10/19
10/25
Rest
/ XT
Easy Run
Dist: 2 mi
@10:53
Rest
/ XT
Tempo Run
Dist: 5 mi, inc
Warm; 3 mi @ 9:17; Cool
Rest
/ XT
Rest
/ XT
Race Day
Dist: 10 K
@8:48
Time: 54:44
13 miles


I came across this article today on Runner’s World – a little old but still true – and had to post it because it describes me and my self-inflicted overuse injuries so well. I thought others might also be able to relate. I’ve highlighted in green what I find particularly relevant. Nutrition-wise I think I do well enough and my lungs and heart feel terrific. However, I definitely push my body and, according to this article (and the tendons in my knees), it is probably too much too often for my age. It’s time to start using some self control.

Running Through The Ages

RUNNING YOUR BEST IN YOUR 20S

You have a high capacity for work and recovery, but you will also discover that life is demanding and can get in the way of training.

By Dimity McDowell

Image by Roger Erickson
PUBLISHED 02/08/2008

Inherently stronger and faster than a teenager, you likely run because you love it–and you’re good at it. Not because one of your teammates is cute, which is why Nick Symmonds, 24, a world-class 800-speedster in Eugene, Oregon, got started. “People typically race their best from their early 20s to their early 30s, when they have a high capacity for work and for recovery,” says coach Greg McMillan. Still, challenges can emerge: Graduation can send athletes into a tailspin, as former Harvard steeplechase star Rosalinda Castaneda discovered. She moved to San Francisco and started working as a blood-transfusion specialist to prepare for med school. “My hours were all over the place, and I couldn’t train consistently,” says the 24-year-old. “It was a shock to my body, which was used to running on a set schedule for eight years.”

Your Strengths

You’re on top of the physiological world. Around age 24, not only are your bones as dense as they’ll get, but you’re as muscular as you’ll ever be (having attained the maximum number of fibers per muscle). Enjoy it–and shed your shirt during workouts without a second thought–because in your 30s, you’ll start to lose muscle mass (about four percent per decade). “Age-related muscle loss is obligatory and can’t be stopped with exercise, but it can be slowed,” says exercise scientist Steven Hawkins, Ph.D. “Runners also start with a higher level of muscle quality than sedentary people, so there’s a much longer way to fall.” You can impress competitors with a killer kick at the end of a 5-K–even if you haven’t been doing speedwork. Your fast-twitch muscle fibers, used for quick bursts, are most plentiful in your 20s, and yourVO2 max is also at its peak. Even though both will decline, runners have a massive advantage because our baselines are so much higher than the average person’s. “A fit 70-year-old has the same capacity to move oxygen around the body as an unfit 40-year-old,” says internist and longevity expert Walter Bortz, M.D.

Your Weaknesses

You may start to feel twinges in your knees toward the end of your 20s. Cartilage, the gel-like, shock-absorbing substance that lines the ends of your bones, can become frayed as your 30th birthday looms. Adding insult to injury, chondrocytes, the cartilage cells in charge of repair, also decrease in number with age. You’ll likely do some self-inflicted damage before you figure out how to balance the demands of real life with running. “Young, unsupervised athletes usually don’t get enough sleep, hydration, or adequate nutrition,” says Bradley Young, Ph.D., sports psychologist in the school of human kinetics at the University of Ottawa. “At some point, usually the fourth or fifth year out of college, you realize that you can’t stay up until 2 a.m. and belt out an eight-mile tempo run the next morning. You eventually learn to self-regulate–or you become a post-university running casualty.”

Exercise Rx

Your most important training tool this decade? Self-control. Cardiovascularly, you’re a rock star, but your musculoskeletal system can’t always keep up with your heart and your lungs. “The demands and impact of running are too intense on your joints and muscles to complete tough workout after tough workout without getting injured,” says McMillan, who recommends you take at least one easy day between hard runs and incorporate no-impact cross-training activities into your routine.

Nutrition Rx

“Runners in their 20s tend to either eat poorly or eat just to get by; they don’t make the connection between food and performance,” says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a sports nutritionist in Miami. When you’re running, you want your body to tap into easily accessible carbs for fuel, not drain your protein stores. “Not only does protein aid in muscle repair, it also contributes to your immune system, the upkeep of your hair and skin, managing your hormones and water balance.” So what you eat before, during, and after a run should all be part of your training plan. Before any run that’s going to exceed an hour, eat about 40 grams of carbs (one cup of sports drink and half a banana or energy bar). If you’re going longer than 90 minutes, restock your carbs every hour with 16 ounces of energy drink or with a gel and water. And within 60 minutes of finishing your run, jump-start your recovery with a carb-and-protein snack (chocolate milk and a bagel, or a smoothie).

The runner pictured above is Nick Symmonds 24 Eugene, Oregon
Running since: age 13
Résumé: Seven-time NCAA Division III champion, 800 and 1500 meters; 800 meters in 1:44.54 (at 23); indoor mile in 3:56 (at 23)
What I’ve learned: “Last year, I traveled and raced too much. I was exhausted and couldn’t perform well. It showed me what is too much for my body. This year, my season will be less ambitious so I can be my best when it counts.”
What works for me: “I never lost an 800-meter race in college. After graduation, I dropped my PR by almost three seconds. I attribute it to better competition. If somebody is in front of me, I can easily find an extra gear.”

Go back to Running Through the Ages main page.