Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creating a Half Marathon Training Plan

Training for the the Philly Half Marathon starts next week.

I'm setting a pretty huge goal for myself, so I needed a training plan that would kick things up a notch if I wanted to achieve it.

After doing some research, tinkering with my schedule, accounting for summer weather and weekends away, I think I've come up with a solid plan.

Things that have to be in a training plan:
  • Rest days! They ward off injury and give my muscles time to recover.
  • Cross training. I'm pretty bad about this, but I know from prior experience that leaving out cross training creates muscle imbalances and can lead to injury. Plus mentally it's good to mix it up.
  • One long run. Long and slow, it gets my feet used to the pounding.
New this year to my plan is...speed work.

I've avoided it like the plague before because I hate it. I'm afraid I'll get hurt, and I've been pretty successful without it in the past. But there's no denying speed work helps improve finishing times. I'll be doing it one day a week and giving myself plenty of time to recovery between sessions.

Overall, my schedule will look like this:

Sunday: Rest or active rest (light walking, etc.)
Monday: Cross training with yoga or strength
Tuesday: Speed work (alternating weeks of intervals and tempo runs)
Wednesday: Easy miles
Thursday: Most weeks will be a few miles at pace. During cutback weeks this will be a cross training day.
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run

I've learned before that flexibility is hugely important in my training plans. So if I need to swap a Monday or Tuesday it's fine. If I need to bump a long run to Sunday, it's fine.

I tried to create a plan that would push me hard enough to improve, but wouldn't lead to injury, hence the two rest days and built-in cross training.

I'm excited to dive in and get going. In 12 weeks I hope I'll be ready to kick some serious half marathon butt.

Do you create your own training plans or follow ones from magazines or other sources?

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