Many of you already know that I signed up for my first half-marathon. I am not sure whether I am thrilled or scared, but I decided to go through with it, starting with my twelve-week training program from Runner’s World.

“The key to successful half marathon training is consistently putting in enough weekly mileage to get your body accustomed to running for long periods of time. Newer runners may start with 10 to 15 miles per week total and gradually build to a peak week of 25 to 30 miles. More experienced runners may start at 25 or more miles per week and peak at 40 or more miles.

When you select a training plan, avoid those that would increase your volume by more than about 10 percent in the first week. (For example, if you usually run 15-mile weeks, avoid plans that have you running much more than 17 miles in week 1.)

The most important part of your training is a weekly long run at an easy “conversational” pace that gradually increases in distance, week over week, to build your strength and endurance. Spending the extra time on your feet helps prepare your muscles, joints, bones, heart, lungs, and brain for race day. It’s not necessary for beginners to cover the half marathon distance in training. If you gradually build to being comfortable on long runs of 10 or 11 miles, you’ll have what it takes to go 13.1 on race day.

If you’re new to the half marathon, your main goal should be to comfortably cover 13.1 miles on race day, without regard to time. That means your primary goal in training is to build basic endurance, most safely done by doing almost all of your runs at an easy to moderate pace. An exception: Once a week, after a short warmup jog, do repeats of 200 meters (or 40 to 60 seconds) at a little faster than your 5K race pace. These brief bursts of faster running will improve your ability to hold good running form as you tire in the later miles of your half marathon.

If you’ve never run a road race, do some races at a shorter distance (5K to 10K) in the month or two before your half marathon. Dealing for the first time with the logistics of race day—picking up your number, waiting to use a porta-potty, running in a large crowd—will lessen the chance that such things will throw you for a loop during your half marathon. You don’t need to run faster than usual in these tune-up races; just get the experience of doing a road race.

Select a couple of long runs in the month or two before the race to use as “dress rehearsals.” Get up and start running the same time you will on race day. Eat and drink what you’ll eat on the day before, the morning of, and during your race the day before, the morning of, and during the dress rehearsal run. Wear the same shoes and clothing you plan to wear in the half marathon. This gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot any problems, and to respect the cardinal rule of racing: Never Try Anything New on Race Day.” (source: runner’s world)


Well, tomorrow I will officially start with my training program and will then share my progress with you – right here on the blog.


photo credentials: V’s World, Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough (flickr), Creative Commons 2.0