Half Marathon Training and Update

Half Marathon Training

When I was in college, I got into running. It was quite a departure from my current sport experience. I was a swimmer all through elementary school and high school. Swimming was where I could be completely myself. When I was under water, the whole world just faded away. Sound is muffled, and I could explore my thoughts without interruptions. The rhythm of my breathing, strokes and flip turns all allowed for me to turn deeper inward and focus on myself. It wasn’t until later in high school, but really in college that I was able to translate that peace into running. Like swimming, running has a rhythm. In fact, that’s how my strength and conditioning coach taught my swim team to run, with a breathing pattern. It was the link between the two sports that we could focus on beside from the exhaustion in our legs and lungs. When I finally learned to zone out and experience the beauty of running, I fell in love with the sport.

Training Plan and Consistency

Now I mentioned before that I was training for a half, and I talked about that a bit in my post about the 5k I ran (here). But here is a full overview of what I am training for. I’m working towards a half marathon in October. I have never run a half marathon before, and I am a little nervous. While I was able to run 9 miles non-stop in college, it has been at least four years since I was able to do that. We have been essentially following Hal Higdon’splan for a novice half marathon runner with a few modifications. In this plan we run four times a week. We increase the distance of our two mid-length runs by ½ a mile each week, and our long run increases by 1 mile each week. So far, it has been great. Normally I struggle with shin splints, but with the slow ramp-up we’ve done they haven’t been nearly as bad as they are normally.

Foam Rolling and Stretching to Prevent Injury

The most important thing I have done (thanks to my running buddy for making me stick to it 😊 ) is stretching and foam rolling after each run. Now, I have not previously been very good at this. In fact, stretching is my least favorite thing to do. I have never been flexible, and it seems so fruitless to me. Being an impatient person, I have not often been willing to put in the time and work required to keep myself injury free. But this time around, I have been stretching and rolling after each run. My running partner and I even brought our running time up to be earlier, so that we would continue to have time to stretch and roll before heading to work. Obviously, my shins still hurt a little, and my muscles still ache after long runs, but I know our dedication to injury prevention will help us later as well. 

Runner’s High And Maintaining my Pace

We are currently one month into our training plan, and Friday we ran 5 miles. I cannot remember the last time I ran five miles, and it felt amazing. I finally achieved a runner’s high, which I haven’t been able to yet in this training cycle, and it propelled me through the run. I kept my pace steady in the beginning keeping between a 9:40 – 10:00 pace, and then the last mile I was able to increase the pace to a 9:00-9:30 pace. The main reason I have been able to get this far, is because of the consistency I have had with my running buddy. We keep each other accountable, and that has allowed me to grow in speed and distance. Like any training program, most are not any better than the other, but picking a program you will stick to is the important piece that most people miss. Now that my body has acclimated to the running schedule, I’m going to add weightlifting back into the equation. Cross-training is so important, and I know the extra training on my other muscles will help me in my running as well. My goal for the next week is to run 4 days a week, and weight lift 3 days. If I can maintain that, I may bump it up to 4 days a week. 

Here are my tips for starting up a half-marathon training plan:

1.       Find a Running Buddy! One that will keep you accountable and not bail on you 😊
2.       Look on the internet to find one that you can stick with. Obviously do your research and don’t just pick the first one you see. (Again, I really like Hal Higdon’s training programs so far.)
3.       Ask someone who has trained and see what they liked. The only reason I knew about Hal Higdon’s plans was because I asked my strength and conditioning coach what program she had done.
4.       Make stretching a foam rolling a priority. It is important to maintain your ability to keep running. You only have one body; protect it.