When I decided to run my first half marathon, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. A couple of my family members wanted to run one, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Had I been running? Sure, a little. I spent time obsessively at the gym every morning running on their track. Each morning I ran laps around the track, but never increased my distance. I liked how running made me feel afterwards, but definitely did not enjoy it while I was running. Even so, I decided to sign up for the half marathon and got started looking for a training plan.
Finding a training plan was something that I didn’t put much thought into. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mom found one and I jumped on board. (See a similar theme here?). We started training, and I slowly increased my mileage until 13 miles felt manageable. Each week, the new distance felt impossible, until I slowly clocked off the miles and accomplished a new mileage.
Fast forward 4 months of sweat, endorphins, and hard work. On race day, I experienced something magical. A feeling that is almost indescribable. If I had to describe it, I’d compare it to something like joy, excitement, nervousness, happiness, and more excitement all combined into one. That race got me hooked, and now 15 half marathons later I can confidently say it is my favorite race distance.
Along the way, I’ve learned so much more about training, injury, strength, and fitness. I’ve come from a person who wants to run far, to a runner who wants to strengthen their body, prevent injuries, have fun and improve. After trying pretty much every one of the popular half marathon training plans, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I’ve spent my fair share of time in physical therapy due to injuries, spent time running in every weather condition imaginable, and gotten stronger along the way.
After running about 5 halves, I decided that I knew my body better than strangers, and decided to create my own training plan. Through my experience with other plans, injury recovery, and different workouts, I’ve created and used my own training plan for the past 6 half marathons. This training plan allowed me to cut nearly 25 minutes off my half marathon time, going from running a 2:30 half to a 2:07. While I am not a “fast” runner by any means, I have remained injury free for the past 3 years (knock on wood)! My time has improved significantly, all the while I’ve spent less time running each week.
Click here to get the half marathon training plan I created (for free)!
This half marathon plan comes with my favorite strength workout (a workout I created after two different injuries leading to physical therapy). I included a list of my absolute favorite cross training ideas for those off days as well! What I love about this plan is that it can be customized for every unique runner. It’s easy to pick your favorite cross training workout, add miles to a mid week run to increase your mileage, or take an extra rest day.
When creating this plan I incorporated all of the elements that have led me to success in the past. I wanted to include all of these workouts without adding time to my daily runs, or adding extra workouts during the week.
The workouts included are:
- Strength training workouts
- Cross training ideas
- Long runs on weekends
- Mid-week shorter distance runs
- Speed workouts
- 400s, Yassos, and Tempo Runs
Running a half marathon is truly an incredible accomplishment. The feeling at the end is one that you have to experience to understand, and it will certainly keep you coming back for more. I love that the distance seems nearly impossible each time, but I truly believe that anyone can do it. Finding the right training plan is key – a plan that will challenge you, yet help you feel confident and strong at the same time.
“Running is the best metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it” – Oprah Winfrey