I wrote recently about my intention to follow a good half-marathon training plan that I found online.
Everything had been going to plan, but to be honest, it’s not always easy to follow a training regimen.
First, I tweaked a back muscle while lifting weights, forcing me to cut down a 6-mile run to 4. And then I failed to eat enough the previous night and wound up getting woozy during a scheduled hill workout. I had to cut that one in half.
But, as the plan itself says, it is just a guideline for training – nothing is set in stone.
The reason I like this plan – one developed by famed running coach Hal Higdon – is that it mixes things up. There is a purpose to every workout and every rest day. It features runs of various distances and intensities, some time for overall strength training, and a rest day, which I think is important to any plan.
Here’s a quick look at next week’s schedule:
Monday – Three-mile run, plus strength training. This is a nice and easy run. The weight training helps with building overall fitness and strength. Runners tend to focus all on the legs, but core and upper-body strength and stamina are important, too.
Tuesday – Hill workout. Running hills is great for building strength and stamina. I find that running hills tends to work different muscles than flat running does. And I always find it easier mentally and physically to run a flat course after having trained on some hills.
Wednesday – Three-mile run, plus strength training. Again, it’s a nice and easy run.
Thursday – 45-minute tempo run. I never really understood what a tempo run is, but now I do and I think it really works. On a tempo run – at least according to this plan – you run continuously while building up speed, reaching your 10-kilometer pace (the pace in which you would run a 10K) at about the two-thirds mark. The plan says the run can be as hard or as easy as you’d like. This one helps me focus on my pacing and build speed as the race goes on. I’ve always had a difficult time pacing myself, so I’m hoping this will pay off on race day.
Friday – Rest day. This is the day you allow your body to rest, recover and prepare for Sunday’s long, endurance-building run.
Saturday – Three-mile pace. This is a short run done at ‘‘race pace’’ – the pace you plan to run during your race. Just what that is depends on you and how fast you want (or are willing) to go. I’m still not sure what pace I’m hoping to run in San Jose, whether I will try for a personal best or not. I guess it’s going to depend on how well this plan works.
Sunday – 90-minute run. The plan says to run this at a comfortable pace. This is where you build your endurance.
The subsequent weeks will add distance to the tempo runs and long runs, building up to the week before the race. The last week – called the taper – you decrease the miles and intensity to prepare for the race.
Whatever you’re training for, remember that every plan is a guideline. You can do your best to stick to it, and adjust as you go.