Half Marathon Training Made Easy

I’ll never forget my first race! Or how nervous I was…I had skipped the 5K and the 10K and gone straight for “the big one,” 13.1, and standing at the start line I knew deep down that I had definitely not trained hard enough on mileage or hills. Having never been in a race before, I was honestly just hoping I’d be able to finish without needing medical assistance.

I ended up doing great – way better than I had expected. I finished the Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon in 2 hours, 24 minutes with an average pace of 10:59 per mile. I made it across the finish line and actually placed in the top half of all female participants.

This year, however, I don’t just want to “make it” across the finish line. I want to absolutely BURN the finish line and take at least 10 minutes off my personal record from last year. And that means taking my mileage training much more seriously from the get-go, so I know I’m ready on race day and not nervous or holding back at all.

I’m following the Nike Training Club mileage calendar this year to guide me into those long distances. I think last year I only made it up to a 10 mile long run before I had to start tapering down. This calendar calls for a gradual “ladder” of mileage, basically adding one mile to my long run every Saturday, supplemented by some 3-6 mile runs earlier in the week and broken up by different workouts you can do on the other days of the week (in the interest of time and staying focused on pain management activities I already do, I’ll be disregarding the NTC workouts suggested, but I encourage you to download their app and try them out!).

I’ll end up hitting 12 miles, 2 weeks before the race, and then “tapering” or reducing mileage/getting more rest for those last few weeks so that my muscles are fresh for the half. We used to do this before big swim meets too, on my competitive team, and boy were those the best days of our lives. When you’ve been training hard, nothing feels better on sore muscles than some good taper time.

Overall, Nike’s training guide calls for several runs per week, on specific days of the week and at specific distances. You’re probably wondering how I’m going to stick to such a demanding schedule! Well, much like my macro tracking spreadsheet, I’ve created a system on the computer that I’m hoping will help me do the job.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] How to get reminders of your runs!
[CLICK TO ENLARGE] How to get reminders of your runs!
If you have an Android phone like me, you’re probably addicted to Google Calendar reminders, and if you’re not then get on it! You’re already on your phone all day (usually just passing the time) so there’s literally no better place to get reminders and messages about your fitness, or really anything else you have to take care of. The hardest part is setting it up, but trust me when I say you will reap the benefits of automatic reminders!!

What I’ve done is take the Nike training calendar and superimposed it into my own personal GCal. Had to type every single run into my calendar by hand (use your laptop/desktop, not your phone! will take forever).

  1. I create an “all-day” event called “XX MILE RUN”,
  2. mark my time as Available (to avoid false conflicts with future events I might schedule there),
  3. and set the push notification on my phone to 8 a.m. the day of the run (0 days before).

Now I’ll be notified each morning whether or not I’m going to be running that day, and how far. It’s a 15-week training calendar, so without setting up these reminders I’m not sure I would be able to make it happen with my busy lifestyle!

I’m all set to start on this program on May 5 in preparation for the America’s Finest City Half Marathon on August 16. I already feel better having this planned out! Huge sigh of relief.

My calendar...I'm ready baby!!
My calendar…I’m ready baby!!

I really think this is gonna work, guys. Would love to hear more feedback on how to train for a half marathon! Anyone else trying to keep a religious fitness calendar like me? 

2 thoughts on “Half Marathon Training Made Easy

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