How To Adapt a Training Plan to Start it Early

How To Adapt a Training Plan to Start it Early

Have a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


What do you recommend for someone who starts your 12-week half marathon training program six weeks too early? Do I start over once I'm 12 weeks out, or continue on as planned, finish the 12-week program, and then repeat the last handful of weeks leading up to the race?


You could do either. One option would be to double down on the first half dozen weeks. In other words, do Week 1 twice, then Week 2 twice (in what would have been the third and fourth weeks) and so forth.

The advantage of starting those six weeks early is that it allows you a gentler ramp for your mileage build-up. The disadvantage is that with your race so far away, you may have a hard time focusing on it. Doing the same workouts week after week may get boring after a while. Then again, maybe not.

Since you apparently already are into your half marathon training program, I would not go backwards. If you had asked me which program to choose 18 weeks out, I might have suggested that you pick a short-distance program (5-K or 10-K) for the first 6 to 8 weeks, then switch. Notice I said, “might have.” I think you’re on track for a very successful half marathon race.

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.