This 10-week plan was designed by the experts at Runner's World for runners who want to break 2:15 in the Half Marathon. It's geared for runners who have been running consistently for several years and who regularly log an average of 18 to 20 miles per week. It features two or three days of rest and four or five days of running each week. It includes long runs and plenty of race-pace miles to help you easily get into rhythm on race day. There's a long run each week, which starts at eight miles in week one and peaks at 13 miles.
Your run should feel comfortable enough that you can hold a conversation. If you're huffing and puffing, you're going too fast. (Pace: 11:39/mile)
Today is your first run with half marathon-pace (HMP) miles. You'll have these workouts throughout the program to you can practice the goal pace you hope to hit in the race, so that when the starting gun goes off, 'race pace' will feel like your natural rhythm. They'll help you improve lung power, biomechanical efficiency, running economy, and the mental toughness that racing demands. 1-mile warmup 3 miles at half marathon pace (10:18/mile) 1-mile cooldown Warm up with one mile of easy running, then try to settle in to your half marathon pace and hold it for three miles. Cool down with one mile of easy running.
When you're in training, it's important to eat like an athlete. About half of your daily calories should come from carbs. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lentils are rich in complex carbs, as well as vitamins and minerals that speed recovery. About 25 percent of your daily calories should come from unsaturated fats, which will keep you feeling satisfied and full, and help your body absorb certain vitamins. Nuts, seeds, and avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, as are olive and flaxseed oils. The remaining 25 percent of your calories should come from protein, which helps speed muscle repair and recovery. Cuts of beef and pork labeled 'loin' and skinless poultry have a healthy protein-to-fat ratio. Fatty fish, tofu, eggs, and low-fat dairy such as milk and yogurt are also good sources. (Pace: 11:39/mile)
Today is your first long, slow distance run (LSD). Since you'll be running farther, you can go out slower than you usually do. You'll want to target your easy pace of 11:39/mile, but your focus should be to cover the mileage for the day. Be sure to hydrate well before you head out, especially if it's hot and humid outside. While you're on the road, take 14 to 20 ounces of fluid per hour. Go for sports drinks that contain electrolytes to help replace the sodium lost through sweat. After you're done, be sure to eat within 30 minutes. Try to eat between 400 and 500 calories with a mix of carbs (to replenish glycogen in your muscles) and protein (to repair those muscles). (Pace: 11:39/mile)
Hills will give you the base of strength you need to take on tougher runs later in the program. Don't worry about your pace on these days; just focus on keeping an even effort on the inclines and the descents. Watch your form when you're heading up; push your legs off and up, rather than into, the ground so that you feel as if you're springing up the hill. When you're running downhill, be sure to watch your form. Shorten your stride, and focus on keeping your shoulders, hips, and feet aligned. It should almost feel like controlled falling.
1-mile warmup 3 miles at half marathon pace (10:18/mile) 1-mile cooldown Today is a race-pace run. Warm up with one mile of easy running, then dial into your goal race pace (10:18/mile) and hold it for three miles. Cool down with one mile of easy running.
Be sure to replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Since it's easy to lose track of how long you've had a particular pair, record the date that you started wearing them in your log. Invest the time and money it takes to find the right pair for you. Go to a specialty running store, where trained professionals will evaluate your gait, recommend the right pair, and let you take them for a test run. You'll leave with a comfortable pair that will allow you to run pain- and injury-free. (Pace: 11:39/mile)