Ready to run your first half marathon? This plan is for you. It is geared for those who have run for at least a year, and have been running an average of 15 miles per week for the last three months. Each week features three days of short runs, a long run, and three days of rest or cross-training. The plan also includes tempo to help you get accustomed to running at a faster pace. The mileage starts with 14 miles per week and peaks at 24 miles per week. The long runs start at five miles per week, and peak at 12 miles. Each day, along with your workouts, you'll also get tips on training, nutrition, and injury prevention from the Runner's World experts.
Maintain a comfortable, conversational pace, and keep your heart rate at about 65 percent of VO2 max. Or you can cross-train on a bike or an elliptical trainer. Don't worry so much about your pace during these runs. Just try to focus on covering the distance feeling good.
It's important to keep your easy days easy throughout training so that you have the energy and fitness to give your all to the quality workouts, like tempo runs and long runs. In order to do that, it's a good idea to learn the best target pace for all your runs on the schedule. If you have run a race within the past six months, plug that time into our training calculator at runnersworld.com/tools. Look at the 'training paces' to find your pace for each of the runs on the schedule. If you don't have a recent race time, do a one-mile time trial. Here's how: Go to a track or any one-mile stretch of road. After a 10-minute warmup, time yourself while running four laps (or one mile) as fast as you can. Note your time, then cool down with 10 minutes of walking and jogging. Plug your time into the training calculator.
Training logs can be great tools to track your progress and help prevent injuries. Write down details about the mileage you ran, how you felt while you were on the run, what the weather was like, and how you felt afterward. Be sure to include your race goals and the reasons you're training for a marathon. When you feel the urge to call it quits, pull out that log. Seeing all your plans--and all that you've already accomplished--can help get you out the door.
Today is your first long run. This long, slow distance run is meant to build endurance. These should be done at an easy pace, slower than you usually go on shorter runs during the week. If you're a beginner, go as slowly as your body dictates. Walk if you want to. Your goal is to cover the distance for the day without feeling utterly exhausted.
If you find yourself huffing and puffing while you're running, or you're struggling to finish your run, then you're starting out too fast. Get in the habit of starting out at a slow, warmup pace and easing into a more comfortable pace that you can maintain. The pace should be easy enough that you can carry on a conversation. The idea is to finish each run feeling energized and strong enough to run again the next day.
Don't let boredom derail your training. Map out a new route or find a scenic trail so you feel refreshed. You can find a new route, or map your own, by going to our routefinder at runnersworld.com/routes.
Have new aches and pains? It may be time to replace your shoes. Worn-out and ill-fitting shoes are often the cause of injury. Be sure to go to a specialty running shop to get a pair that offers the fit and support that your feet need.