Half Marathon Training Guide
A half marathon training guide is very necessary for many runners. The race is simply too long to try and run without a good plan. The half marathon is a great distance for a number of reasons. First of all, it is very challenging at a distance of 13.1 miles. The second reason is it isn't ridiculously long like a full marathon. You don't have to do an incredible amount of training for this race, but it is serious enough of a distance, that you do have to dedicate some time and effort to make sure you cross the finish line.
There are countless plans out there that will get you ready to the race, but they won't be the most enjoyable training guides. Tips4Running.com suggests using the 100 Day Marathon Training Plan. This is a marathon guide, and a half marathon guide in one. It will prepare you from your first week of running, all the way to the start line of your race.
I wouldn’t suggest something I haven’t tried myself. I am actually in the first phase of training right now for an August half marathon. This half marathon training guide is excellent for any level of runner because it can be customized to how fast you want to run. It also is based on two key concepts that other ill-conceived and incomplete training guides totally ignore. The two concepts are “periodization” and correct training “intensity.” The author of this plan, Marius Bakken, is a two time Olympic Distance runner. He designed this guide to help any level of runner, and it is the number one online marathon running guide. That is Marius leading the race in the picture below.
The 100 Day Half Marathon Plan and Marathon plan is broken up into different training phases as you go. The technical term for these phases is “periodization”. The history behind this type of training is based on Italian training concepts. Italian marathon runners don’t train specifically for a marathon for 12 weeks in a row. They first train for a 5k, then a 10k, then the half marathon, and finally the marathon. Every few weeks, they move to a new training “period.” These phases of training keep your legs healthy, and increase your fitness right on schedule.
The second concept that helps you run a great first or fastest half marathon is the Kenyan Intensity training model. Don’t be alarmed by the word “intensity.” The Kenyans have mastered the art of training hard, but not too hard. The half marathon training guide uses a lot of set paces or heart rate levels to ensure you don’t over train, or under train as you prepare for your race.
Once you have committed yourself to training for a half marathon, the next logical step is deciding how you want to approach the race. There are three different types of runners in any half marathon or marathon race. The first type is the beginner runner who simply wants to cross the finish line for the first time. The second type is the lifestyle runner, who simply runs races because they enjoy running. The third type of runner is the one who is trying to run a fast time. No matter what category you fit in, this half marathon and marathon guide has a plan for you. You can pick a schedule that is based on either completing the race, or a set time.
Let’s look at my goals and I’ll go through the details of the 100 Day Marathon Training Plan and how I am using it for a half marathon training guide.
I am in the first phase of training. Right now, I really don’t know what my ultimate goal is, but I am pretty sure I could run a half marathon in 1:45 with some good training. I actually am starting the plan a little early. Using the marathon guide, I picked the 3:30 schedule. (Half of 3:30 is 1:45 for a half marathon!).
The first phase of training is called “The Introduction Phase.” This period lasts only three weeks. There are different types of workouts throughout the three weeks, but they aren’t too hard or too easy. This leads me to believe I have made a wise choice for my goal time so far.
Up next is the “5k/10k Phase.” This training section lasts six weeks. This phase of training is the real start point, especially if you are in decent running shape. I chose to start early and go through the introduction phase to get my legs, and more importantly, my mind ready for the training. During the 5k/10k training, you will once again mix several different workouts into your routine. There are distance runs, walk/run workouts, pace based runs, pyramid workouts (1 minute fast, break, 2 minutes fast, break, 3 minutes fast, break, and then back down…) and several other unique, challenging, and invigorating running opportunities.
At the end of the 5k/10k phase, you should run in a 5k (3.1 mile) race. See what you can do after this six week section of training. The race is designed to help you understand your current fitness level, and then you can reassess and maybe change your half marathon goal times.
After this section of training comes after four weeks of half marathon training. This takes you to a total of 11 weeks of preparation for a half marathon race. During these three to four weeks, the workouts get longer, but not necessarily harder. The focus is getting your body ready for the amount of time you will be out there running.
I am starting this half marathon training guide early. I will actually train for 10 weeks, and then go back to the start of the half marathon training schedule (week six) and do weeks 7-10 again. If you are training for the full marathon, you continue the schedule up to week 14, which is when you run the full marathon race.
One other nice thing about the 100 Day Marathon Plan is it even leads you through three weeks after you have completed the race. That way, your legs will recover quicker. You’ll stay in great shape, and can try to run different races, or simply keep on running just to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I have been running the past 15 years just to maintain my weight and continue a healthy lifestyle. This summer I really decided to push my fitness a little and run this half marathon. The farthest I have ever run is 12 miles, and that was back in college when I ran track competitively. It is time for a new challenge! Are you going to join me? Get the 100 Day Marathon Training Plan to use as a half marathon training guide, or go big and run the full marathon!
- Written by David Tiefenthaler
- Marius Bakken Interview about his Marathon Plan
- Beginner Half Marathon Training
- Train for Marathon Running
- Training for a 5K
- Running Workouts
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