Why My First Half Marathon Training Failed

I’ve been doing a lot of analyzing of my half marathon training that I started last September, so that I can make sure I don’t make the same mistakes this time around. I want to feel really strong on this half and not finish feeling like you’d have to pay me to ever run again.

  1. I ran my easy runs too hard.
    I didn’t have any specific speed days in my training plan, so all of my runs should have been run at a relatively easy rate. But six out of my first seven runs were all run at 5k speed. In fact, two weeks after starting training, I was already questioning if I was burning out or overtraining. My notes on the day I got injured state, “I started out trying to do intervals of 1 mile running, 2 mins walking, but that was exhausting me way too fast.” This led to…
  2. I skipped workouts.
    I think this was the main component that led to everything else. According to my training plan, my weekly mileage for the first 7 weeks should have been this:

    Week 1: 12 miles
    Week 2: 12.5 miles
    Week 3: 13.5 miles
    Week 4: 12 miles (recovery week)
    Week 5: 14 miles
    Week 6: 15 miles
    Week 7: 17 miles

    Instead it was this:

    Week 1: 12.3 miles (started out well!)
    Week 2: 7.8 miles
    Week 3: 10 miles
    Week 4: 8.1 miles
    Week 5: 13.7 miles
    Week 6: 10 miles
    Week 7: 11.1 miles

    I skipped workouts because I ran too hard in the beginning and because I let life get in the way.

  3. I didn’t listen to my body.
    Week 8 should have been a recovery week. I had a small ankle twinge, but I decided to do eight miles that weekend. I have no idea why. So, that week, instead of doing the 13 miles I was supposed to do, I did 16 and ended up with an injury.

    Skipping the recovery week would have been okay, but the huge jump in weekly mileage was not. Also, I definitely should have rested that ankle when it started to hurt, not after I couldn’t walk.

  4. My weekly mileage was still too low after the injury.
    After I took two weeks off, I gingerly started back running. My goal was to start at doing 12 miles my first week and then adding 2 miles to my long run until the taper week, topping out at 20 miles at Week 15. Which is not a lot for half marathon training, but I knew I wasn’t going to run the whole thing. The problem is my weekly mileage looked like this after the injury:

    Week 11: 10.7 miles
    Week 12: 11.8 miles
    Week 13: 10.9 miles
    Week 14: 12.4 miles
    Week 15: 22.8 miles

    Notice that huge jump between the last two weeks. That is bad. The only reason that didn’t adversely affect me is because that 22.8 mile week is the one that included my 12+ mile hike, which wasn’t really a run.

So, how am I remedying this with my current training plan? First of all, I have only missed one run and that was a speed workout that I skipped because I was listening to my body and not doing a hard workout when it felt like an injury might be coming on.

I have been monitoring my pace to make sure that I’m staying within specific zones for each run. Easy runs should, obviously, be slower than my speed days.

I have a weekly mileage goal that I have to hit each week in order to make progress. I enter it into Strava every Monday morning. I calculate it by adding up the mileage in my plan (I don’t include the mileage from my Tuesday strides because I won’t always do those), subtract half a mile to make sure I’m not pushing myself when my body says to take it easy, and then round down to the nearest whole number.

I’m halfway through week 3 of this plan and so far staying strong!

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2 thoughts on “Why My First Half Marathon Training Failed

  1. I’ve been wanting to write up a post on my marathon mistakes—#1 would be that I started a new workout regime the week before the marathon. It was not the brightest idea, but I really thought that if I went easy it wouldn’t effect things. I guess I was wrong!

  2. Pingback: Progressive Runner | Review of my Country Music Half training!

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