Training Plans: Out with the Old, In with the New

I’m abandoning my current half marathon plan.

It doesn’t make any real sense to continue it. I’ve already met my goal time. Then I ran an even better race the week after. All of that without tapering. And I had to go majorly off my plan anyway, due to a stomach bug, ice/snow, and then getting my wisdom teeth out.

It seems like the ideal time to start a new plan, with a new goal.

The Tom King Classic is no longer my goal race. It will now just be a fun long run that I will run by feel. I still plan on keeping Oak Barrel easy.

My new goal race is the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon at the end of April. I’m going to aim for a sub-2:10 time. That means running about 15 seconds per mile faster than at Cedars Frostbite, which doesn’t seem too terrible.

Here’s the new plan!

Week 1st Run 2nd Run 3rd Run 4th Run Long Run
03.02-03.08 6x400m 3mi 6mi goal pace 4mi Tom King Classic Half
03.09-03.15 6x400m 3mi 6mi 4mi 10mi
03.16-03.22 6x400m 3mi 6mi goal pace 4mi 14mi
03.23-03.29 5x800m 3mi 7mi 4mi 10mi
03.30-04.05 6x800m 3mi 7mi goal pace 4mi Oak Barrel Half
04.06-04.12 7x800m 3mi 7mi 4mi Dairy Dash 5k and 10k?
04.13-04.19 8x800m 3mi 7mi goal pace 4mi 8mi
04.20-04.26 4x800m rest 3mi rest Kentucky Derby miniMarathon

This, of course, means new pace times:
400m intervals: 2:00 each (8:00 min/mi – 7.5mph)
800m intervals: 4:15 each (8:30 min/mi ~ 7.1mph)
Goal pace: 9:45-10:00 min/mi
Easy: 10:30+ min/mi

Making Long Runs Mentally Easier: Segmentation

I discovered this last spring in my previous round of half training. Usually, for my long runs, I will go out to the greenway and just do an out-and-back: run half my miles in one direction, then turn around and come back. This is not mentally easy. I am constantly saying to myself on the first half, “Ugh, I’m not even to the halfway point yet.”

Then one weekend, I needed to put fourteen miles in and I was on a portion of the greenway that I could only get eight out of without repeating part of it. So I decided to add the additional miles on another part of the greenway that branches off. I put those miles in the middle of my run to break up the monotonous out-and-back. And it was so much easier.

I did this again on my ten miler this past weekend. Here is a map to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

long run segments

I started at point A. I then ran to point B, which is an intersection. Then to point C, where I turned around and went back to point B. Then I did an out-and-back to point D before running back to the start. However, I still needed two more miles, so I did another out-and-back to point E. Whenever I reached one of these points, I took a quick one minute walk break and drank some water. All I ever concentrated on was getting to the next point. I never was looking at my watch and thinking, “I’ve only done three miles?!”

It requires a little bit of planning beforehand, but I think it’s much less daunting to think about just running a mile or two instead of the whole long run.

It begins again…

With my birthday running steak coming to a close, it means, yes, it’s half marathon training time again!

I’ve created the following training plan based mostly on Runkeeper’s sub-2:15 plan. However, I thought the long runs ramped up rather quickly (double digits on week 3 and 12 miles by week 6), so I stretched those out just a little bit. I also made the cutback weeks a little more cutback. Then I just kind of rearranged some stuff to make more sense for me. For example, I’m running a 5k race in week 3 and a 15k race in week 13.

My goal race is the Tom King Classic on March 7th. I’m also running the Cedars Frostbite a month before as a supported long training run (aka, I don’t plan on even attempting to PR, so who wants to run with me?).

half marathon training plan

Any run without a pace designation should be ran easy. This includes long runs. All other runs should include an easy-paced warm up and cool down of a mile or so each. All speed and tempo runs will have 2 minutes walking or jogging recovery between intervals. I will probably include strides at the end of a lot of the easy run as it gets closer to the date of the half.

Here are my pace times to aim for 2:15! (No pressure!)
Intervals: 9:30-9:45 min/mi
Tempo: 9:45-10:00 min/mi
Goal pace: 10:00-10:20 min/mi
Steady: 10:45-11:15 min/mi
Easy: 12:00-13:00 min/mi

I plan to do strength training on non-running days. Yoga will follow the long run.

I also have a fall-back training plan I can switch to if this one proves too much for me. It involves running every other day (3-4 times per week) instead of 4-5 times per week, and includes a cutback week every other week, so the overall mileage over the course of the plan is about 80 miles less.

I’m most dreading the mid-week 7-9 mile runs I’m going to have to do on the treadmill because it will still be too dark outside to run after work. Luckily, it looks like there will be Preds games on most of those nights, so I will have something to watch.

After this plan ends, another immediately begins. I haven’t fully worked out the details yet (I want to see how this training goes), but it will include another training race (Oak Barrel Half) and then a goal half at the end of April (Kentucky Derby miniMarathon). Yes, that’s four half marathons (plus a 15k!) in three months! After that, I plan on taking a long distance break and enjoying my summer before maybe attempting another in the fall. 2015 will be the year of the half!

Half Marathon Amnesia?

I’ve heard mothers say that you forget how sucky pregnancy and childbirth is after the baby is born and that’s why you continue to have children. I think half marathons must be the same because seriously all I have been thinking about since running the Country Music is what my next one will be. In fact, I have started keeping a list of the ones I want to run.

I have to keep a list because it’s too hard to remember all the half marathons I want to run.

What is wrong with me?

I’ve stated time and again that I don’t like running distances over eight miles or so. It makes my knees hurt. But I love the sense of accomplishment. My brain keeps telling me, “It’s just 13 miles. You’ve done it before!” Like it’s so easy.


I’ve written tentative years down on my list of halfs, and I currently have five written down for 2015 alone. Sometimes I do not understand myself.

Review of my Country Music Half training!

We all remember how badly my Disney half training went, right? I resolved to train properly for my second half!

My training plan was mostly based on the training plan provided by the East Nasty group, with a few things moved around to work with my schedule and some added goal pace runs towards the end.

The plan called for approximately 318 miles of running, and I am happy to say that I ran 297 of them. Those that I didn’t were for good reasons, like needing extra recovery days to insure that I didn’t get injured, and not just because I was lazy. (Well, perhaps with the exception of the 15k progressive run that I cut short by 7 miles because it was hot and the gym was closed. That’s not really a good reason, but it was two weeks before the race and wouldn’t have increased my fitness on race day anyhow.)

I loved all my speed workouts. Yes, they were hard, but I felt so accomplished when I was done with them! Even when I was the last one getting done on the track. And clearly my speed work paid off, since I PRed in the 5k during this training as well, even when I wasn’t planning to.

I’m glad that I did one run that was at or longer than race distance. It showed me that I was capable of beating what was (at the time) my goal time!

Speaking of goals, when I created this training plan last fall/winter, I created it with a 2:30 goal in mind. Which is why goal pace was around 11:30 min/mi. Then after the terrible training for the Disney race, I decided I didn’t have a time goal at all; I just wanted to finish. Around the time of the Hot Chocolate 15k, I had changed that to say 2:45 was my goal time for this half. But then I bettered that in training. So I ultimately ended up with my top goal being what my training plan was designed for: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

One thing I definitely will do in future training plans is to run a lot of miles at goal pace as the race gets closer. I think this probably helped more than anything. Most of my runs, including my easy runs, were being run at goal pace in the last 3-4 weeks before the race. This made goal pace feel like my new easy pace and made it a breeze to run at on race day! It also helped to run shorter and faster races in training. I do like racing and the faster paces made my half pace seem even easier.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I could have done differently, which makes this training a huge success! Which should be obvious, since I beat my goal time by 2-3 minutes!