Races · Running

Training for a half: Then and Now

The day after I finished my first half marathon, I signed up for my next one 🙂

berkeley half

On November 24, 2013, I will be running in the Berkeley Half Marathon, which I talked about in this post.

The day after my first half marathon, I also wrote out my training schedule for the 6 weeks I have to train. This time around, things will be more difficult. I will be no longer be considered a “novice,” but rather an “intermediate” runner…according to Hal Higdon.

I used his training schedule to train for my first one, so I figured why not use it again?

Hal Higdon

I had to modify the schedule (using the “intermediate” program) because I only have 6 weeks to train, not 12.

So here is a comparison of what I did last time, and what I’m doing now:

Speed Work
Then: Basically none. Hmm maybe that’s why I wasn’t speedy…
Now: I have speed work or a tempo run planned for once a week. I might add more if I feel like it is too easy (doubt it though). By speed work, I mean 400m repeats (Run at your fastest 1 mile pace for 400 meters. Jog for 1-2 minutes. Repeat x times). This basically helps to train your fast-twitch muscles.

Tempo Run
Then: Maybe 1-2 of these total. Ha. No wonder I ran so slow during my race.
Now: Like I said, I’m alternating tempo runs with speed work each week. Tempo runs are set up such that you run easy –> run hard –> run easy (for a set amount of time). For example, a 45 minute tempo run could go like this: slow 10 minute warm up, speed up to 10K pace for 20 minutes, cool down jog for 15 minutes. The time you run and how hard you run can easily be changed. Helps to get used to running at a faster pace for longer periods of time.

Pace Runs
Then: Every other week. These were shorter runs, run at the pace I needed to run at for my half marathon.
Now: Same thing this time!

Stretch & Strengthen
Then: Stretched almost every day. Was really bad about the strength training part…I used to do this 5-6 days a week! Working full time, studying to get in to grad school, having a boyfriend, and training for a half proved to be exhausting so certain things fell through the cracks.
Now: I will make a huge effort to work on this. Strength training is really important for physical health and will definitely help with my running. Must. Learn. To. Make. Time. ugh.

Summary: This time around, I will be adding more speed training runs. If you don’t train with speed, you can’t expect to run the full race with speed. Oh and I have half the amount of time to train…but I’m so. Freaking. Excited.

What’s different about the way you train now (versus when you first started)?

Do you write out your training schedule?

11 thoughts on “Training for a half: Then and Now

  1. I’m also following a Hal Higdon plan for the Disney Dopey Challenge. He’s great! Speed work definitely makes a big difference. Just a bit of warning though – the 400 repeats will make you feel like puking (and you may)! Fight through it and you’ll get faster!

    1. Oh that sounds fun…<–I wish I could convey my sarcasm better. I guess the 400's are worth it? My answer might change after I do it though.

      What's the Disney Dopey Challenge? It sounds awesome! I want to do a Disney run so badly!

      1. All track work is painful, but so worth it! Earlier this summer I dropped 30 seconds off my 5k after a month or so of once a week track workouts!
        Dope is new this year at Disney World. It’s 4 straight days of races – Thurs (5k), Fri (10k), Sat (13.1) Sun (26.2). Hopefully I’ll be able to walk afterwards!

  2. Love Hal! The man knows what he is talking about.
    The first half I ran, I was very strict to the training plan. The second time around, I (stressed myself out way too much) did not follow a plan, but focused on getting in miles where I could — and ended up PRing. I don’t know what that means because I definitely don’t recommend it, ha.
    For my third half I’ve been much more like the first, sticking to a plan as much as possible. Maybe I’ll know more by the end of this one 🙂
    So excited for your second half twin!

  3. You are awesome! My first half was the SJ RNR, too (by my time was like 2:12). I had a 20-minute PR by my next half because I actually trained, haha. Though the Berkeley half is actually pretty soon, you might still get a big PR (because now you have the confidence of knowing you can totally rock the half distance!).
    BTW, I write out a training schedule and pretty much never stick with it, haha.
    Happy training!

    1. Oh no way! I’m hoping I can PR! I definitely need to gain more confidence and not start out so slow. Haha I HAVE to write out a training schedule or I won’t stick to it! Good luck with your training too 🙂

  4. Yeyyyy! You caught the bug 🙂

    I don’t do “real” track speed work, but I do my own version of intervals and temp runs, and I have to say, even though they are hard, I LOVE them.

    It really makes your workouts go my so quickly by keeping your mind engaged. I feel that running is mostly mental, so keeping your brain occupied makes training the way you are approaching it super engaging!

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