Tag Archives: Half marathon

Let the Training Begin… Again!

Here we are on the dawn of another Holiday Season, and again, I find myself slowly packing on the pounds. Poor food choices, too much Halloween candy, too many social events and not enough exercise. Blah. Blah. Blah. I also feel crummy. The days are getting much shorter – I leave for work in the dark, and I drive home in the dark. How crappy is that?

So instead of whining and complaining about the dark, my weight, and generally feeling miserable, I decided to save y’all from me, and I registered for the Chilly Half Marathon… Again.

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I swear, this race is like my personal SAD cure. The first weekend in March, which despite the cold, is the perfect weekend to race. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve done this race – I may be up to 5 or 6 times (including last year when I set a new PB there). I’ve even run this race pregnant and pushing a jogging stroller!

(I have a picture that I’ll insert here when I find it…)

UPDATE: I found it!
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So I took a Visa gift card I earned from doing a sponsored post on the ol’ blog, and instead of blowing it on junk, I used it to invest in my own personal health and emotional well being. Having a race that I’ve registered for looming in the distance is a great way for me to motivate myself to get outside for a mid-day endorphin rush, and a glimpse of sunlight, even on the super cold days of winter. Training also motivates me to eat better, to make better food choices because I recover from hard long runs so much better if I give myself the proper fuel.

Besides all the great health benefits of training, I gotta admit the cute jacket for the race registrants is a very nice bonus:

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(See? Seriously cute jacket. Men, don’t worry, there’s a different one for you, unless of course you like violet)

Let the training begin – wish me luck!

Question/Sharing: How do you beat the winter blues?

My Half Marathon Training Program

As you may be aware, I’m training for the Mississauga Half-Marathon (May 16, 2010). When I tell people this I’m often asked how I train for a half-marathon. Being as sarcastic as I am, I often have to stop myself from responding: “By running”. I think what these curious bystanders really want to know is how do you build up the running distance? How do you build a half-marathon training program? So below is an outline of how I structured my training program. I started my program in January only able to run 3k! I hadn’t ran in 4 months and when I last ran in September my average distance was 5k. I only run 4 times a week. I now can complete 13k easily and my pace has improved by an average of more than 30 seconds/km (I’ve also lost 7 8 lbs).

I’ve phased my training because SPEED is a combo of ENDURANCE and STRENGTH. You can’t build strength without endurance and you need strength and endurance to build speed.

Jan & Feb was my endurance phase. On December 27th I began running after being sedentary for 4 months (I had fallen and broken a few rbs and they needed some time to heal). 3k was HARD! However I pushed myself every weekend to run a few more k’s and was finally able to run 13k this past Sunday. My long runs are slightly slower than my mid-week runs by about 20 seconds/km. I did this because my goal is speed – if I train long and slow I will perform long and slow.

March – my focus will be on strength while maintaining my endurance. I’ll be doing this by doing hill repeats on Wednesdays and my weekend long run will remain consistent at 13-15k.

April – this will be my hardest training month, and this is the month that injuries often appear, so I will need to listen to my body. I will be bringing all of the hard work form the past 3 months together on Wednesdays to do speedwork on the Ching Track. I will run 800m as fast as I can followed by short rest intervals. My weekend long runs will be consistent at 15k-18k.

May – this will be my two week taper – I will slowly decrease my running distances during the two weeks. That said, recent research has indicated that the shorter distances should still be run at a high intensity to maintain the speed that was built up. It’s possible that speed and strength is lost faster than endurance is. (I think this was in the March issue of Runner’s World).

Taking my phases into consideration, I’ve structured my training program to alternate hard/easy/rest days to allow progress while hopefully perventing injuries:

Mondays: Easy around the park 2-3 laps depending on how my legs feel.
Tuesdays: Yoga stretching and lengthening of muscles (I call this my “active rest” day).
Wednesdays: Longer run 3x around the park or Hills or Speedwork
Thursdays: Powerwalk with weights (sport specific strengthening of the upper body, as this contributes to running speed) or if my legs are sore I swim with pull-bouys.
Fridays: Easy around the park 2-3 laps depending on how my legs feel.
Saturdays: Long run – I’ve built up my distance from 3K in late December to 13K now – I will continue to build up my distance over the next 8 weeks to 18K
Sundays: REST!

I would be more than happy to help coach you and anyone else who wants to learn to run! I am working on completing a learn-to-run forum where I can offer you advice, tips and a training program. If you’re interested, sign up for my newsletter (in my sidebar) so that I can help you on your way!