Finally, a Simple Half Marathon Training Plan

When I ran my first 5K in October of 2012, it was a wonderful experience. My wife and I were able to do it together on our 3-year anniversary weekend, which made it so special.

But that 5K wasn't the only race being held that day. The main event was a half-marathon, and people seemed to be having such a good time running it. They were just so happy! Since I'd had such a fantastic time running 3.1 miles, I decided that by the time the race rolled around again, I'd be ready to run 13.1 miles. And ten more miles was just ten more miles of joy! (said no runner, ever)

The race date was set: October 26, 2013. And I had a year to train for that half marathon. Unfortunately, I slacked for a while. I wanted to have run a 10K before the summer started, but life/work/laziness got in the way of that. Instead of taking 6.2 miles, I was running between 3 and 5 (thank you, Runkeeper archives!). That's not bad at all, but it wasn't where I needed to be if I was going to run 13.1 in October.

Luckily, half-marathon training from a 5K-foundation tends to take anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks. Unfortunately, almost all of them have been fairly complicated and intense. And the last time I had tried a more complex program, I got bored really quickly–it took the fun out of running because I was worried more about the details and logistics than the runs. I mean, scheduling is not the reason I became a runner.

Turns out, one of my twitter friends told me what they used for half marathnon training, and when I saw how simple it was, I jumped at it:

The Simple Half Marathon Training Plan:

  • Saturday or  Sunday: your long run (ex: 8 miles)
  • Tuesday and Thursday: half of the weekend long run distance (ex: 4 miles)
  •  Each week, add 0.5 mile to short runs, 1 mile to the long runs.
  • Repeat until your long runs are 12 miles.

I did adjust this a little. By the end of it, my half-marathon training was this:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10k (6.2 miles)
  • Saturday: long run of 10+ miles
    • (I added one mile each week, still, because I was planning on running a full marathon that never happened.)

The really important thing that you can't forget is the long run. (I ended up loving the long run so much. So so much.) Though honestly, I had to really build up to it during first couple of weeks because of my asthma–I had to get myself trained to run in the lovely summer humidity we get here in the South before I could start doing longer distances.

And you know what? It worked. I ran a half marathon with this plan (though to be honest, it was not the one I had planned on because I got injured and had to delay it a year. Stupid bursitis.) And it was simple. A really simple half marathon training plan that wasn't all scheduling and logistics and easy enough to remember that I didn't need a spreadsheet. In the end, I finished my half in under 2 hours, and it was a glorious experience. So thanks, Porter. A bunch.

Good luck out there, y'all!

Have you trained for a half-marathon? Any tips for all the 13.1 newbies out there?