Monday, June 18, 2018

Adjusting a Half Marathon Training Plan for You

I signed up for my half marathon, so it's official now! No turning back. Since this is my first half my training is kind of a new experience for me. I've honestly never followed a strict training plan before, and I can't say that this is a legit plan since I'm not working with a trainer or coach, but it's more of a plan than I've actually ever had.

If you're in a similar boat as I am, and don't know what to do to change up your training for a race, I'm going to share how I altered a few training plans to work for me. Hopefully, my ideas can help you adjust a training plan to fit your needs.

Before you start putting a training plan together, you need to decide what your main goal is for this training cycle. Do you want to cut down on time or run a further distance? For me this time my main goal is distance. It's my first half marathon, so while I'd love to have an awesome time for my first half marathon, the real goal here is to finish it and have fun. (Your first race is always an automatic PR) 

Now that you've come up with a main goal find a plan (you can find them anywhere online), or two, that fits your needs as best as it can. Take into consideration how many days a week you'll be running and cross-training, how many days your body needs for rest days, The time you have to give to this training etc.

This is where it gets a little tricky. Adjusting it to your needs. Since it's hard to know what you're goals, needs, and schedules are, I'll tell you what I did for mine.  At the beginning of my training, I was just using the half marathon plan on Aaptiv. But I noticed after a couple of weeks that it was a 6-8 week program for how often I run, and I had 11 weeks left before my race. So I wanted to make it a little longer.  So I found half marathon training program that was 12 weeks and I scheduled my runs based on that program.  

Sundays are always my rest days.  Mondays are an evening run with my sister-in-law so we usually do a slower or shorter run that night. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for strength training and I can only run every other're getting the picture. I have to adjust it to my very particular schedule. I'm not someone who can just run whenever I want right now. That's just not what fits into our lifestyle at this point. 

I printed out a blank calendar and then I sat down and wrote out every workout down. What days I was going to run, what kind of run, how many miles, if I was using the aaptiv app for the run etc. I tried to be detailed so that I wouldn't have to think about what I wanted/needed to do that day. I could just get ready and go.

The last piece of advice on this is that you need to follow the plan as close as you can, but you also need to be flexible and ok with changes to it. If you know you're going to miss a training day, it's ok to skip it. If you're focusing on mileage and you know you're going to miss a long run, maybe plan ahead and skip your tempo or your speed workout to switch it for your long run. And then pick back up from there. 

I'm not a trainer or coach, this is my first half marathon so this is all an experiment, but I hope that it gave you an idea of how to put together a training plan that will fit your needs. 

What is the longest race you've run?

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer?

What are you focusing on right now?

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