8-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule for Not-So-Serious Runners

8-week-half-marathon-training-scheduleI mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been wanting to “spring clean” my workout routine a bit, and now that the winter weather is FINALLY behind us, I decided it’d be the perfect time to train for another half marathon.

Here’s the thing though. 99% of organized races take place on the weekend. And once warmer weather hits, I’m just honestly not willing to give up a weekend to run a half marathon. Summers are short in New England, and I like to cram as much spontaneity and fun into them as possible. Of course it’d be a totally different story if I had a bunch of friends who loved running and we all picked some fun destination race to do, but I actually prefer running alone (it’s “me” time)…and most of my friends think I’m out of my mind for voluntarily running anything over 3 miles haha.

So what’s a not-so-serious runner looking to run a half marathon that doesn’t conflict with her summer calendar to do? It brings me great pleasure to announce the running of the 1st Annual Official Non-Official Nicole Half Marathon. It’s going to take place on a Wednesday. I’m going to run it alone. I’m going to buy myself a finisher’s medal on Amazon. I’ll probably wear a JammyPack. It’s going to be perfect.

From this morning’s run around Castle Island.

The 8-Week Half Marathon Training Plan

When I trained for my first half, I did so over 12 weeks, and the plan I used had me running way too many miles each week. Too long, too much (for me personally)—and the result was that I started to get sick of running. I was on the verge of hating it. I never want to get to the point where I dislike running—it’s my favorite form of alone time!

Because I run regularly, I feel comfortable jumping right into regular 5 and 6-mile runs, so this time I’m just preparing over a span of 8 weeks. No crazy mileage counts each week. One long run, one moderate run, a speed workout and a couple quick jogs a week. No more.

For the speed workouts, I’ll probably mix it up between treadmill workouts (I just bought a 30-day trial to Boston Sports Club) and going to Barry’s Bootcamp. I do, however, have a serious chronic disease that doesn’t allow me to self motivate on a treadmill past .001 miles, so it’ll probably be less of the former, way more of the latter.

From Friday’s run around the Charles River.

I think this training schedule will strike the perfect balance of challenging me while still keeping my runs enjoyable. I just wrapped up week one this morning with a 6-miler around Southie and so far, so good! I’m actually really excited to start working towards this. Sorry I’m not sorry I’d rather drink beers on a beach with my friends than pay $75 to run 13.1 miles with a bunch of strangers—bring it on 1st Annual Nicole Half! :)

Before I end this post I should add that if you chose to follow this 8-week plan just keep in mind that I’m by no means a running expert—I put this together based on my experience training for my first half.

Are you running any races this spring?

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Treadmill Speed Workout

Treadmill Speed Workout

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, I’m running a half marathon the first weekend in June and trying to incorporate some speed workouts into my training. I decided to start out on the treadmill instead of a track or running trail because it’s an easy way for me to force myself to maintain a certain pace for a given amount of time. If, for example, you tell me to run at a 10K pace for half a mile…that literally means nothing to me. I’ll just go as fast as I feel like because, well, that’s what I pretty much do during any race ever. I love running, but I’m actually a huge joke of “a runner.”

This was a good way to ease into the whole speed workout thang—not too intense, but still forces you to get those legs moving. It takes just over 30 minutes to complete.

Speaking of running, after everything that’s happened in Boston this past week, I find myself appreciating my daily runs around the city even more. This really is a beautiful, amazing place to call home. Here are a couple Instagram pics I snapped trotting around Southie:

Pleasure Bay, South Boston Castle Island, Southie

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And before I send you off to carpe the shit out of this diem, I wanted to spread the word about a Spin-A-Thon at Ten X Club in Dedham on Saturday May 11th that’s raising money for Girls on the Run, a great organization that supports positive emotional, social and physical development in 3rd to 6th grade girls. Jocelyn reached out to me and told me that she and 11 other ladies are running the 200-mile Reach the Beach relay, and this spin-a-thon is part of their fundraising efforts. Visit the Facebook page for more details and sign up for one of four spin classes if you’re in the area! I’m not sure if I’ll be in Boston that weekend yet, but if so, I’ll most definitely make it for a class—I LOVE spinning (and charity, of course).

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9-Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

9-week half marathon training schedule

I needed (wanted) an excuse to buy new running sneakers, so I signed myself up to run a half marathon the first weekend in June.

Kidding about the motivation behind it. Kinda. Not really.

Since completing my first one back in October, I really haven’t run much at all. At first, I was just burnt out from training and needed a break. But then as winter set in, other deterrents popped up—my Raynaud’s Syndrome was way worse than it was last winter, Boston got a lot of snow, I’m allergic to treadmills—basically, it was much easier to motivate myself to do other (indoor) forms of exercise.

Last winter, I ran outside six days a week regardless of the temperature like a total hardo, but clearly that just didn’t happen for me this year. I don’t think I’ve gone on longer than a 4-mile run since I crossed the finish line in Newport this past fall, and I’ve only been incorporating running into my workout schedule a couple times a week.

But I miss long(er)-distance running so, so much. It’s therapeutic for me. I’m a super antisocial runner, so it’s the one time of day I can just be alone, not talk to anyone, put on some music and zone out. I’ve never cared about keeping track of my mileage and times and mile splits—I just really like the way running clears my head. And if you’re going to run long distances, you might as well get a finisher’s medal for it (am I right or amiright??), so I signed myself up for another half marathon.

I used what I learned from my first half marathon in developing my training schedule for this one. The two main takeaways:

  • Add speed workouts: Although my endurance steadily improved during my last training period, I saw my speed decrease. Of course it’s to be expected that your average mile pace for a 13-mile run is going to be slower than your average mile pace for a 3-mile run, but I saw even my short run times get worse. For example, during week 2 of training, a 3-mile run would take me 22-23 minutes. During week 10 of training, I couldn’t do a 3-mile run under 26 minutes to save my life. I think adding weekly speed workouts on the track and treadmill will help this.
  • Shorten the training period: Last time, I trained for 12 weeks leading up to the half, and it was much too long. By the last few weeks, I wasn’t even excited for race day because I was just so freaking sick of running. I’m in good enough shape that I’m not worried about slicing three weeks off the training period.

I’ll update you all on the training process every two or three weeks and will be sure to share the speed workouts I do (I’m dipping back into my knowledge bank from high school cross-country to create these). What I’m most excited for, however, is sharing all the amazing, Instagram-worthy sunrise pics I’m going to capture on these morning training runs. Shed 30 seconds off my time OR stop and take some skyline pics? No brainer. I mean, I’m only exaggerating a little when I say the satisfaction of getting lots of likes on Instagram overpowers the satisfaction I get after completing a run. That’s when you know you have a full-blown social media addiction and/or weren’t popular as a child (that’d be an “and” for me).

Do you guys have any upcoming races? Know of any fun ones in the Northeast that I should look into?

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P.S. I recently put together an interval workout for Sara over at Fit for a Bride. I’ll post the routine in the next few weeks, but for now, go check it out HERE. And a big thanks to Sara for featuring it!