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!

Newport UnitedHealthcare Half Marathon Recap

Annnnd over a week later, I finally get around to recapping my first half marathon. October is always super busy for me because I take Halloween very—and I mean VERY—seriously. It involves hand-making at least three costumes, but this year, it’s even more out of hand because I’ll be in Vegas for part of the celebrations (more on that later). But enough of the blah-blah-I’m-busy-blah-blah excuses. I suck at blogging five days a week, I admit it.

My first half marathon was great. Despite some misty rain at the start of the race and some intense wind when running along the Newport shoreline, the temperature was perfect for running, and I had a lot of fun. It’s strange using the word “fun” to describe running 13.1 miles on a Sunday morning, but I really did enjoy myself. Maybe because I ran behind a guy in a yellow Power Ranger suit the whole time. That certainly helped.*

Given the sluggishness I had been feeling in the last few weeks of training, I wasn’t excepting a great time come race day. My goal was to finish under 2 hours and 10 minutes, and even that seemed like a challenge. So, you’ll imagine my pleasant surprise when my official time started off with a “1.” I finished in under two hours!

Now, the hilarious part of this personal victory is that when I say I finished in under two hours, I mean by eight seconds. Literally. Talk about cutting it close. But, hey, I’ll take it. Breaking two on my first half marathon is something I’m proud of, whether it was by eight minutes or eight seconds.

As someone who lifeguarded for five summers and is moderately creepy, I’ve grown to love people-watching. And, wow, the half marathon did not disappoint. I need distractions while running—music, pretty scenery, etc.—or else I get extremely bored and call it a day after a couple miles. And I was so enthralled by silently judging checking out everyone’s running wardrobe choices that I don’t think I even realized I was running a half marathon until mile 10.

First off, I was shocked and appalled at how many skorts I saw. Hey, different strokes for different folks—I’m sure there are tons of skort wearers out there who find my neon green sneakers repulsive. I get it. But skorts cause my eyes physical pain. I think I stared at one for too long as a young child, and that’s why I needed to get glasses in the fifth grade. Apparently I’m in the minority though because I saw leopard skorts, pleated skorts, plaid skorts, metallic skorts and every other variety you can imagine. The first five miles, I played a game where every time I saw someone ahead of me in a skort, I had to pass them. It was great until I realized there were so many skorts in the race I’d surely burn out before 13.1.

Before this post turns into an all-out tirade against the skirt-short hybrid, I’ll wrap it up by explaining the lack of pictures in this post. Not ONE SINGLE race photo was captured of me. It’s the bulliest of bullshit. I was so excited when photos from the race were posted online, I enter in my bib number, and you know what comes up? Three vague photos of people who don’t even remotely resemble me or my bib number crossing the finish line. Womp womp wommmmp. When I run my next half marathon (in June), my goal is to be the ultimate photo-bomber. Professional race photographers, innocent bystanders—it doesn’t matter. If you are holding a camera, I will force myself into your picture. Beware.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

*Obviously the Power Ranger beat me. I mean, c’mon, he’s a Power Ranger.

Half Marathon Training Weeks 8-11

You may be wondering what happened to the half marathon training updates. First, it was due to my crazy-busy schedule, but then I got what can best be described as Running PMS. In short, when it came to my half marathon training, I was a moody bitch (see Week 9 for more).

Week 9 was Running PMS week. I pouted and refused to run more than 4 miles a day. I even contemplated just bagging this whole half marathon thing and writing an emotional blog post about how half marathons are the devil and not healthy and that I QUIT DAMNIT.

Running PMS vanished on Monday and I once again was looking forward to my daily runs. However, I was met with a new challenge. I would think that after a week of stubbornly only doing 3- or 4-milers, I’d be well rested and hit the road with fresh legs. But every run this week was a struggle. My legs felt heavy and sluggish, and my average run pace continued to take a hit.

I was proud of myself after finishing a 12-mile run (the longest distance I’ve EVER run in my life), but I didn’t feel great during it and can’t say it made me excited for the upcoming half marathon.

 

The heavy leg issue continued into this week and was worsened when I decided Monday would be a great day to quit drinking coffee. An over-busy schedule + caffeine withdrawals = slow, painful runs.

This all turned around when I went up to Maine for the long weekend to stay at my parents’ new house. Being up there in the mountains, out in the fresh air and going to bed early each night was just what the running doctor ordered.

I hiked up Saddleback Mountain on Saturday morning, went for a quick canoeing trip, and when I set out for a 7-mile run, I felt better than I’ve felt in weeks. My Nike GPS app was rendered useless by the lack of cell phone service, but I could tell I kept a good pace throughout the run, despite the fact that I had to tackle some SERIOUS hills.

Thank you, Maine, for recharging my batteries and getting me back on track for my half marathon—which is this coming Sunday!

As with all my half marathon training posts, pictures are from my Instagram, and most are taken while on my daily runs. You can follow me @nicoleperr