Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.
By Doug Rennie
From Runner's World (title linked above)
Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. For some time now, the half has been the hottest race distance out there, with dozens of new events springing up all across the land. Here's why: For newer racers who've maybe finished a couple of 5- or 10-Ks, the half offers a worthy-yet-doable challenge without the training and racing grind of the marathon.
For more experienced athletes, training for a half bolsters stamina for shorter, faster races, plus it boosts endurance for a full 26.2-mile challenge down the road. In fact, the half is the ideal dress rehearsal for its twice-as-long kin. And unlike a marathon, which can leave your tank drained for a month or more, you can bounce back from a hard half in as little as a week.
So find a flat, friendly half a few months out. To get you there primed and ready, turn the page to learn about the three can't-fail schedules we have on offer.
Four Training Universals
Rest means no running. Give your muscles and synapses some serious R&R so all systems are primed for the next workout. Better two quality days and two of total rest than four days of mediocrity resulting from lingering fatigue. Rest days give you a mental break as well, so you come back refreshed.
Easy runs mean totally comfortable and controlled. If you're running with someone else, you should be able to converse easily. You'll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don't. Here's some incentive to take it easy: You'll still burn 100 calories every mile you run, no matter how slow you go.
Long runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner for this one. You'll have time to talk about anything that comes up.
Speedwork means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This increases cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, better running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands. Still, you want to keep it fun.
See training chart here.