Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Questioning My Half Marathon Shedule... Would Love Some Advice, Please!

I am into Week #13 of my half marathon training.  The race is at the end of Week #19. It is my first half marathon.  My goal is to finish it.  I would like to do it under 3 hours, but that is secondary.

I am thinking about revising the rest of the schedule and would really love some advice from those of you who have done this before.

Here is some background....

On Saturday we ran 8 miles.  It was a tough route and the last 3/4 mile was up a steady incline...  It took me 102 minutes to run this distance... I recently ran 7 miles in 84 minutes so this took several minutes longer than I expected.  I am blaming the hills.  I felt good when we were done and used my HRM to pace myself - I do think I could have run a bit faster.

When we got done I did about 15 minutes of stretching and had a good recovery snack, and then had an epsom salts soak for about 15 minutes.  I was quite tired for the rest of the day and also on Sunday.  I did a little bit of walking, some stretching and some housework, but nothing strenuous.

During this training, we have been running on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Mondays have been 3 miles or 5k, and I have been doing some speed work.

Wednesdays have been 3 or 4 miles, just at pace.

Saturdays have been increasingly longer.  This next Saturday will be 9 miles.

Starting next week, here is what the schedule looks like:

Week #14
Monday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 4 miles
Saturday - 9 miles

Week #15
Monday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Saturday - 10 miles

Week #16
Monday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Saturday - 11 miles

Week #17
Monday - 5 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Saturday 10 miles

Week #18 - start taper
Monday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Saturday - 6 miles

Week #19
Monday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Friday - 2 miles
Sunday - 13.1 miles  RACE DAY!

Here is what I am wondering about....

If my long runs on Saturdays are getting harder,  should I be leaving my Monday runs at 3 miles and not increasing that distance... let the legs have more of a rest, keeping Monday's run short and just increasing Wednesdays and Saturdays?


Keeping both the Monday and Wednesday runs at 3 miles and just increase Saturday's distance?


Leave it alone and see how I do?

I don't know what the reason is for Mondays and Wednesdays to get longer now too.

Can you please help me out here?  Thanks so much...


  1. You're doing so well! I don't know the answer to your question - I'd be tempted to carry on as you have planned. Maybe just shortening the Monday run if you're really shattered...

  2. Hi Elle,

    As this is your first half mara, then you are constantly challenging your body to run further so you are just getting used to it. Long slow runs ie your Saturday runs are meant to be that, long and slow, forget speed. But it looks like you are coping with those runs ok. Hills are always hard, I never ever liked hills and will slow you down a little.

    Anyway, since you say your run was ok, I would stick at the 3 on Monday and 5 on Wednesday.

    Good luck with it.


  3. My half mary training has me increasing the long run and also the week day runs. Right now I'm doing 5 on Tues, 3 on Wed, 5 on Thurs and my long run on Sunday which is up to 9 miles.

    I would leave it as it is.

  4. I think there are so many different plans and ways to go about it. My plans always had me doing a shorter 3-4 easy recovery run on Monday with 6 as tempo on Wed, short 2-3 on Thurs then long on Sat.

    Are you also practicing fueling during your runs. That will help your recovery as well - I highly recommend getting a foam roller too. But, it sounds like you're doing a great job so far.

  5. I would not shorten the Monday
    I would also not taper for 2 weeks
    My last long run would be on week 18 and keep it in the double digit

  6. Great job increasing your long runs! Hills at the end of a long run are killer. Don't worry about pace, the extra time on your feet will prepare you to complete the full 13. As for the weekday runs, either way would be fine. Anything between 3-5 miles is great to maintain your running fitness and get extra miles in during the week but you don't have to continue to increase those week day runs if you're feeling wiped out. Listen to your body and you can definitely tweak it week by week. The long runs are the key to preparing you to finish. You're doing so great!!

  7. I think the plan looks great as is! I think most plans have you extending the midweek runs as well as the long runs. You're doing great!

  8. hey Elle! I would assume that the midweeks are getting longer so as to help increase your endurance overall. if it seems like too much i would maybe try just increasing one of the days? however...if it feels like too much overall...it looks like you will be plenty prepared by your LRs so I think you would be fine to stick short during the week and longer on weekends! that will definitely go fine with your goal of finishing!

  9. Try to stick to the plan but listen to your body. Feeling tired and worn is good and gives your body the chance to repair. Accept the really slow uphill runs. They are challenging and don't even think about pace on Saturday. Just try to get the miles in....slow and easy wins the race.

    On the Mondays, try to do the scheduled run but if you are just feeling beat, go ahead and cut back a bit. Just listen to your body day by day....you are doing great!

  10. I would stick with what you have, mileage-wise. Being tired and sore is naturally if you're doing distances you haven't run before. For your long runs, try not to worry so much about the time, just focus on completing the distance. Like Sarah said, they're supposed to be slower!

    Stick with it, you'll do great!

  11. Your long run is the important run, right now. If you are worried, it won't hurt you to leave your Monday run at 3 miles. Or you could back off the pace for the Monday run (use it more as a recovery run) and do 3 of your Wednesday miles quicker. Or forego any sort of speedwork at all until after race day. When it comes right down to it, as long as you are running a couple times midweek and keeping up with your long run, it will be fine.

    So do what feels right to you :)

  12. I have no idea - but definitely DO not increase the monday run! and I like the way it is - just remember to run them super slow :)

  13. I'm honestly not qualified to give advice on this since I tend to run based on feel and don't follow a training plan.

  14. I would also leave it as is, but I've always trained with a five day schedule for a half. Good luck!

  15. Oh, my sailing friend, you are so amazing! LOOK HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME!!!! I cannot wait for you to run this race. I AM SO EXCITED!!

    The schedule is designed to push your body and get it accustomed to running the miles - even when it is tired. That way your body know what to expect if/when it is running on tired legs.

    I encourage my runners to stick to the schedule, but I know it is aggressive. If you are hurting or feeling overly fatigued, take a rest day or reduce your mileage. Or, if you are feeling burned out, your mind and body may easily benefit from another rest day or a day of cross training.

    If you want to modify the schedule slightly, I would keep the mid-week "long" run and then run 3 or 4 on Mondays instead. But, I think you will surprise yourself with what you can do!

    Keep up the fantastic work, my friend. I love reading about your progress and can't wait to cheer for you on race day (even if from AFAR)! :) :)

  16. glad you received some great advice, because I don't consider myself qualified to give you any advice, since I've only done it once...lol

    sounds like you're doing great with the training and when that day finally arrives, you'll be strong and ready to race!

  17. Looks like you have had some great advice already. Do taper week 18' I learned that the hard way on my first half. Do try to increase your weekly mileage, but. If it hurts to much maybe switch to a run walk intervals, or cut the Monday one back while upping the Wednesday run.

    You are getting closer to race day, I love following your progress and am so excited for you to do your first half!

    Do listen to your body. Some runs will just be slower and don't worry about the long ones being slow you are getting your body ready!

  18. I'm thinking you should stick with it as well. I definitely would not keep your Mondays and Wednesdays at 3 miles...it seems like that could get boring, and you definitely want to stay interested.

    What are you doing on the days you don't run? It's possible you could be tiring yourself out from those days, or, the other end of the spectrum, not getting enough cross training.

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll do awesome!

  19. Your midweek runs are getting longer because the point of all this training is to increase your endurance and get you used to running the longer distances. Usually the midweek runs should add up to about the same amount as the long run. So if you are running 4 miles Monday and 5 miles Wednesday, probably your long run on Saturday is about 9 miles... and so on. Personally, I think the best way to go is to NOT decrease the weekday runs; in fact, it may be better to increase them just a bit. I suggest keeping one shorter, and only increasing one of them. This will help your endurance. Also, make sure you are resting on your rest days!

    One of my other suggestions, as I had this problem for a while, is to make sure you are properly fueling (and hydrating). You may want to do a little testing by carb loading on Friday night and making sure you have plenty of food in you before your run on Saturday. When I started off, I was not eating enough, both calorie-wise and carb-wise. That caused a HUGE lack of energy!

  20. Keep in mind that I didn't do a lot of this until I was training for my 3rd or so half, but now I can't imagine doing anything else--I think you need more variety during your mid-week runs. Try replacing one with speed work, or do a medium-long run every other week. I suspect the consistent 3-4 miles is keeping you back a bit.


Love it when you leave me a comment!