Before our 5k:
After our celebratory Carls Jr. burgers (that they have at the finish line):
I had been planning on running the OKC Memorial Half Marathon in April of 2014 ever since we did the Memorial 5k in April of 2013. (See photos above… If you haven’t already. If you are blind.) It was just such a neat atmosphere and I loved seeing so many people that were running the longer races (the full and half marathons) who had trained so hard and for so long to complete a goal. I wanted to do that! I had never run more than 5 miles at once, so I was excited to have a goal with lots of new milestones along the way.
But then I got knocked up. I had baby number two in February of 2014, so I had to postpone my half marathon plans till this year. The race is just a few days away and I couldn’t be more excited!
I want to share my workout plan that I’ve been using since January. I searched all over the internet and couldn’t find one that worked for my needs, so I did some research and came up with this one. Before I get to it, here are a couple of the factors I was considering:
- I have exercise-induced asthma, so for me, my training consists of conditioning my muscles, of course, but also my lungs. Most of the time if a run is too difficult for me, it’s not because of my muscles or joints failing me, but my lungs. So I have to step up my distances pretty gradually.
- I like to cross-train. Most running programs mention cross-training but don’t leave very much room in their schedule for it. I love doing fitness classes, strength training, and having impromptu bike ride days, and I didn’t ever want to turn down one of those opportunities because my running schedule was too tight to fit them in.
- I want to improve my speed. A lot of training programs are more about working you up to a point where you can finish the race, but I actually wanted to work on finishing with a certain time (and without walking).
Here’s my 16-week program:
(Each week starts with Sunday, Each day is separated with a comma.)
Week 1: Rest, 2 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 3×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 2mi Pace Run, 3 mi Long Run
Week 2: Rest, 2.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 20 min Tempo Run, Cross Train, 2 mi Pace Run, 4 mi Long Run
Week 3: Rest, 2.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 4×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 4 mi Long Run
Week 4: Rest, 3 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 25 min Tempo Run, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 5 mi Long Run
Week 5: Rest, 3 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 5×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 5 mi Long Run
Week 6: Rest, 3 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 30 min Tempo Run, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 6 mi Long Run
Week 7: Rest, 3.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 6×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 5k Race
Week 8: Rest, 3.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 35 min Tempo Run, Cross Train + Strength, 3 mi Pace Run, 7 mi Long Run
Week 9: Rest, 3.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 7×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 8 mi Long Run
Week 10: Rest, 4 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 40 min Tempo, Cross Train + Strength, 4 mi Pace Run, 10k Race
Week 11: Rest, 4.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 8×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 4 mi Pace Run, 9 mi Long Run
Week 12: Rest, 4.5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 40 min Tempo Run , Cross Train + Strength, 5 mi Pace Run, 10 mi Long Run
Week 13: Rest, 5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 9×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 5 mi Pace Run, 15k Race
Week 14: Rest, 5 mi Easy Run + Strength, Cross Train, 40 min Tempo Run, Cross Train + Strength, 5 mi Pace Run, 11 mi Long Run
Week 15: Rest, 5 mi Pace Run, Cross Train + Strength, 10×400 Intervals, Cross Train, 3 mi Pace Run, 12 mi Long Run
Week 16: Rest, 4 mi Pace Run, Cross Train + Strength, 30 min Tempo Run, Easy Cross Train, Rest, Rest, 13.1 Race
Now here’s what all that stuff means:
Easy Run: Run at an easy, comfortable pace. You should be able to have a conversation without feeling too winded.
Strength: Some type of strength training. Either circuit training, weight machines, push-ups and crunches or squats and lunges, an app workout, or all of the above.
Intervals: 3×400 means that you’re doing three sets of 400m (that’s .25 miles, or one time around a standard track) at a very fast pace (I call it a sprint, but it’s not really THAT fast. Walk between intervals just enough to catch your breath.
Tempo Run: Play with your speed and start out slow. Gradually build so that you’re at your fastest about ¾ of the way through your total time. I change my nike+ voice feedback to alert me every 5 minutes so I can adjust accordingly.
Pace Run: Run these at the speed you want to run your race at. (My favorites!)
Long Run: Run at an easy, comfortable pace. Be aware of your body and slow down to avoid any injuries. Anything longer than 5 miles, I like to listen to a podcast (or watch a movie if I’m on the treadmill) since music can just get old after an hour. Anything longer than 8 miles, I make sure I have water available while Im running. Anything longer than 9 miles, I also add in some gummies or GU (goo?) or jelly beans to munch on along the way. They at least help with my grumbly stomach and dry mouth, and seem to give me a little energy boost as well. And seriously, PODCASTS. If you want to know some of my favorites, I’ll give you some recommendations.
Race: There are a couple Saturday runs that are replaced with races. These can be actual races you sign up for or just a regular run in which you focus more on your speed and treat like a race. (ie go for a PR)
Cross Train: Any physical activity that’s not too hard on your calves (stair stepper!). So, basically any biking, swimming, Zumba, videogame workout, Jillian DVD, yoga. I love having these flexible days built in to the schedule so I can be more spontaneous and if we decide to go to the zoo or something and I’ve been pushing the stroller up big hills, I can “count” that for my workout without feeling like I cheated my schedule. Once I feel like I’ve “skipped” a day, I’m way more likely to miss more days. Flexibility and forgiveness are key for a long training program!
Rest: Everyone’s favorite day! I only have one designated rest day in my schedule, but I also built into my plan the “floating rest day” which is basically one free pass each week to take my own rest day on either Tuesday (Cross), Wednesday (Speed) or Thursday (Speed).
I know this is a very specific post that’s probably very boring to most people, but it’s been consuming my life (in a good way) for literally 4 months now, so I wanted to share.
There is something so gratifying about making a goal, a realistic plan to achieve it, and following through. So, go make your own goal and get to it! And do some cheers for me on Sunday morning so I can finally complete my goal from two years ago!