How to Train For a Half Marathon in 16 Weeks

Half marathon season is finally here! Today marks 16 weeks until the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and I put together a tentative training schedule to share.  But first, I made dinner.

I found this delicious Skinny Orange Chicken recipe and made it with some brown rice and broccoli:

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On a side note – it’s Bachelor night!! (Possibly the only good thing about Mondays this time of year.)

And now for the Half Marathon training plan. Let’s get something out of the way first, I hate the treadmill.  I can probably run 3 miserable miles if I absolutely have to but I am in pure mental and physical pain the entire time.  So I am attempting to substitute treadmill time with cross training that includes cardio.  Circuit workouts and plyometrics are awesome for getting your heart rate up without having to watch that horrible little red dot go around the imaginary track over and over again.

A few notes about the plan:

1. Cross-training – for the first couple of weeks my plan is to go to EFX or PiYo as cross-training (while my FASTER groupon is still active).  After that I will use circuit workouts and strength training classes at the local gym.

2. Cardio – If the weather (or the sunlight) doesn’t break, I will probably attend spinning classes in place of running for the shorter runs the first couple of weeks.

3. Yoga – I love hot power yoga (vinyasa or flow type).  It is challenging in so many ways that are great for running.  It builds physical strength, mental toughness, and it’s a great stretch on tight hamstrings.  If you’re in the Pittsburgh area looking for a recommendation, I love Salt Power Yoga (both locations).

4. Rest days – I will have to rearrange my schedule on more than one occasion, without a doubt.  I might be feeling fatigued and need an extra rest day, have a scheduling conflict, or the weather might be bad.  My own personal preference is to do long runs on Saturdays, but Saturdays and Sundays are interchangeable.  I usually choose the day with the best weather to complete my long run. (weekdays are interchangeable – although I do try to alternate between running and yoga/cross-training).

5. Confession/Disclaimer – I have run 2 half marathons, and the most I have ever run before the race was 10 miles.  Somehow I always end up behind and don’t make it to the 13 miles… or the taper week at the end.  This training plan is a very lofty goal, and sometimes life just doesn’t allow for the commitment.  But here’s to trying!

                 
Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 cross-training cardio cross-training cross-training cross-training cross-training 4 miles January 12 – 18
2 cross-training cardio cross-training cross-training cross-training 5 miles 3 miles / rest January 19 – 25
3 cross-training 3 miles / cardio cross-training 4 miles / cardio cross-training 5 miles 3 miles / rest January 26 – Feb 1
4 cross-training 4 miles / cardio cross-training cross-training cross-training 6 miles 3 miles / rest February 2 – 8
5 cross-training 4 miles yoga 3 miles rest Cupid’s Dash 5k 6 miles February 9 – 15
6 cross-training 4 miles yoga 4 miles rest 7 miles 3 miles / rest February 16 – 22
7 cross-training 4 miles yoga 4 miles rest 7 miles 3 miles / rest February 23 – Mar 1
8 cross-training 6 miles yoga 4 miles rest 8 miles 3 miles / rest March 2 – 8
9 cross-training 6 miles yoga 4 miles rest 8 miles 3 miles / rest March 9 – 15
10 cross-training 6 miles yoga 6 miles rest 9 miles 3 miles / rest March 16 – 22
11 cross-training 6 miles yoga 6 miles rest 9 miles 3 miles / rest March 23 – 29
12 cross-training 7 miles yoga 4 miles rest 10 miles 3 miles / rest March 30 – Apr 5
13 cross-training 6 miles yoga 4 miles rest 10 miles 3 miles / rest April 6 – 12
14 cross-training 6 miles yoga 4 miles rest 13 miles 3 miles / rest April 13 – 19
15 cross-training 6 miles yoga 6 miles rest 6 miles 3 miles / rest April 20 – 26
Race Week cross-training 3 miles yoga 3 miles rest 3 miles / rest 13.1 miles!!! April 27 – May 3
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