training for my first half marathon: a training plan

Hey there! Did you have a nice weekend? It was fairly quiet around these parts. I’d like to think this is the calm before the flurry of holiday activities that are about to start, so it was nice to not have lots to do other than a brutal 10 mile run.

Last time, I wrote about my background story that led me to decide on finally signing up for a half marathon.
Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about how I set training goals and chose a training plan.

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Before I made the decision in early September to start training, I had been running since about mid-June which was about 6 weeks after Kaleb was born. I wasn’t running with any specific race goals in mind, so my weeks varied with the amounts of miles run and how hard I was running those miles. Some weeks, I only got in a few runs which probably kept my mileage around 10-12 miles a week. Other weeks, I ran once or twice and got in a total of 5-6 miles.

There are a lot of factors which motivate me to run (here are 31 reasons why) but one of the biggest reasons which helps me run consistently is having a goal to achieve, which in my case is training for a race. I knew that if I didn’t actually start training seriously and pick a goal, my running wouldn’t improve again especially after having a baby. In a span of a few months, I had two different friends mention to me how they were thinking about running a half marathon (each their first) by the end of this year. That was some good motivation for me too, not gonna lie.

After reading around a bit and thinking about what was feasible for me, I knew my goal was to run a half marathon by year end which gave me exactly 16 weeks (or less) to train and race. Next, I had to find a race that was preferably in our city. My search quickly narrowed down the results and there was only one half marathon in our city, which happened to be in December. Perfect.

The last step was picking a training plan. I’ve heard and read a lot of good things about the Hal Higdon training methods, so I knew that would be my final choice after looking at a few other options. By the way, there are five different Higdon half marathon plans. The one I’ve been following is the Novice 1 with just a few slight modifications.

In a nutshell, the Novice 1 training plan has these key components:
*12 weeks of training (I started at 13 weeks out from the race, so I just repeated the first week twice)
*Four days of running
*Two days of cross training (I go cycling and do weights)
*One weekly long run, which increases by a mile each week
*One rest day

Next time, I will recap exactly how my training has looked for the past 10 weeks, including how I’m trying to consume enough (good) calories, training with a baby and what goals I have for the race.

Have a great day!

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