Eek. I got a reminder in the mail this weekend that my first half-marathon is ONLY 48 days away. This might be a good time to tell you how I feel about that and how my training is going.
I am a little past the halfway mark of my training plan so far and I can say: it’s going good and I really love having a goal to work towards. I admit, it really motivates me and keeps me on my toes (literally!).
There are a gazillion half-marathon training plans out there (or so it seems, here are 8 free ones). I honestly didn’t look into it much, but picked the first plan that I came across and that happened to be one through my Runtastic app. I don’t have a running watch yet, so everything is pretty much tracked through my iPhone.
I finished two other (beginner) training plans with Runtastic before and I’ve been pretty happy with the plans (which have been put together by Olympian runner Dieter Baumann – a fellow German!) and so I decided to keep with it.
I picked the training plan that aims at preparing you to run a half-marathon in 2:15 minutes. Obviously, you’d have to have been in a regular running routine before you start this training plan, but a total running beginner wouldn’t just jump head first into half-marathon training anyway (am I right? I hope that I am right.)
I like that you can just select the workout session for the specific day and have at it. The “Runtastic coach” will verbally guide you through your training. I don’t have to manually put anything in which is super-convenient, but of course, I realize that it would really just be a minuscule amount of extra work (if I wasn’t paying for the pro version and had picked a free plan).
What I also like about the Runtastic training plans is that they’re totally “do-able”, even for someone who works full time. When I first contemplated a half-marathon, I really was a bit afraid of the extra time I’d have to invest every week and make no mistake, you absolutely have to invest more time, but I still “only” run three times a week at this point. The workout sessions have just gotten a bit longer. The training goes over 16 weeks and slowly builds up your endurance and distance over time. This approach works really well for me. I was afraid that a training plan would be super-time-consuming and rigid, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
I run one (shorter) run during the week after work and then two interval and endurance runs on the weekends (Fridays and Sundays).
I try to mostly stick to the same days (because it allows for some cross-training – like yoga or HIIT sessions – and proper resting in between), but the schedule is absolutely not set in stone and you can shift around the training runs to better fit your busy schedule. I’ve definitely pushed my Friday or Sunday run to Saturday if we were going to be busy or out of town for one of the days where I had a run scheduled (although I would not recommend doing the speed training and long endurance run back to back every single week and if you can’t avoid it, make sure to do some extra stretching / foam-rolling / what-have-you, if you can’t avoid doing those runs on consecutive days. I predict that your legs will be tired).
I like having a bit of structure, but the flexibility to work around my schedule is imperative! I think that is actually a must-have in any training plan, if you are expected to stick to it and not give up prematurely just because you think you can’t make it fit into your daily routine.
Obviously, it’s also a commitment to making the time for your workouts, which has been surprisingly easier than anticipated, but that’s a different part of the story (namely, your personal attitude and motivation).
So far, I’ve been able to run all but one training sessions outside – at our local park – which I am really happy about. When the temperatures hit the triple digits last week, I thought that I might have to permanently relocate to the gym, but so far I only had to do this once and I am hoping that if I can’t do all of the runs outside, at least keep a balance between indoor and outdoor workouts in the next few weeks.
Are you training for a race right now? What training plan do you follow? Do you go to the park or where do you run?