Northern Arizona Elite - Beginner Plus Half Marathon Plan

Are you ready to train like the Pros? Our Northern Arizona Elite Training Plans are taken straight from the workouts that Coach Ben Rosario uses to prepare the NAZ Elite team for some of the biggest races in the United States and across the globe! You’ll get insights into how we perform each workout in Flagstaff, Ariz., complete with links to workout videos from some of our biggest sessions. We believe that these plans can work for anyone and everyone. They just need to be tailored for specific ability and experience levels.

We call this our “beginner plus” half marathon plan. If you’re someone who is fairly new to running the half marathon, or perhaps running one for the first time, and runs between 20 and 40 miles a week then this plan is perfect for you. After a couple weeks of easy running, we begin throwing in some hard workouts and long runs. There will be two rest days per week and the other days are easy aerobic running. Believe it or not, the hard days are the fun part! But we’re very careful. We want to introduce you to these harder workouts in a smart way, over time, so that you have a healthy training segment that leads into a great race!

Here are just a few of the hard sessions you’ll see in this plan:

10 x 800: 1 mile warm-up. 10 x 800 at half marathon at the fast end of Zone 4 with 1 minute recovery. 1 mile cool-down. We love this workout! Just about all the NAZ Elite athletes have done it in their marathon and half marathon build-ups. The pace is not terribly difficult for just 800 but doing 10 of them with short rest gets tough toward the end. It's a great chance to really lock into a pace so the mind and body know what it feels like to do that come race day.

The Lumberjack: 1 mile warm-up. 4 x 400/10 minute Tempo Run/4 x 400. 1 mile cool-down. This one is a modified version of a classic Flagstaff workout made famous by the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks. We like to run it off-road on either the grass or on a dirt road. Run the first set of 400s at your 10k race pace. The second set should be two seconds faster. Run the Tempo Runs right in the middle of the Tempo Run pace range. Take one minute rest between the 400s with two minutes after the last one in the first set and two minutes after the Tempo Run.

Fast Finish Long Run: Not all long runs have to be slow! While we’ll ease you into your long runs over the course of these 16 weeks, by the end of week 7 you’ll be ready to spice things up a bit. We’ll have you run the last 3 miles of your long run FAST! Fast being relative of course. Essentially you’ll run faster than your half marathon goal pace for those last 3 miles. This will give you a ton of confidence in your ability to handle actual race pace.

*All of our plans use the Joe Friel Training Zones for running available to you via TrainingPeaks. They include what each zone means to us so you can clearly understand what we mean by a Steady State Run (= to the slow end Zone 4/fast end of Zone 3), a Tempo Run (= to the slow end of Zone 5a/fast end of Zone 4), etc.

Again, these are just a few of the sessions we’ll throw at you over the course of these 16 weeks. Everything builds slowly over that time and you’ll get one down week, halfway through the segment, just to recharge the batteries a bit. Before beginning this plan you should have a good general level of fitness and mileage-wise you should already have been at, or near, 25-50 miles a week for a couple of weeks. You can very easily just adjust the easy run mileage on this plan to get your desired total. The hard sessions would not need to change. They are the exact total you’ll need to be ready to roll for the marathon. So what are you waiting for? Challenge yourself. Buy this plan and get into better shape than you ever thought possible!

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