What do you get with a training plan?
Workout #1 : Day Off
Welcome to the first week of half-marathon training. Your training starts with a day of rest. This week, you'll have three days of easy short runs, and a long run of just five miles. On rest days, you have several alternatives. You can do nothing at all—sometimes a good choice. You can walk 30 minutes—almost always worthwhile. Or you can do a solid cross-training day: swimming, strength-training, bicycling, elliptical training, yoga, or another effort. Just make sure it's not something that tires you excessively for your next running workout.
Workout #2 : Run
3 MILES EASY
Maintain a comfortable, conversational pace, and keep your heart rate at about 65 percent of VO2 max. Or you can cross-train on a bike or an elliptical trainer. Don't worry so much about your pace during these runs. Just try to focus on covering the distance feeling good.
Workout #3 : Day Off
Ideally, on rest days you should do no exercise at all. But it's okay to cross-train with a no-impact activity like stretching, yoga, or swimming.
Workout #4 : Run
3 MILES EASY
It's important to keep your easy days easy throughout training so that you have the energy and fitness to give your all to the quality workouts, like tempo runs and long runs. In order to do that, it's a good idea to learn the best target pace for all your runs on the schedule. If you have run a race within the past six months, plug that time into our training calculator at runnersworld.com/tools. Look at the "training paces" to find your pace for each of the runs on the schedule. If you don't have a recent race time, do a one-mile time trial. Here's how: Go to a track or any one-mile stretch of road. After a 10-minute warmup, time yourself while running four laps (or one mile) as fast as you can. Note your time, then cool down with 10 minutes of walking and jogging. Plug your time into the training calculator.
Workout #5 : Day Off
Training logs can be great tools to track your progress and help prevent injuries. Write down details about the mileage you ran, how you felt while you were on the run, what the weather was like, and how you felt afterward. Be sure to include your race goals and the reasons you're training for a marathon. When you feel the urge to call it quits, pull out that log. Seeing all your plans—and all that you've already accomplished—can help get you out the door.
Workout #6 : Run
The first few weeks of training are about building a base, establishing a routine, and getting accustomed to following a plan. If you want to integrate cross-training into your race preparation, it's best to start now, while the mileage is still very low, so that it can be a part of your regular regimen from now until race day. It's a good idea to incorporate strength training into your routine; it can help boost your endurance and stave off midrun fatigue. Just don't lift the day before key running workouts. It will sap the strength you need to run long or hard.
Workout #7 : Run
5 MILES LSD
Today is your first long run. This long, slow distance run is meant to build endurance. These should be done at an easy pace, slower than you usually go on shorter runs during the week. If you're a beginner, go as slowly as your body dictates. Walk if you want to. Your goal is to cover the distance for the day without feeling utterly exhausted.
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Workout #8 : Day Off
Welcome to week two of training. This week follows the same pattern as last week. You'll have three easy, short runs, three days of rest, and a long run of five miles. Take it easy today to recover and stay fresh for the miles ahead. It may be tempting to run on rest days, but it's best not to. Give your body a chance to recover from the miles you've logged, and get energized for the long run.
Workout #9 : Run
3 MILES EASY
If you find yourself huffing and puffing while you're running, or you're struggling to finish your run, then you're starting out too fast. Get in the habit of starting out at a slow, warmup pace and easing into a more comfortable pace that you can maintain. The pace should be easy enough that you can carry on a conversation. The idea is to finish each run feeling energized and strong enough to run again the next day.