I have completed three weeks of my half marathon training plan and although it’s early days, I have to say this is probably my favorite plan that I’ve ever followed.
For those of you who asked, I’m using Smart Coach through Runner’s World. You input a recent race time along with your upcoming race distance and how hard you want to train. The program uses “science, mathematics and 40 years of collective running wisdom to bring you a proven, individualized training program.” The basic program is free but you can upgrade your account to Smart Coach Plus ($4.99/mo) to receive the ability to modify your plan if you miss workouts, adjust your pace, etc. Free is working great for me right now! 🙂
Here’s what I love about the plan.
1. Four days per week of running.
Four days of running is a sweet spot for me. It’s a little more than I usually do but not enough to place a burden on my time or my body. In the past I have done some three day per week training programs and while effective, I feel like that fourth day really gets me in the groove of running regularly. It breaks down like this…
Run #1 = Easy/Recovery (Monday)
Run #2 = Speed/Tempo (Wednesday)
Run #3 = Easy/Recovery (Thursday)
Run #4 = Long (Saturday)
The speed/temp and long runs really challenge me and the easy runs keep my legs feeling loose and my body feeling good.
2. Prescribed paces for EVERY run.
This is the first training plan that I’ve followed that gives you a pace for every run, even the easy ones, and I LOVE IT! Part of the reason it’s so appealing to me is because I’m training for time for this race and not just to finish. It’s been a long time since I’ve trained for anything and I’ve really craved having a set plan where I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do. The set paces are simultaneously pushing me outside of my comfort zone and teaching me how to hold back.
3. Tempo/speed work
I am surprised to find that these are my favorite runs of the week. In the past I’ve always been more of “run to finish” kind of girl but lately I’m feeling more need for speed. These runs are REALLY challenging me. I’ve gone into them each week a little scared and finish with a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when I make it through. I definitely feel like they’re helping me to become a better, faster and stronger runner…and also to realize my potential.
I can’t wait for race day!!!
Here’s a recap of last week’s workouts…
2 mile run + strength
10 deadlifts (105#)
10 pull ups (kipping)
10 push ups
15 GHD sit ups
Tempo run + restorative yoga
5 miles total. 1 mile warm up at 8:30, 3 miles at 7:30, 1 mile cool down at 8:15. This was the first tempo/speed run that I did outside and not on the treadmill and I was worried about pacing myself. It was hard but I stayed on pace and the run was great!
2.5 mile easy run + strength
8 back squats (105#)
10 dumbbell push press (20#)
12 weighted sit ups (20#)
14 kettlebell swings
I hadn’t done a CrossFit WOD in 2 weeks and I was craving the high intensity. I got this workout from CrossFit.com and did two rounds of it instead of one.
30 calorie row
30 bar facing burpees
30 hang power cleans (75#)
x2 rounds. Took me right at 19 minutes.
9 miles at an average 8:51 pace. I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and was on the road by 6:20. It was still dark when I took off and it was really cool to watch the sun rise as the miles ticked by. This run felt pretty effortless (60 degree temps helped!). I managed negative splits for every mile. I just started slow and let my body do its thing as it warmed up. I finished the 9 miles in just under an hour and 20 minutes. Long run recovery was no problem. My legs felt 100% the next day and like I could have run again (which I didn’t!).
4 runs, 3 strength days (with one each squat, deadlift and clean…perfect!), 3 yoga practices. No strict rest day this week but two days of yoga only with Sunday’s class being a restorative, non-hot class that left me feeling sooooo good!
What are your favorite training runs? Do you enjoy speed work or like the challenge of going long?