An intermediate to advanced half-marathon training program to increase your speed and build up your strength for your next race!
I mentioned before that I’m running a half marathon this fall and I’m going to start a 12 week training program this week. In the past I’ve used this training program which has worked great but I wanted to change things up a bit this time, add in some more strength training and some yoga as well. So I figured I would just create my own plan to incorporate all those things.
I also want to work on my speed this time around. My half marathon PR is 1 hr 41 min and I would love to get in the 1 hr 30 range.
This half marathon training program is definitely in the intermediate range, for those looking to speed up their times and tone up while training. Although I am a certified fitness instructor, I do recommend checking with your doctor before starting any type of training program.
Here are a few key terms from the training plan that are pretty straight forward, but I wanted to describe a little more in detail so there’s no confusion:
Toning: Aka Strength training. This can be done with body weight exercises, free weights at the gym or your just favorite workout video. I suggest changing it up every week so that your muscles don’t get used to the same exercises. I love combining different toning moves with HIIT exercises, which works your total body. Also I recommend not going too heavy with the weights, I find it best to do more reps of lower weights to prevent injury and over training.
Tempo: For tempo runs I typically do 1 mile of warm up and then a gradual build up to race pace (or faster) and then a mile cool down at the end.
Cross Training: This could be any type of exercise that’s not running. It could be swimming, cycling, surfing, hiking, climbing, etc. I scheduled in cross training on Tuesdays, mostly because my favorite spin class is on Tuesday mornings. But you could switch it around with any day of the week that’s most convent for you. Cross training is important, like strength, to keep your muscles challenged and to prevent over training injuries.
Speed Work: This is the main reason why I think I PR’d in my last race. I added in speed work once a week and I was able to cut down my time by about 10 minutes. Speed work doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as running a few quick laps around your local track and aiming to run it faster each time. I recommending having a watch to time yourself, doing a few laps to warm up and a few to cool down. For the 200, 400 and 800m sprints I like to jog or walk a half lap in between each one. For the hill repeats just find fairly steep hill and run the heck out of it. Make sure you warm up about a mile or so before, and zig zag down the hill on your way down to protect your knees.
Yoga: I always forget to stretch after running so scheduling in yoga classes throughout the week has been great. Any type of yoga will help your muscles, as it often includes a lot of deep stretching and body weight poses. It’s important to focus on specific body parts that are used a lot in running, specifically hamstrings, quads and hip flexors. I love doing Yoga Sculpt for a little toning and restorative yoga when my muscles are feeling a little sore and tired.
Click here to download your Half Marathon Training PDF!
This training plan may seem daunting but I promise if you take it one day at a time you will notice your body getting stronger and your times getting quicker. There may be times where you want to give up or when you don’t feel like running, and that’s ok. No one is perfect and no one is going to be able to stick to a training program 100%. I recommend just doing the best you can, pushing yourself when you know you need it, listening to your body and giving yourself the option to take a rest day. If you need some good running tunes to get you motivated, check out my running playlist on Spotify.
I also plan on sharing some of my favorite training nutrition tips along the way, so keep an eye out for that
- Are you training for any type of race?
- What are your thoughts on cross-training?