Following my very first half marathon, I decided it was best for me to take a week off of any major exertion and give my body a rest. I did still manage to work out my hand to my mouth and I ate whatever I desired without restraint. I also enjoyed repeatedly drinking juleps, betting on horses, and posing for pictures for two days straight during my trip to Louisville.
So what happens when you don’t run for a week? Turns out, not much. I was honestly concerned that taking some time off from training would inadvertently render me debilitated. However, aside from the oppressive heat and humidity that is blanketing East Tennessee as of late, the run felt the same. So do not be worried, as I can now vouch that taking a week off will not do a damn thing.
As promised, below is the calender I created for my half marathon training – adapted from Hal Higdeon’s Novice I Program. Higdon’s program is for 12 weeks, but I wanted to begin after the new year and knew the date of the half I wanted to run so I extended mine to exactly 17 weeks. I worked in various races accordingly, and listed my estimated mileage for each month:
Did I follow this every single day? No – especially the last month, but I did clock in 237 miles. The stretch and strengthen aspects fell aside as I was more focused on doing distance runs to build my endurance. And frankly, sometimes I didn’t have time (or was too lazy) to work in cross training. However, I wish I had as I know it could have made a difference in my finishing time. (See Staying on Track here).
Of course I can’t guarantee that this method will work for everyone – but it worked pretty well for me. Granted, some days were far easier then others and it does take a certain level of dedication and hard work (see my Runner Milestones here) – but when I crossed the finish line, the ends justified the means.
It should be noted that I did have a slight fitness level established before beginning this program, but only slight. In other words, I could run two miles without keeling over. Also, I had no problem shortening or even foregoing runs due to injuries. If my knee was hurting, a 6 mile run became a 4. When I hurt my neck, I moved my long run to a different day of the week to give my body time to heal. It is important to know that this calendar is certainly not set in stone – it was simply designed as a guideline – so modify if you need to (and avoid the Runner’s Guilt). Finally, I began my training by getting fitted for new shoes, I suggest you do the same. If you are going to take on such a big endeavor, you are going to want to have the right shoes on your feet. (See my other Running Essentials here)
For now, I’m back running. Not training exactly, just running to run. I plan on getting back into training in June though for what, I’m not entirely sure. I am certain that I will be committing to another half and possibly full marathon within the next month, I’m just unsure which ones. And let’s be honest here – summer in Tennessee is not the most ideal weather to clock 30+ miles a week.
For any of you crazies out there who want to give this a whirl, here’s the Word file so you can create your own version inserting various dates and races accordingly: Half Marathon Training Calendar